This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

February 25th, 2002


We've been watching the Winter Olympics, fortunately we are able to get the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) and weren't stuck with the American version. I think we spent a total of ten minutes on the NBC coverage, where they talked over everything with more emphasis on the 'stories' than on the events. Really tacky in my opinion.

Our sincere congratulations to all the athletes who competed in the Olympics!

Watching these marvelous athletes is uplifting and should be an encouragement to all to keep their dream and not give up. It is competition in a very pure form. (Well, if you keep the judges out of it.)

We have other forms of great competition of course, the World Series this year was one which had all of us chewing on our fingernails. It was grand. List all your favorite competitive sports here, and realize other than the Olympics most in America are 'professional' businesses. The Olympics is not without problems, and it has too become a business - but for the athletes it is still about the pure joy of competing and personal achievement.

I'm grateful fly fishing has not been caught up in the idea of competitive sport. I know there can be some friendly competition between fishing buddies, but as a whole the competition if you want to call it that, is between the fisherman and the fish. I haven't seen anyone jump on the idea of the Fishing Competition in the Great Outdoor Games last summer, and frankly I hope that just dies.

There obviously are saltwater tournaments, ice fishing tournaments, bass fishing tournaments, and even a "one fly" contest or two. But the competitive spirit just doesn't translate to the very personal sport of fly fishing.

There is competition among casters of the fly - and I think that is a good thing. It encourages people to find out more about casting, the dynamics of rod and line and the physics which are in play. If a person gets serious about throwing a long line, they also tend to know more about fly lines, backing, shooting heads and leaders.

We had a distance casting competition at the Fish-In 2001. It was a sanctioned event to the American Casting Association (ASA) rules. As it turned out my husband J. Castwell was the winner.

Some muttered he should not have entered since he is a "professional." In which case we would have had to disqualify Al Caucci and all of his guides who entered. Since I also teach professionally I would have been disqualified too. Since the rules (ASA) we were under had no such disqualification, we all entered.

JC casting

I understand a few people have been practicing. Hurrah!

I was the first caster in last year's competition, somebody had to do it. And, since I have never cast in a sanctioned tournament - or ever cast a tournament rod (you can use your own equipment) - I thought it would be a nice experience to use the tournament rod provided by Ron Kusse. I did not do well. But, here's a word of warning for those who plan on entering this summer, the rod JC won with last year is my rod. He will be using his new 8 wt. Burkheimer - and I'll be using mine.

Those who want to beat JC will have to practice - and you can bet we both will be practicing too. Technique is great, but you simply have to practice to keep everything working.

Why do I enter? To be honest, I am competitive. I like winning. And I think if I do well at all, just maybe some people who would not try a casting competition will get involved. I also hope some other gals get involved. You know, sort of, if I can do it anyone can?

If you think you need a little help with your long-line casting, or want to learn more about casting in general, keep in mind we will be teaching casting every morning from 10:00 a.m. until noon all week at the Fish-In 2002. That of course is free for those attending the Fish-In.

We are adding an Accuracy Competition for 2002 as well. This will be on the pond up above the motel units, and will also be an ACA Sanctioned event. We will have the requirements for the Accuracy up well before the event - but you can practice your accuracy with some paper plates placed out at 20, 30, and 40 feet in the meantime. I think there may be one target at 60 feet too, but start working on the shorter distances for now.

If you aren't familiar with a Fish-In, check the information for 2002 at: Fish-In 2002. There is a ton of photos from last year's event at: Fishin 2001.

It isn't too early to start planning - trust me, even if you aren't competitive at all, or care about your casting, there is a lot to do and see at the Fish-In. Why don't you join us? ~ LadyFisher

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