Monday 18th June, 2014
I'm just back from the casting world championships in Norway with flyfishing tackle. This was my third time here. Let me tell you that in this event, Norway as a country blazes the trail! They have very many high level competitors, more so than any other country, and a thriving competition scene. They also have the absolute best set of judges I've seen anywhere - and that's very important in a world championship. Unfortunately they also have shit weather but nowhere on Earth is perfect!
So once again I feel indebted to them and everyone involved, for making this happen - and now even more so, for it's the third time. Norway sets a very high standard and I for one, really enjoyed this last competition. Not the result I wanted, but unlike the last two events where I made silly mistakes, this time I actually performed - and got beaten fair and square.
I wanted to win the five weight. In fact I really wanted to win the five weight. And I really didn't! Tor Gjersøe won the five weight. He had half a metre on me in the finals, as well as in the eliminators - and he was consistent. He threw two longest casts of 38m. Dmitri from Estonia had a 38 and a 37.5, but also better conditions. Mikael Blombery (another outstanding caster) had two 37.5s in the same conditions with me, but my second longest was only 36m. My good friend Bart had 37.5 and 37 casting with Dmitri. Bernt Jahansson from Sweden 37 and 36. That is all very very close! This competition is starting to look like being about two casts, not one. And there were just as many guys who didn't get to the finals because of conditions that should have got to the finals - it is very tight indeed. (And we need to fix that because Fredrik at the very least should have been in those finals).
Anyway the best thing about being beaten by Tor, in fact maybe the only good thing about being beaten by Tor, is that he's older than me. Lee was encouraged by this fact too. I was getting slightly worried that sportsmen of 25 would be all over this event, but no, it turns out that I'm going to get better. Tor is an ex javelin thrower and pretty bloody fit I think. So congratulations Tor; a truly well-deserved victory for the World Champion!
It was a great final. Really great casters, I felt I really hooked up at least two casts, particularly my last one, but all I could squeeze out of it was not enough. I think what we have here now, and I may be wrong, but I rarely am of course, is that we have somewhere between 10 and 15 casters in this event who's maximum cast in the same conditions is all within half a metre - certainly within a metre. That makes life both very difficult and very interesting, not least because any slight wind variation will have a dramatic effect on the results - which we don't want.
Me personally, I think if I can get to the finals often enough, I will eventually win - or I will die trying. But I also wonder if there is more distance... perhaps there isn't; it's quite possible that 38m in the conditions that Tor threw is the absolute maximum for the tackle. And the fact that all six finalists threw within 1m says maybe it is so. Who knows? There must be an ultimate limit - that's physics. I have a few things to try; stiffer rods, different leaders, and a few different strokes... and I have two years to experiment, because if there is another level you can be sure as hell that someone is going to find it for the next championships. So yes, while disappointing - once again - not to win this bloody competition, it's also very inspiring at the same time; I need to raise my game!
Last time I was in Norway, I realised that not only do you have to be on top form, but also having some luck along the way is important too. And so I started to play around with accuracy (mainly) and for the last three weeks, sea-trout distance. I figure that the more finals one can reach, the higher the chances for a win! I made a huge mistake practising with wool and not an accuracy fly for the targets, and the change gave me an immediate problem with ticks during practice on Friday - which I resolved but I don't actually know how! A long time ago, in the dim and distant past, I may have actually said on Sexyloops that accuracy was for girls, but that was before I saw Steve Rajeff in competition. Accuracy is for the men too!
So I've been working on it a little and I managed to do pretty well in the elminators, resulting with the highest score entering the finals! I was probably more surprised than everyone else (but I hid it very well)! In the past I actually didn't want to get to the finals for fear of embarrassing myself!!! But this time my game plan was to get to the finals. I certainly didn't expect to be in pole position however, and while I'm certainly not good enough to win, I'm now even more determined than ever to learn it, because I like it; it's fun, and it's the one event in all of this, that is not affected by wind... besides, it's very much like throwing woolly buggers into pockets - which I do spend a lot of my time doing!
With Sea Trout Distance there is a lot to be learned, and that's where Norway, Sweden, Finland and maybe also Russia have a great advantage with their competitive scenes. The knowledge that comes from many people competing against each other and also together as a team, is far greater than trying to do it alone. It's the reason that I can sometimes reach the finals in the five weight - we've had 10 years of five weight Shootouts at Sexyloops in the UK and elsewhere! But I do know now - because many people have since told me! - that I should have had a longer sea trout head with the conditions I had. Lots to learn and lots to practise!
I don't enter the Double Handed casting games - I've never had reason to fish with the DHD and so I haven't learned the tool - but I had an enjoyable time watching the competitions. Outstanding casters and a fun competition - and congratulations to Sakari!!!
So that was it really. A mad weekend with great people, lots of fantastic friends - many of whom I've known now for years and new friends too. It's a very sporting competition - despite being highly competitive - which is very commendable I think. I had a great time! It was worth the training, the suffering, the driving to the wrong bloody Fagernes for two hours, the expense, the two hangovers, sleeping in a cupboard for three days - in Fag Camp 1 no less, Bernd's "morning music", almost wrecking a petrol pump when we forgot to remove the nozzle from the car, and all the other things that make for a memorable weekend in our lives.
Hopefully, fingers crossed, Great Britain will host this event in two years time. This event has the largest set of top fly casters of all. This is the one enter and to win! Congratulations to all those who took part and to those who championed!
I'm sure that Bernd and Anvar will have their own take on the games this week too. Looking forward to the next one! Thanks to everyone for a great occasion!!
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