Tracy&James | Thursday, 23 August 2018
What a great weekend the world fly casting championships in Millom, Cumbria turned out to be. Many, many thanks to Lee, Angela, their family and friends for organising the event. Also a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the volunteer judges for their hard work over the three days of competition. My busiest day consisted of 8 minutes of casting (in two events) followed by standing around spectating and drinking, and I was shattered, so I can only imagine how tiring having to judge all the events was.
It was fantastic to meet up with some old friends, make some new ones and to put faces to names that I’d only previously ‘met’ on the internet. I think it would be difficult to find another sport that was friendlier and with a genuine ethic that everybody would like to see everyone else perform at their best.
The competitions themselves were incredibly well run, and they had to be given the number of competitors that turned up to cast (a record for the fly casting WCs I believe). Seeing the one minute change over time applied with little or no issues was a refreshing change to some BFCC competitions where the switch over is often longer than the actual casting time.
It’s hard to argue that casting as a sport isn’t incredibly niche, however the dedication to train in order to reach the level to compete at world championship level is testament to how much those involved love the sport. The seemingly endless comments of ‘you won’t catch anything there, Mister’ through to the uninformed scorn that the ‘you can cast, but you can’t catch fish’ brigade chuck out, all has to be ignored in order to secure just 4 minutes on the casting platform (8 if you’re good enough to make a final). The performance level of those taking the final places was nothing short of astonishing, the bar has definitely been raised since the Estonian competition even after the wind has been taken into account (or compensated for in the accuracy event). I’m going to have to seriously raise my game in order to try and qualify for the next one in Sweden 2020.
On a personal level I felt I cast ok in Millom. Going in to the weekend I figured my best chance lay in the salmon overhead event, however my two best casts in the qualification session landed outside of the lane by a matter of inches due to the strong side wind that was blowing at the time. As such I finished mid-table, as I did with the trout and sea-trout distance events. However, with the typically generous help of the other competitors, I know certain areas that I need to work on and I’m going to give it my best shot to improve.
Given the drinks that were flowing I was pleased that I managed to stay vertical for the entire weekend, this has to count as a win! TC beat me in trout distance (he cast a fantastic 40m) however I intend to get my own back this weekend at Paul’s gathering. I mentioned that I would also probably beat him at ping-pong to which he replied ‘you do realise that table tennis is the national sport of China’? Yes, but there they don’t play in the dark, with random plant-pots at the end of the table that need avoiding, with one spot-light that’s aimed in your face, in a cross wind and drunk.
As a final note I’d like to encourage anyone who has not had a go at competition fly casting to give it a go. It’s great fun, you’ll meet fantastic people and you’ll improve your fishing ability.
All the best,