People love putting you into categories. Even in our small world of fly fishing, people put you into categories, and there are many; the “catch & cook” flyfisher, the “catch & release” flyfisher, the “trout bum”, the “traditionalist”, the “single handed” and the “two handed” flyfisher, the “competition flyfisher” and the “competition fly caster”, etc., etc., etc.
But hang on, competition fly casters are not fly fishers. At least that is a comment I hear ever so often. Competing on a platform or on a grass field has nothing to do with the notion of standing somewhere in nature – in the water watching the beauty of a rising fish and have a cast at the fellow – or has it?
In the last few years a new hybrid of casting competitions has evolved throughout North America, Japan and Europe. These competitions are fly casting competitions, using standard fly fishing equipment, not “tournament” equipment. They are a great meeting point for all sorts of nerdy fly casters and for those fly fishers who want to show off their skills in tossing a #5 or #8 fishing outfits – be it with a full line or a shooting head. There are a number of casting disciplines at these events, with accuracy and distance events being to the fore.
The Danish Fly Casting Championships are a great example of such a competition. The disciplines in this competition are Precision/Presentation with full line, a Distance Casting discipline with full line, a distance casting event with a shooting head, and a Salmon Distance discipline with a full line and a shooting head. The “Precision” event is based on the Danish casting game; a great fishing simulated event of presentation casts such as curve, tuck and mend casts – skills all good river anglers already use.
The Distance events are accomplished by pushing one’s own abilities to cast longer than ever; to be able to reach even the fish furthest away. Don’t we try to achieve this when fishing on reservoirs or at the coast?! We are casting just as we would at the waterfront, the tools we are using are the same. The tackle used in competitions like these is the very same fishing tackle used by fly fishers all over the world. The only parameter which has changed is the space we are casting in. Changing the surroundings of our beloved hobby from the water onto a grass field is too abstract for a lot of people, and the term “casting competition” is seen as quite derogatory by many. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of fly fishers that are getting into these “Standard Tackle” casting tournaments and who like this challenge in mindset.
In its 6th year the Danish championships in Fly casting has established itself to one of the hottest events within the fly fishing scene in Denmark. The tackle being used fulfills all parameters of the competition to its highest level; the RIO Scandinavian Sea trout Shooting head/ 18g is used as tackle in the discipline “Distance Casting with a Shooting head”; the RIO Power Spey/#9/10 is used in the casting discipline “Salmon Distance with a full line” and the RIO AFS Shooting head/ #7/8 is used in “Salmon Distance with a Shooting head. Not only do the lines perform well on competition day, they also perform extremely well on the water, helping anglers to easily cast their fly’s out to the waiting (hopefully) fish of a lifetime.
RIO pro Silja Longhurst lives in Copenhagen with her husband Lasse Karlsson – both avid fly fishers and fly casting competitors.