This past Saturday was the 1st Mid-Atlantic Fly Casting 5wt Championship, held during Heritage Day at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum. The Museum is located on the banks of the Yellow Breeches at the Allenbury Resort in Boiling Springs Pennsylvania. This year the competition has been renamed and the event was moved from the Fall Carlisle Outdoors Show. The move appears to have benefited the competition as there was more participants this year. We also had a few more spectators during the event.
Coinciding the competition with the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum’s Heritage Day made for a full day of fly fishing fun. The competition began around 10:30am. I began the casting by stepping into the box first. After being asked, I confirmed that I understood the rules and procedures of the course and began casting. I nailed the first target and cast to the second, that’s where the wheels fell off.
The order for the targets was 1, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I cast to target #2 when I should have cast to #3. From there I let my disappointment get the better of me and I missed several targets. I then proceeded to the distance lane where I promptly forgot everything I had worked on the week before in Milesburg. I began making rushed, overpowered, poorly timed and out of track casts. All of my practice and mental notes went out of my head because of one mistake.
A great friend once told me that “amnesia is a sportsman’s best friend” and I am beginning to understand this saying. One poor cast does not a poor caster caster make. Just as one trophy does not a champion make. It takes practice. Practice takes focus. Focus requires a goal. My focus was not where it should have been. This is often the case when we make mistakes or have difficulty with routinely easy tasks.
While frustrating, poor performance and mistakes are also golden opportunities. As a casting instructor who knows what mistakes he has made this is an opportunity to research and apply the corrections I know that are needed. Furthermore, it is a great reminder that we all need practice. whether on the water or off, never hesitate to get out and cast. Even if it is only for 15 minutes, get out and let some line fly.
Congratulations to Michael McFarland who laid down a solid and impressive performance to take 1st place in the open division. Michael is the rod designer for Seele Fly rods out of Bellwood, Pa. Seele makes some of the smoothest casting fly rods on the market. They have a fantastic line of fiberglass rods and they also offer an impressive line of graphite rods. I had the opportunity to cast Seele’s Competition rod over the winter in Coburn and again at the competition and I can say that Michael builds a fine product!