Tonight I finally sat down to regroup after a week in San Francisco, the Spey-O-Rama. My truck looks like an A-bomb went off inside. Littered with spey rods, lines, empty Mt. Dew bottles and fast food wrappers. Where to begin, all that’s on my mind is next years competition.
Until you go down to see for yourself you will never know the pristine beauty of the ponds and club house at the GGACC. You will never know the electric atmosphere that each and every competitor brings to the competition. You will see the brightest stars in the world of two handed fly casting casting, the dedication of the competitors only matched by the likes of Olympic level athletes.
Standing casting in the ponds in San Francisco is unlike anything else I have personally experienced in the world of fly fishing. Casting next to the worlds best, still puts my in awe. Every year new thing Happen and new mile stones are achieved. This year was no exception.
|Monday morning, busy already|
Lets start at the beginning, I left work from the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, Or. at about 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening lets say. Truck loaded to the hilt. Dropped off the Dog( Henry my very handsome yellow lab) at the dog sitters house. Thank you Vince and Tiff, you guy are the best. Straight to the gas station to fill up and off we go. Like every time one sets off on an adventure alone there will be challenges. My first was when your reach the point where on amount of caffeine you drink will keep you awake. Even with the windows down and the radio crack as loud as your ears can take, most likely before your ear drums burst. I got to where I was a road hazard. So at the rest area in Winters, Ca is where I found to spend my first night of the week of Spey-O-Rama.
|The right rods for the job.|
As tired as I was getting comfortable enough to sleep presented challenges in itself even across the front bench of a full sized Dodge pickup. Then when a nice young bunch of beer drinking Mexican decided to change a flat tire right next to me. It was kinda weird when you see 6 guys, 5 of then heavily drinking and 1 changing the tire. Maybe he was the DD whose knows I did not wait long to gather any info from the crew. That 3 hours seemed like a total waste. So I pulled into the first place that advertised diesel. None of the people that worked inside seemed to speak English, at least not to me, which is all that odd. The store just seemed disorganized the only thing I found that looked good was a blueberry danish that seemed a bit hard but beggars cant be choosers you know. Then I bought the worst cup of coffee I have ever drank. When you work as a fishing guide you get used to low grade coffee but this was off the charts. You would have wanted to brush your teeth after every drink. The only thing it did have going was the high caffeine levels that it seemed to be carrying.
|A proper meal from Java Beach, the best.|
The next leg went more smoothly straight to the ponds where is was not the only competitor there bright eyed and bushy tailed ( more like tired as hell and had a raging head ache to boot). But as I had set out to do I slipped into my waders and started practicing for the week to come. After a few hours or a standard rotation between the casters there I had to eat a proper meal, so off to Java Beach. I have eaten more food at this place than anywhere in San Fran. The staff is great and food is too.
|Worlds best beach shark fisherman, and the man from Carron|
After a rough start to the week it smoothed out when the rest of the Carron team arrived. If you have never checked out www.carron.uk.com. James chalmbers our fearless team leader and a all around great guy. With the weeks intensity slowly growing over the days leading up to the big show. The boys and I still had time to have a few laughs. Mainly at the expense of the people of San Francisco. The best one we pulled off during the week while lunching in our waders was the story we told about being hired by the State of California to keep the beaches clear of sharks. We would explain that we did this by fishing for the sharks at night so not to alarm the local citizens during the day. Believe it or not most people ate this up and quite a few people were very thankful of the fact that we were keeping them safe they would shake our hands and give us big pats on the back, funnier than shit I thought.
|Signing the contract|
The week rolled on and we kept to the task at hand. Technique and good casting on the mind all the time. The overall nature of the event taking full grasp as the time came for drawing straws. In my typical fashion I stepped up and grabbed the first stick. I then ended up being the first guy in the pond, what are the odds of that. I feel that there is far more pressure during the qualifier than in the finals. I then went straight to the center pond pulled off some line and started switch casting. All the while the only thing on my mind was keep cool and set the bar high. I felt I cast like total crap but scraped together a score of 601. Which this year was a enough to get me into the finals. Then sitting there watching the rest of the competitors was kind of never racking. Hoping the best for everyone, but at the same time wanting the best for yourself. It makes it tough. I would have been less than 20 minutes after the qualifier before we were back in the ponds practicing for what lay ahead.
After a great night of sleep and a great cup of coffee with a tasty BBQ chicken sandwich, again thanks to Java Beach. I felt ready for the final.The air was calm and fair for every caster. The casting meeting and drawing straws was more quiet, a sense of tension handing over. The tension was not toward any other caster but each caster looking inside themselves trying to muster the courage and focus to prepare for the competition. The finals were as tight and eventful as any final could have been highs and lows hero’s and losers. In the end it is the competition itself that provides the opportunity for the bonds of friendship and the growth of the sport we all work toward and love.
As I started this post. I must recommend to anybody and everybody interested it the double handed future and past. This is a must see and if you cant see then support would be great. Not money just your support(money would not hurt though). Thanks to all who were there and all my clients and friends that had my back though my casting and guiding. I love you all, that means you Josh and Marcy you guys are the best.
|The boys and I. James, Rauiri, Bruce, Gerard, Me|