August 2010 - The Fly Casting World Championship, Fargernes, Norway
Members of Team Carron left their respected home soil and travelled to Norway to represent their countries at the "First Official World Fly Casting Championships". A championship designed to exalt the very best standards of fly casting and sportsmanship using commercially available standard fly fishing equipment and officially supported by the governing casting body, the I.C.S.F. Team Carron created a piece of angling history, returning triumphant having won three gold and three silver medals in a variety of events over the two day competition.
Three New World Champions.
Pictured left to right are: Gerard Downey, The 15 ft, Speycasting World Champion, Andrew Toft, The 18 ft, Speycasting World Champion, and Ruairi Costello "Overall World Champion".
The weekend began with the Team being collected by Jetstream Aviation in their new Hawker Beechcraft Kingair B200 GT. This luxury allowed us to arrive at the venue without the usual stresses of regular air travel and the now very familiar baggage problems. Leaving the airport with our fishing equipment complete was essential this weekend.
Ready to go: James Chalmers, Andrew Toft, Jimmy Jack, Ruairi Costello, Iain Gardner and Gerard Downey
The venue chosen for the World Championships was simply stunning. Nestling in a steep sided valley lay the beautiful Fagernes and the lake where all the competitions would take place.
The courses were fully set up on our arrival and training was in full swing. This was to be the pinnacle of distance fly casting championships, with competitors attending from all over the globe.
Attending were legendary names in the industry - all training hard to keep themselves focused on what they were there to achieve "To win Gold for their country".
The weather on day one was rain, rain and more rain! The single handed and overhead casting would therefore prove to be extremely challenging. I witnessed some magnificent casts as I made my way around the various casting disciplines, none more so, than watching Steve Rajeff who, in my opinion, is the greatest single handed caster of all time. His score proved to be a 78 points out of a possible 80 in the trout accuracy contest! It was a privilege to witness that great man at work.
The rains kept coming - the contest was shaping up. It emerged that Ruairi Costello had qualified for every final of each discipline that he had entered. An amazing feat!
I watched his sea trout casting qualifying event and with no wind assistance, a 10ft trout rod and a 26 gram fly line - he scored a magnificent 40.5 metre cast. This took him to 1st place in this qualifying round and guaranteed him a top spot in the final. As he walked off the platform everyone gave him a standing ovation as they all knew that they had just witnessed a spectacular achievement.
Ruairi Costello with a long cast in the sea trout distance competition.
The final took place that afternoon. The rain had abated somewhat, the wind had changed direction. Some competitors were now really showing signs of struggling as they tried to find form as the conditions were proving very difficult.
Ireland�s Ruairi Costello managed to take medals in both the 5# distance and the 15 foot overhead divisions.
Saturday was Speycasting day for both the 15 ft and 18 ft rod competitions.
The 18 ft competition took place on a purpose built platform whilst the 15 ft competition took place in the water, wading in to a position above your thighs. It also involved casting from both left and right shoulders then the best score from each shoulder being added together to give a total.
The conditions for the 15 ft finals event proved to be really tricky as the wind had started to cause waves in the lake making it really difficult to pick your line up from the water. This all added to the excitement of the contest as the man who could best cope with these conditions, would prove to be a worthy World Champion.
The quality of casting on show from the six finalists was extraordinary.
Ruairi Costello began by setting a terrific benchmark for everyone to chase, a distance of 95 metres - but the man who proved his skill, with a simply breathtaking display of Spey casting, was Gerard Downey of Ireland with a combined left and right score of 101 metres. (53 m on his left and a 48 m with his right) - to make him "The Official I.C.S.F. 15 ft World Champion"
Gerard Downey, Ireland "The 15 ft Spey casting, Official World Champion"
Gerard Downey applies the power in the 18 foot contest.
Next on the agenda was the 18 ft spey casting competition.
This would be the last competition of the weekend, the Grand Finale.
By this time, the sun was shining brightly giving warm air temperatures and not a breath of wind. These conditions are the best leveller that you can find for any casting competition, as no one has the advantage from wind assistance and true talent and technique will win the day.
The six finalists gave the large audience, an amazing display of spey casting, all using an 18 ft rod.
Ruairi Costello, yet again set the standard with an amazing cast of 58.5metres in the flat calm conditions. This left the remaining three competitors with something to think about!
The next competitor was Scottish, Andrew Toft, of the United Kingdom. Andrew achieved a magnificent cast of 59 metres.
This gave him the all important title "The 18 ft Spey casting Official World Champion"
"The 18 ft Spey casting Official World Champion" Andrew Toft U.K.
The prizegiving ceremony hosted by the Norwegian casting federation , the governing body of the ICSF and in the presence of the Minister of Tourism for the Valdres area of Norway was in the form of a banquet to commemorate the success of the event.
There had been more than thirty official judges present and they all received a standing ovation for their contribution to the success of the weekend�s events. The gold medals and the very varied National anthems were still in the air when a final announcement was made.
The chairman of the ICSF announced:
"Ladies and Gentleman, it gives me great pleasure to announce a very special prize for the most gifted caster over the course of the World Championships this weekend in Fagernes. His enthusiasm for the sport and willingness to help others with technique, whether it be single handed, two handed or Speycasting - will always be recognised as the "Overall World Champion". This man qualified in every competition he entered and in many cases smashed personal bests that most casters, including the seasoned professionals strive for. I take great pleasure in awarding this prestigious award to the most talented caster I have seen.
The new "Overall World Champion" from Ireland, Mr Ruairi Costello."
The new "Overall World Champion" from Ireland, Mr Ruairi Costello.
Savouring the moment.......... triumphant Team Carron! Well done everyone!