Today, Sunday April 24, 2005, San Francisco's GGACC's last day of Spey-O-Rama, began overcast and threatening rain. Fortunately for competitors, the club decision to hold competition in the morning insured winds were not a competitive factor in championship results, and all appreciated that forecast rain did not materialize.
The official name of the event is the 2005 Jim Green Memorial Spey Casting Competition. Jimmy Green, recently deceased, was the GGACC’s seed of Spey casting. He brought two-hand casting to the world’s finest casting facility and its members, and together with Al Buhr of Salem, Oregon, and others, developed lines, methods and tackle that deeply influenced western North America Spey casting.
Jim Green is the god of San Francisco bay area two-handed fly-casting, and his philosophy of holding real world fishing condition competitive events dictated the rules here.
Nelson Ishiyama, the event chairman and long time Jim Green compadre, briefed the competitors on the rules and goals of the competition. Respecting Jim Green’s philosophy, this was NOT AN EVENT FOR MUTANT POND CASTERS. [God, I love that phrase.]
Some of the rules that made this event comparable to fishing situations:
- The best of three casts was scored in each of four conditions, twelve casts.
- Three casts from a left boundary, over the left shoulder, with an approximate 40-degree change of direction [COD].
- Three casts from a left boundary, over the right shoulder, with a 40-degree change of direction.
- Three casts from a right boundary, over the left shoulder, 40-degree COD.
- Three casts from a right boundary, over the right shoulder, 40-degree COD.
- Contestants wading in water about 3-feet deep.
- Using a GGACC supplied fly, quite large, very visible and well greased to prevent sinking.
- With two barriers behind the casters: the pond wall 30-feet behind [a 2-foot 45-degree sloping wall], and a “police tape” barrier attached to sawhorse type construction barriers 40-feet behind the casters, about 4- to 5-feet above the water. There was no penalty for hitting a barrier, other than it destroyed the cast.
-There was a two-minute warm-up/preparation time, followed by six minutes to complete the twelve casts.
- Maximum rod length: 15-feet 1-inch, made by a recognized manufacturer.
The rules made this event’s results [distances] meaningful to real-world fishermen.
The Scots ruled! Following are results.
1. Scott McKenzie, avg. of four casts 132 feet
2. Gordon Armstrong, avg. 130.5 feet
3. James Chalmers, avg. 117.25 feet
4. Ian Gordon, avg. 116.5 feet
5. Andrew Toft, avg. 116.0 feet
6. Mariusz Wroblewski, avg. 115.5 feet [home GGACC]
7. Steve Choate, avg. 113.75 feet
8. Gary Scott, avg. 112.0 feet [from Manchester, England “emigrated” to Scotland per Peter Anderson], the best belly dancer in all Speydom, and a heck of a fine caster.
9. Al Buhr, avg. 110.75 feet.
10. Bill Drury, avg. 110.25 feet.
11. Frank Chen, avg. 110.0 feet [home GGACC]
12. Jay Clark, avg. 109.25 feet [home GGACC]
13. Simon Gawesworth, avg. 109.0 feet
14. Tyler Kushnir, avg. 108.5 feet
15. Juro Mukai, avg. 107,5 feet
16. Hiroshi Okada, avg. 106.5 feet
17. Brian Niska, avg. 102.75 feet
18. Knut Syrstad, avg. 94.0 feet
19. Malcolm Newbould [aka Willie Gunn—the Scottish stallion], avg. 90.25 feet
20. Francois Blanchet, avg. 89.0 feet [a close second in dancing to Gary Scott—you had to be there Friday night!]
21. Way Yin, avg. 86.0 feet
22. Takashi Shimosawa, avg. 85.25 feet
23. Stener Skogmo, avg. 80.25 feet
1. Donna O’Sullivan, avg. 80.0 feet [home GGACC]
2. Michelle Shin, avg. 66.75 feet [home GGACC]
To say this was a tough event is an understatement.
Following the competition a series of presentations began. Mr. Speypages, Dana Sturn, presented a chronology of his casting evolution from Hugh Falkus’ roundhouse style, through Derek Brown/Simon Gawesworth modern methods, to a tennis/caster’s elbow mandated movement to the underhand method. It was great!
Bottom line: this is a must event. The discipline of a competitive event focuses attention on performance of people, tackle and technique. It was surprising that attendance was not higher.