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Cast Masters

Elaine Gong

Sr Women 7.5g Plug Distance 1-Hand Spin Distance Record holder.

How long have you been casting? I've been tournament casting for 18 years, but I attended ‘Fenwick Flycasting School’ many years before (teenager Steve Rajeff, who had just won his first ACA National Championship, was one of the instructors…).

Where do you practice? I usually practice at the casting ponds in McCrea Park in Oakland. These ponds were designed by members of the Oakland Casting Club, and are maintained by the City of Oakland and the OCC.

Favorite fish to catch: Although I spend time perfecting my casting, I am not a very accomplished fisherperson (mainly lack of patience when the fish aren’t biting!). My favorite place to fish is the San Juan River in northern New Mexico, which means my favorite fish to catch are the trophy brown and rainbow trout which abound in this beautiful fishery.

Favorite rod: My favorite plug casting rod is a beautiful bamboo 1/4 oz. rod designed and built by Per Brandin. It balances beautifully with a Daiwa Millionaire 1000 (a great reel that was mysteriously discontinued shortly after it was introduced).

Favorite reel: For fishing, I enjoy the look and feel of several prototype Ari ‘T Hart reels purchased directly from Ari in the early 90’s.

For tournament casting, many of my reels are lightweight graphite reels whose only purpose is to balance the rod and hold the line.

Advice for new casters: If possible, get hands-on instruction from the best casters you can find. These people are rarely found in fly-shop sponsored classes, although it is impossible for a novice caster to discern the difference between a good technical caster and someone who (somehow) gets the fly to land in front of them with a total lack of casting technique.

Don’t wait until you're packed for that once-in-a-lifetime flyfishing trip to Outer Mongolia before learning the basics. No matter how much you spend for equipment, the fly can’t cast itself and you don’t want to spend all of your time trying to learn how to cast from a less-than-thrilled guide whose job it is to get you into fish, not teach you how to get the fly into the water.

Philosophy relating to casting: Life should be like catch-and-release fishing: The reward is in the getting, not in the having!