The Great American Outdoor Show not only had a plethora of educational seminars from which to learn, but several activities were available for event-goers to experience as well. One of the most underrated, yet most hands-on, events was the Casting Competition. I caught up with last year’s state champion, 10-year-old Bowden Woodward, a local Pennsylvania resident who gave me some tips and tricks on how to properly cast and optimize success rates.
“The most important thing for me, and the easiest way to accurately place a line, is to string out the line, and flip it underhand rather than overhand,” said Bowden as he was waiting in line for his chance to compete in the competition again. “The most challenging part, though, is staying focused.”
After watching Bowden, who’s been fishing with his grandpa since he was 2, perform again this year and noticing his form, it’s clear he’s no novice at casting a line. He practices about 13 hours a week, and his dad told me that if he has the time—he does his best to ensure he does—he’ll go out to the pond and fish in the mornings before school. He even has teachers at school who ask him to tie flies for them. Bowden has also taught his little brother, Jettik, how to fish.
Along with Bowden, I also talked to Chris Trianosky, the Pennsylvania State Bass Fishing Club President. He and his team were there helping coach the kids as they competed. Trianosky, a 17-year fishing veteran, explained that he and his team try to help competitors improve not only their focus, but their hand-eye coordination by keeping their eyes on the target while simultaneously working on their hand control and arm movement. But helping coach the kids is only part of the enjoyment.
“The most rewarding thing is to see their excitement of their performance and competitive spirit,” Trianosky said.
The Casting Competition is put together by the Pennsylvania Bass Federation, and it’s no small event. After speaking with Barry Potteiger, the Federation’s coordinator, he explained that every year since its inception, the competition has grown. This year, the competition provided 800 rods to the participants, with each competitor getting to keep their rod as a commemorative prize. First, second and third places each get a trophy, an upgraded rod and a Cabela’s gift card, too.
Scores for this year’s event are still being tabulated at the time of this writing, but the competition was stiff. We’ll see if Bowden can ride the wave of momentum from last year’s win to another state championship.