I hope you guys do not mind me responding to thi post even though it is a few months old. I just got on the site today. The last pure distance best of the west casting contest was held in 2009 in Salt Lake City. The casting since has been primarily accuracy and there has not been as many big guns coming out since.
For those that do not know the contest is set up as follows. Each ISE show has its winner. The winners are then invited to compete in the finals. Also I believe that the last few years of the distance casting the previous years winner. The finals are held on Sunday afternoon each year.
Casters had several rods to choose from. There was usually a fast action Sage (I cannot remeber if they had a Z-AXIS or the TCX that year, a TFO and a GLoomis.
The line was a Sharkskin competition distance line that was 120'. This line is specifically tapered for distance.
Casts are measured from the base of the platform to the location of the fly. The fly and all of the fly line must land inbounds. In bounds is about an 8' to 10' foot wide alleyway(just guessing here).
Depending on who is competing, in order to get to the finals a cast needs to be between 99' and 105'. One could usually win Phoenix (I am not sure there is an ISE show in phoenix anymore) with a cast right at around 100'. Salt Lake, San Mateo (no longer a show) and Denver usually required cast of at least 105 feet to win and get to the finals and the winning cast could be as high as 115'.
The fianls were structured a little bit different with elimination rounds. Basically there were six people who started out and each round somebody was eliminated.
In 2009, I was not only lucky enough to see the finals, but to compete in them as well. I had won the Salt Lake Finals the day before and really had a cool experience eating dinner and competing with the folks. It was in these finals that Steve Rajeff threw the ISE record of 126' and change in the second round. I made it through the first round and was ahead of Rajeff. He barely missed getting eliminated with 103' cast in the first round. He then threw the 126' bomb. I think I finished fourth, which is about where I belonged.
So some dude telling you he throws a 180' cast with a standard off the shelf line is full of BS. A running line maybe, but a standard fly line not a chance.
The best of the West distance was always a gathering of some of the finest casters in the world. At that competion I have seen a lot of great casters for years like Tim and Steve Rajeff, Jim Gunderson (he actually won several competions in a row until he was dethroned by Hartman), Rick Hartman and many others. I think that the only casters who have bombed over 120' are Rajeff and Gunderson. I do not think hartman has beaten that mark. Rick is very capable of throwing that length of a cast, but it is a whole different animal throwing a cast in practice and on your lawn than when you are up on that platform. Steve's Bomb was still the best cast that I have ever seen.
Dan, your friend casts a lot more like Hartman than Rajeff. '
A few things about these competitons, it is one thing to how a long line while hanging out with the folks, then throwing a long line in competition. First few people actually measure their casts. They measure their casts by figuring out if the threw the entire line. They then add of the length of the line and how much backing the throw and that is the distance of their cast. This is not exactly true for a measured cast. For instance, if there is a a quarter inch of variation from center on the cast for every foot of line. At 100' that equates to at least a loss of 60(5') inches of distance. The other issue that happens a lot on distance casts is that the loop will not completely unroll. The biggest issue is freakin nerves while casting for a pretty decent chunk of change and having a few hundred people watching you. Also the line can get tangled on the casting platform and a whole host of other issues. The number one mistake that nearly all competition casters make is too many false casts. The best casters usually let the cast fly with on the thrid or fourth backcast.
That being said anyone who can throw into the backing of a full 120 competion line is impressive.
One other thing is that most people who are good distance casters, routinely finish in the top of accuracy commpetitions as well.
Like all the others I really thought a 180 ft Cast with a 5wt was a bit on The Far Side which had ??????.
The only distance casting I've done is long Casts to Cover & try to catch Fish.
Congradulations on your casting! That really must have been a great experience casting with the best casters in the country and, further, to be right there in the running with them.
There is no question that taped distances are always much shorter than "estimated" casting distances, but not because of being a 1/4" per foot off the lane center line. Your math is considerably off on that. If two casts are identical except for the 1/4" per foot error on the second, the second will tape out at 99.978 feet as measured along the center line. Squiggles are a different story though. Of course, if the cutoff is at 100 feet, then it does make a huge difference.
The first time I ever rolled out a 100' tape then walked back to my fly rod - I was shocked at how far away it really is. That psychological trauma ruined my casting and all I could think of was to cast harder - which never works.
I think it was a big mistake to eliminate distance competitions as an individual event at the Denver show, and identical to eliminating downhill racing in the Olympics as a separate event.
It's a shame that people like Dan's buddy Bill missed out on competitions that have been held for many years in this country. The only option now is to go to Europe - an option that most people cannot afford to do.
I agree, I think it was a mistake to get rid of the distance casting event at the ISE. I know there has not been the interest with the accuracy only events. They are starting to move towards a hybrid of at least including a distance cast, but that was inly in the finals at the ISE show. I think the issue is that once Steve Rajeff started to show up and win that the figured they cluld give more people a chance by doing an accuracy competition. In Golf nobody wants to watch a chipping or nine iron contest. I think it is the same with casting. To qoute Jon Glavine and Greg Maddux: "Chicks dig the long ball."
The Wasatch fly fishing and fly tying expo has been building a pretty good casting contest that is getting better every year.
Folks, I know this rowdy character-Utah Dave II. Pink Floyd and Sage rods. One of the prettiest and smooth casters I've ever had the pleasure to hang around with. And x president of our local (Stonefly Society) TU chapter. Very much into our fight to get our waters back here in Utah.
Good seeing you here Dave.