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World Champion Woman Spey Caster Throws 144 Feet
Mia Sheppard, TRCP
This year marked the tenth anniversary of the world championship of spey casting known as Spey-O-Rama. Held at the world-renowned casting ponds in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the event is devoted to introducing the public to fly casting and angling.

Oh, and did I mention it's a competition with a 15-foot, 10-weight rod and long belly line? Long belly lines are traditional fly lines that measure more than 55 feet my line was 68 feet.

This was my fifth year competing at SOR and I was thrilled to take first place in the women's division. What an honor to cast with so many incredible people. Together we work to get better and push the limits of the sport.

Check out the video of me training for the event.

When SOR first began 10 years ago, the winning cast was 120 feet for guys and 80 feet for women. This year, the longest cast was 191 feet for guys, a new world record set by Geir Hansen from Norway, and 144 feet for women.

One might wonder what goes into a cast like that. Just like any other sport, practice, timing and tempo are important. As I trained this year, I focused less on distance and more on timing and tempo.

I practiced my casting stoke but most importantly I focused on breathing. Maintaining a slow, consistent inhale and exhale with a pause in-between helped me keep my casting rhythm. This breathing pattern enabled me to deliver a smooth cast for six full minutes. When factoring in the long line and heavy reel and rod combo required for the sport, one can understand why breathing, timing and tempo are important.

I look forward to more competitions and, more importantly, more time on the water in the years to come.

Read more from Mia and check out her blog, Metalheads.

Mia Sheppard

TRCP's Oregon Field Representative, Mia's love for the outdoors started at an early age, hiking and fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tenn. Her passion for fish and wildlife formed a straight path into field work in fisheries for both the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In 2003 Mia and her husband Marty purchased Little Creek Outfitters, a successful fly-fishing guide service in Oregon. Mia's passion for conservation lead her to a position as a John Day River steward for the Native Fish Society in 2007. She volunteers for an educational program called Salmon Watch. Mia is also a mom to a beautiful girl, Tegan, and an avid chukar hunter.