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Andrews ready to catch fish after casting win
By Steve Wright
Special to GOG

Flycast event
Matt Henderson puts his all into a cast.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Carter Andrews refused to accept any type of premature congratulations when he went into the distance casting event with a 100-point lead earned in the fly casting accuracy competition Thursday. Even though someone would have to make a cast over 33 feet longer than Andrews' best, it was 13-time international fly casting champion Steve Rajeff who stood in second place.

"Steve can certainly do it," said Andrews.

But not with a five-weight fly rod on a day that featured tricky swirling winds. Andrews, who now splits time between Montana and the Bahamas, earned the top overall score in the accuracy and distance events with a total of 852. Rajeff cut only 24 points into the 100-point lead with his cast of 92 feet to Andrews' best of 83-1. Chuck Farneth of Little Rock, Ark., had the longest cast of the day, 98-8.

"My personal best with a five-weight is 126 feet with a tailwind," said Rajeff, who thought he would cast at least 100 feet Thursday. But that was before he saw the windy conditions that also made casting accuracy difficult.

Andrews built his margin in the accuracy competition by being the only angler to score on three of the four targets. He and Jenny Grossenbacher of Bozeman, Mont., were the only competitors to score any points on the longest target, set at 65 feet.

However, unlike last year, winning Thursday's event didn't result in a gold medal. All Andrews won was the chance to pick first when river sections are selected for Friday's One Fish competition. And that's fine with Andrews.

Flycast event
Duke Brown takes his best shot during the GO Games flycasting event.
"All these people love to catch fish," said Andrews of the 12 angler field that includes 10 men and two women. "This casting stuff is okay, but what we're really passionate about is catching fish. That's what makes this fun."

Tom Rowland of Key West, Fla., who last year won the gold in the One Fish competition and a silver medal in the Fly Casting event, earned the third seed Thursday with 545.25 points.

"I really think the top three seeds will be about even," Andrews said. Based on Thursday's seedings, there will be two flights of competition Friday — first from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and second from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each angler will have a one-third mile section of the Ausable River in which to fish. They will be fishing for the longest fish possible.

Once each angler declares a fish as his best for the day, he is done. It could be a 20-inch brown trout caught on the first cast, or an angler might release a 16-incher, keep fishing for something bigger and never land anything else over 10 inches. No angler knows what the others have done. Last year the tiebreaker — girth measurement — separated Rowland and Doug Swisher, who both caught 18.5-inch brown trout. Rowland fished in the morning session and Swisher in the afternoon.

"That's the big question, morning or afternoon?" said Andrews, but he left little doubt which one he would choose with that top-seeding. "I don't want to fish a stretch of river after any one of these people. There will be lots of trout with sore mouths in the afternoon."

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