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May 29, 2013

Wednesday Win

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Mia Sheppard

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May 25, 2013

World Champion Women of Spey Casting

Mia Sheppard and Marcy Stone celebrate after the competition. Photo by James Chalmer.

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.

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May 23, 2013

Orvis Exec Picked to Lead Board of Sportsmen’s Group

Story courtesy of E&E News

 Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today announced that David Perkins, vice chairman of the Orvis Co., will lead the TRCP board.

Perkins, an avid fly fisherman who joined Orvis in 1979, will replace Katie Distler Eckman, a former executive director of the Turner Foundation who has been chairwoman of the TRCP’s board since 2011.

TRCP partners with dozens of sportsman and conservation groups to lobby for greater access to public lands, conservation funding and balanced energy development.

“As one of the only conservation groups to focus on federal policy and funding that affects millions of acres to conserve habitat and access for hunters and fishers, the TRCP has the platform to make one of the biggest differences in preserving our natural heritage,” Perkins said in a statement this afternoon.

Perkins also sits on the board of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Orvis earlier this year announced plans to match its customers’ donations — up to $50,000 — to support efforts to oppose a sprawling open-pit mine proposed for Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, a project the TRCP has also vigorously opposed.

“At both a personal and professional level, Dave’s commitment to conservation and sporting traditions is unsurpassed,” Eckman said in a statement. “He has been a steadfast supporter of the TRCP since its inception, and we are privileged to have someone with his talent, dedication and vision take the reins as the organization enters its second decade.”

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May 22, 2013

T.R.’s Summer Travel

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

How well do you know T.R.? Give our Wednesday Win trivia challenge a try. 

Theodore Roosevelt had three travel related firsts as president.  He was the first president to ride in an automobile for state purposes; he was the first to ride in an airplane.  Do you know the third?

Leave us a comment below or email your answers to info@trcp.org for your chance to win a copy of The Gigantic Book of Hunting Stories edited by Jay Cassell.

Mia Sheppard

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May 21, 2013

My American Right: Public Access

I have second thoughts as I arrive at a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It’s more like a glorified trail that hasn’t seen a grader in years. According to the map, it’s about five miles to the river.

Hoping it won’t be too bad, I turn onto the trail and brace for the bone-jarring bumpy ride. My Ford maneuvers over sharp basalt rock, and sagebrush scrapes the sides of the vehicle. I pray the truck doesn’t get a flat or overheat in the scalding sun – cell phones don’t work out here.

Mule deer look up in curiosity; their heads twitch back and forth, and then they go back to eating wild bunch grass. This backcountry hasn’t seen a vehicle in weeks. The truck continues to creep along barely exceeding five miles per hour. After an hour, I crest a sage-covered flat and finally see the river.

In contrast to the burnt brown and yellowish hard clays of the landscape, the banks of the river are green with native grasses and willow. I analyze the river, trying to determining where a fish might lie.

There’s a small pool turning behind rocks and a soft seam hugging the bank. My first cast is upstream to the grassy cut bank. Stripping fast, I take a couple steps upriver and cast again, this time behind a rock where the current is moving at a considerable pace.

Photo by Alice Owsley

Bam!  The trout explodes, cartwheeling out of the water. She’s strong, pulling, not giving in, but her fight ceases after a few minutes. I bring her to the bank, remove the hook and release her.

These public land experiences are an American right. As a hunter and fisherman without access to private land, I take most of my trips afield on public land. I need access to the arid high-desert backcountry, which forms my playground for hunting chukar and mule deer and fishing for trout.

In southeast Oregon where the majority of my time is spent recreating, there are millions of acres to roam, and still sportsmen’s access to public lands is being infringed upon.

With the current demand for oil, gas, solar and wind energy, our public places are increasingly vulnerable to development. The TRCP is working to ensure that energy development is done in a responsible manner that balances our energy demands with conservation of core fish and wildlife habitat. Without this balance our favorite places to hunt and fish will be lost.

If you’re willing to go on an adventure, you can get lost on the endless backcountry dirt roads that lead to rim rock breaks or trout streams in the desert. These special places have no road signs, traffic lights or city congestion – just arrows pointing to dirt roads that cross an endless landscape.

I want to see these American landscapes kept the way they are so that one day I can come back to catch and release a trout again. Join us in ensuring that we keep public access an American right.

What is your favorite backcountry hunting or fishing story?

Mia Sheppard is the Oregon field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and fishing bum by night. To find out more about her work to help conserve public backcountry land, go to www.trcp.org.

 

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