July 21, 2000 by Gary Mortenson
Bass fishing competition set to begin Sat. July 22
Brent Taylor didn't put together the best distance in Thursday's Great Outdoor Games Fly Casting competition, but he was so accurate that he beat out 11 other competitors to claim the overall lead heading into Friday's One Fish Fly Fishing Tournament.
The opening day of the inaugural ESPN Great Outdoor Games showcased some of the best fly fishing anglers in the world competing in both distance casting and casting accuracy in the Olympic Oval at Lake Placid, N.Y.
The Games - which include fishing, sporting dog competitions, timber and target sports - run from July 20-23.
After easily outdistancing the competition in the accuracy trials of the casting tournament, Taylor, of Little Rock, Ark., also accumulated a combined total of 267.29 feet in the distance casting trials to win the competition. Anglers used a total of three casts to come up with the final score in the distance competition.
Brian O'Keefe of Bend, Ore., turned in the longest cast of the day at 110 feet. The world record for distance casting with a five-weight fly rod is 126 feet
Taylor scored 800 points (out of a maximum 1500) in the accuracy challenge - 500 points ahead of his next closest competitor. The accuracy challenge required anglers to make five casts at five different targets and rewarded points based on the proximity of the cast to the target.
"I'm having a great time, these are great people," Taylor said. "This is a great opportunity to get to know people with different styles."
Tom Rowland of Key West, Fla., qualified second in the casting competition while Chuck Farneth of Little Rock, Ark., finished third.
"The problem today was that the entire field got nervous, including myself and Brent," Rowland said. "My strategy was to score one very accurate cast to get points on the board."
ESPN allocated a total purse of $3,500 for the distance and accuracy casting competition.
The rest of the competition included: Fletcher White of Victor, Idaho (fourth); Wendy Gunn of Marble Canyon, Ariz. (fifth); Terry Gunn of Marble Canyon, Ariz. (sixth); Joel Silverman of Las Vegas, Nev. (seventh); Kim Keely of Victor, Idaho (eighth); Duke Brown of Bozeman, Mont. (ninth); Doug Swisher of Corvallis, Mont. (tenth); Ed Lombardo of Johnston, R.I. (eleventh); and O'Keefe of Bend, Ore. (twelfth).
An angler's performance in the distance and accuracy competition determined the rankings for second day of competition - the One Fish Tournament. By finishing first in the preliminary competition, Taylor was allowed to pick the first time slot and preferential fishing location on the Ausable River in Friday's One Fish Tournament.
Competitors in the One Fish Tournament will be placed into two separate three-hour "flights" - morning and afternoon. Each angler will select a one-third mile section of the Ausable River and continue fishing until they believe they have caught the longest fish of that day. Once they designate that fish as their catch fish, they must cease fishing and leave the river. The anglers, who will vie for $17,500 in prize money in the One Fish Tournament, will be ranked 1-12 based on the longest to shortest fish.
The professional bass fishing competition begins Sat. July 22. on Lake Saranac, N.Y.