So whats it all about?
There is nothing surer in life when two or more male hunter gatherer types get together, that they will automatically try to outdo each other.
It is in our genes, our heritage and our psyche, and it has resulted in every war, sporting event, election and pissing contest throughout the history of the world.
Casting is, if we take the above information to heart, a logical progression, in much the same way that javelin and discuss are. Imagine the scenario for Javelin, two soldiers, bored out of their minds with no one to kill, decide to practice their throwing. After a couple of chucks, it gets real competitive, one guy gets flogged and goes home muttering ‘never again’. He comes back about a week later with a smirk on his face and hidden knowledge,
and challenges the other guy to a contest, this time in front of his mates. Although physically not quite as strong, his technique is superior and he wins the day – now flash forward to the Olympics and you see the pure art form at work, but still with the desire to be the best of that initial contest.
Casting is no different - one suspects that given the competitive nature of anglers that casting the longest distance has been around since angling began. It is not enough to simply catch more fish than the other guy, you want to beat him at everything, including casting further.
As time passed and gear improved, those people affluent enough to afford to have a hobby began to refine the craft, taking advantage of the improvements in tackle to also improve their tangential activities.
In Australia, the natural Aussie spirit has seen great fisherman like Jack Alvey also become great
casters, however by and large the sport has not developed apace with other nations. This can, ironically, be put down to the immense quality of our fishing on these shores – not needing to cast very far to catch a 50lb Jewfish or Spanish Mackeral makes it a hard sell to go casting instead.
England, the home of modern pendulum casting in many ways (although perhaps the finest exponent of the artform, Primo Livenais, was American – but we ain’t telling them that) suffered no such excess of great fishing – and very different requirements were placed on their land based anglers to take advantage of their cod fishery. Shallow beaches meant long casts were required, and racing tides insisted upon
heavy, grapnel style sinkers to fish the area productively.
As such, fisherman needed to become good casters. They practiced their art for a practical application, and advances in technique and technology ensued.
And with their penchant for formality and rules, England developed the modern form of casting competition, with exact specifications and rules which enabled casters to accurately test themselves on an even playing field.
They were, for a time, the best in the world – but as with cricket, what they took to the rest of the world, the rest of the world improved upon, and nowadays a giant Belgian dominates the sport like no other, Italy and France produce the best teams of casters, Australians step towards the casting board as naturally as they dance down the pitch after a spinner, and countries around the world are taking their first serious forays into this magnificent, entertaining and challenging sport.