World champ hooked
Despite being a 16-year-old high school junior, Maxine McCormick enjoys sharing her flyfishing knowledge with adults.
After all, she's the best in the world at what she does — flycasting, as in the art of throwing fishing line as far and as accurately as possible.
McCormick will share her story and show her technique for distance and accuracy at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 7. The popular gathering of anglers, hunters, campers and more starts Wednesday, Feb. 5, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive.
"I like helping people, giving tips and pointers. I want to start doing more of that," said McCormick, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived in Portland with her parents for three years. She attends Cleveland High School.
McCormick won gold medals for accuracy in the 2016 and 2018 International Casting Sports Federation championship; in 2016, at age 12, it was against men and women. She also won the women's distance gold medal in 2018 with a whopping 189-foot, record cast.
McCormick began flyfishing with her father, Glenn, as a child. She joined the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club, working with coach Chris Korich. Later, her father joined his daughter in flycasting competitions.
"It was how quickly she took to it," said Glenn McCormick, a teacher with Portland Public Schools. "She's driven to succeed; her first tourney she loved the experience. And, we've been lucky that we had these world-class casters to work with." She now works with coach Steve Rajeff of Battle Ground, Washington.
"It's just a hobby for her," Glenn said. "She loves fishing as well. She's a counselor at a flyfishing camp."
McCormick has some basic tips for flycasters: "It comes down to technique and not just hammering the rod. Doing the right technique and having the rod follow that, flow with your technique. The key things are grip and motion you do with your arm, which is more up and down, and stance is pretty important, too."
She credits her early success to "not having any bad habits. It's easier than adults trying to relearn it."
McCormick loves to be outdoors and fish, and not just compete in flyfishing. She says some of her Cleveland High schoolmates know of her success, "but no girls at my school flyfish." She usually fishes on the Deschutes, Sandy, Metolius and Crooked rivers.
She'll defend her titles at the 2020 championships this summer in Sweden. She practices at the Westmoreland Park casting pond.
Among the other attractions at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show:
• At the Leupold VIP Movie Night, 7-10 p.m Saturday, Feb. 8, a fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, there'll be four short movies shown, including "Uncommon Ground" by Randy Newberg, who'll be in attendance.
He's a big deal in the hunting community, with a public-access TV show, podcast and social media following.
The other movies: "71 Degrees North" (about musk ox and caribou hunting in Greenland); "Wyoming Big Horns" (with Jason Phelps bow hunting for elk); and "Koenig" (about competitive shooter Doug Koenig hunting Utah elk).
• Steve Rinella, who has a hit show on Netflix called "MeatEater," will make an appearance Sunday, Feb. 9, dubbed "MeatEater Sunday." Rinella and the other members of his show ( Sam Lungren, Danielle Prewett and Ryan Callahan) will be in the backcountry hunting pavilion from 10:45-11:45 a.m., followed by a noon-4 p.m. demonstration on the cooking stage.
• There'll be about 50 hours of seminars a day at the show and 900 outdoors companies selling their products.
A big attraction continues to be the Baxter Kids Trout Pond. And, kids can also try their hands at archery and pan for gold.
• Show hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 5-7, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for kids 6-16. Parking is $10.
For complete info: www.TheSportShows.com.
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