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The woman who is best in the world at a sport often associated with men is still in high school!

DAVID F. ASHTON - Gold-medal accuracy fly caster Maxine McCormick shows the fly at the end of her line, as she practices for her return to the World Championships of Fly Casting at Westmoreland Park Casting Pond. Without question, Maxine McCormick is – hands down – the best accuracy female fly caster on the planet, and there are only a couple of men who could rival her, according to her coach Chris Korich – himself a world champion, and the coach of the U.S. Fly Casting Team.

Korich spoke with THE BEE as McCormick practiced at the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond on a recent warm summer morning.

And by the way – in the fall, World Champion Fly Caster Maxine McCormick will be starting her sophomore year at Cleveland High School!

"My dad fly fishes, and he brought me along to a casting pond near where we lived in San Francisco, sometimes," McCormick told us. "Then I met some people who started helping me learn how to do this!

"It's fun catching fish; but with fly casting, it's also a great feeling when you've had a good run, and you hit a lot of 'targets' – it's just a good sensation," she said.

With that, the 14-year-old went back to casting her fishing line, hitting targets – which are weighted bobbers – with the "fly" on the end of her line, every single time.

"I came up from California to work with Maxine, who moved to Portland just shy of two years ago – she was born and raised in the San Francisco area – to help her prepare for the national and international competitions coming up this year," Korich confided.

"We met when she and her dad wandered out to our casting pools on New Year's Day of 2013, and I was notified that a little kid had showed up," Korich recalled. "Being the coach of the United States Casting Team, I started coaching her and her dad about a month later; and – as they say – the rest is history."

That "history" includes becoming the reigning women's fly accuracy gold medalist at the 2016 World Fly Casting Championship held in Estonia. "Maxine is currently, and undisputedly, the best competition female fly caster in the world," grinned Korich.

When we asked, "But can she catch fish?" Korich replied, "That's a great question. The whole point of the casting sport, and the casting games that we play with different types of tackle, is to help prepare your tackle and prepare your skills for fishing.

"The 'accuracy game' that she's casting here in the Westmoreland Casting Pond, everything she's doing – loop control, line control, eliminating slack – it's all about putting your fly where you want it to go, to catch fish," Korich assured us.

On July 21, Maxine, along with her dad – also a champion fly caster – were headed to the American Casting Association competition in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Then, in mid-August, she'll be off to defend her title at the 2018 World Championships of Fly Casting in the United Kingdom.

In the fall, she'll be back in class at Cleveland High.

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