My journey to Casting Instructor (CI) success!
By Audrey Wilson, CI, Utah
I began my CI journey nearly 10 years ago. I started fly fishing a couple years prior to that. I spent many days on the local rivers and especially on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam. I fell in love with the sport and developed a passion for it. I was instantly hooked on the love for fly casting. I love the feel, the art, and how it positively impacts my ability to fish.
I attended a sportsman expo event in Sandy, Utah and discovered a fly-casting pond where a casting competition and presentations were taking place. I grew up playing competitive sports such as soccer and basketball. When I saw the casting competition, I was instantly inspired by the casters standing on the podium casting like I’ve never seen before. Molly Semenik, Jeff and Kathleen Wagner, Nick Teynor, and Sandi and Clay Roberts were among the group. I still remember watching them. I knew it’s what I wanted to do! I reached out to Molly seeking to learn how she was able to cast as well as she does. She informed me of the CI journey, and I began mentoring with her as well as with local members like Nick Teynor, and fellow fly fishing friends.
Over the next several years I studied, practiced, competed, and of course fished! I’ve traveled all over the West for all four! I’ve won or placed in numerous competitions including Best of the West, Wasatch Top Gun, GoPro Games 2-Fly Extreme, and many others. I’ve also taken classes at FFI events, including Bruce William’s Six-Step Method workshop.
I always knew that someday I would sign up for a CI exam. There were times in my life when I had to focus on other things and that delayed me. My mom fell ill seven years ago, and the loss of her from my family had a severe impact, but it ultimately pushed me to go after my goals! Life is short. I decided a year ago that I was going to test in 2019. I practiced, and practiced, and attended a prep course at the Fly Fishing Show in Denver, Colorado. I maintained my mentors, and by this time Mary Ann Dozer had become another mentor. I practiced more, and then signed up to test in September 2019. I hit the road from Utah, on a solo trip to Denver for my exam. Jonathan Walter and Mac Brown were my examiners. I was nervous, but well-practiced and prepared. They were great examiners, fair and informative, and were truly excited for me which made it that much sweeter! It’s a great feeling to accomplish my goal, to know it’s possible, and I hope I can inspire others to go after it or any goal.
I’ve been able to carry my love for the sport into a non-profit organization, Casting for Recovery, where I’m now the Program Coordinator. It’s an honor to lead the Utah program and utilize my casting and teaching ability for the organization. I’m very excited to be the first woman from Utah to become a CI. I look forward to my future and journey as a CI. I love to teach and share my love for casting!