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Chris Wikel, volunteer with the Winston-Salem, North Carolina program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, writes a short article about the recent Regional Fly Casting Competition held in our North Carolina Region.  

The PHWFF Fly Casting Competition is hosted in-conjunction with Fly Fishers International. PHWFF and FFI, through the casting competition and their strategic partnership, aim to bring fly fishing and it’s proven therapeutic elements to more disabled veterans who can benefit from it.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is a national non-profit organization created to support disabled military veterans. As part of their program to teach fly fishing they sponsor national contests for fly rod building, fly tying and fly casting. Our local program has already won national honors in rod building and fly tying and this year will compete for a win in the national fly casting competition.

The second annual regional fly casting competition was held in Winston-Salem on Saturday, June 15th, at Corpening Plaza. The event was attended by competitors from across the state representing six different PHWFF programs. The contest was filmed for the Fly Rod Chronicles, a popular fly fishing show hosted by Curtis Fleming, to be broadcast in 2020.

The course consisted of 9 inch targets at distances of 20, 35, 50, and 60 feet for casting accuracy and open distance casting. The nine competitors with differing skill levels all scored respectably but of course there has to be a winner in every game. First and second place were taken by Vince Taylor and Matt Brown from Winston-Salem. The winners will advance to a
national competition to be held at the annual Federation of Fly Fishers International conclave in Bozeman, Montana, July 15th. Vince and Matt will receive an all expense paid multi day trip to
enjoy the competition; and certainly chase some legendary Montana trout.

The awards ceremony and luncheon was hosted by our regional director, Tom Carpenter, at the Hawthorne Inn where our out of town guests were staying. Third place winner, Ed Bradway
from the Camp Lejeune program, received a box of hand tied flies, second place winner Matthew Brown received an Orvis sling pack and our first place winner, Vincent Taylor, received a custom built fly rod from Curtis Fleming and Fly Rod Chronicles. Vince and Matt will also enjoy 4 days of fishing for giant redfish on the Neuse River with Captain Gary Dubiel from September 22nd -25th, 2019.

It was a successful event enjoyed by all and made possible by  the support and hard work of local PHWFF volunteers who served as casting coaches, judges and event support crew. All of
this is done to support our veterans by providing a recreational outlet for relaxation and social interaction. Project Healing Waters in Winston-Salem supports over forty disabled veterans with almost as many volunteers. We are just a part of the nearly ten thousand veterans who have been served nationwide.