The answer is simple:
You and only you can set the limit for your own pursuit of the longest flycast possible.
Since the 5wt. so called "Trout Distance" tournaments have become fairly common over the past ten years, it's no wonder a lot of us are taking the longest ever made casts in these games as the target to strive for.
Crazy? Yes, I think that's truly crazy. The longest casts obviously were done by those being best in dealing with strong tailwinds and lucky enough to get exactly those conditions in the tournament.
Yet 44 meters seems to be the limit with the 5wt. Mastery Expert Distance fly line (longbelly line).
As soon as the wind drops it very well may be other casters being best in dealing with no wind and getting the line and leader still straight! No, it's not automatically the same people winning the tournament. There are simply different strategies in fly casting for how to achieve the longest possible distance in a significant heavy wind compared to no wind.
In no wind 35 meters seems to be the mark yet.
Now when you start training every day to lengthen your carry and thus your max possible distance, what target would you strive for? 35 or 44 meters?
From what I have seen over the years (and now read in James his fine frontpage on Sunday) I believe most of us totally prefer to strive for 44 meters!
Why? Well, obviously 44 meters is 9 meters further, right?
But you know what, striving to hit 44m ASKS for very serious (perfect) tailwind, which often you may not fully have. You better take that into account, because otherwise it easily can get frustrating to strive for something most of the days not being possible for anyone (not even the best in this diszipline).
The other thing to think about is, if you are happy to prove it (being able to hit such a long cast) to yourself only or do you want others to see it as well.
As James mentioned correctly: It's all in the mind!
How about me? Well, I am a Sexylooper, most probably a little crazy for casting, too. In fact I trained my overall fly casting several thousand hours. A serious amount spent in that 5wt. game as well. In my training I hit 44m precisely once (strong tailwind), came close several times, but din't get my best shot in the tournament.
My best distance cast with the 5wt. MED I did in Norway at the river Glomma where I managed to hook a nice Brown trout by presenting my dry fly over the full length of the MED (36,6 meters). That fine trout was the best judgement right after my own one I could have.
In the end I believe that the only part that really matters is SELFRESPECT. No tournament ever will give me that as far as I can tell. In regard of James he has all my respect for his brilliant level of distance fly casting as have some others who yet did not win the Trout Distance!
Interestingly James said his distance to always be best when he is casting on his own without others watching and not in front of a camera. I am pretty sure this holds true for most of us. But why is that? Aren't we simply casting against the one and the same enemy always - in the training and in the tournament - ourselves? I believe we do! Maybe focussing on the mirror in the tournament, too might help for the right mindset.
You tell me! ;)
Fair winds and long casts to all of you!
Back into fishing NOW!
All my best
Some current pictures of last week as always...