Audrey Wilson, founder of At First Cast, is a championship cast, leadership performance coach and creator of the Fly Fishing Experience.
She combines her passions for guiding and fly fishing by offering unparalleled fly fishing experiences and championship level programs. Audrey uses her creative vision and passion for Fly Fishing to challenge clients to overcome barriers.
Among her list of accomplishments, Audrey is a multiple tournament champion and recognized as one of the best in the country. She is also a certified casting instructor with Fly Fishers International.
Flylords: Tell us a little more about yourself and what you do.
Wilson: “I started fly fishing about 16 years ago, and it’s been an instant passion ever since. Three years later, almost every weekend I spent at Dutch John on the Green River in Utah, I ran into a local casting contest when I started. Then at the same time I met some casting instructors who were participating in this competition. I grew up playing sports and always had some competition. I wanted to try it and I wanted to improve my casting as well as my skills while on the water. I started entering competitions and eventually got involved with the American Casting Association about three years ago. Then, I competed in a national competition where I qualified for the World Championships, which had been delayed a few years due to Covid. The world championship is taking place this year. Back to casting instruction, I worked with a mentor and eventually tested and became a casting instructor and then started learning more. I started my own casting instruction business called At First Cast, where I offer casting instruction in a program where we work with different people to improve their casting and provide them with resources within that program. So, I’m very passionate about it and I love seeing people break down barriers and advance their skills in casting a fly rod. Also, I became involved with a non-profit called Casting for Healing about ten years ago, and for the past few years, we’ve had a program in western Utah that is a once-a-year fly fishing retreat for women with cancer. the bay. I volunteer for this retreat and help raise funds for this incredible program.”
Flylords: How did you get into fly fishing and what does it mean to you?
Wilson: “I grew up fishing with my little family, not fly fishing, but I definitely fell in love with the movie A River Runs Through It at age eight and have seen it hundreds of times. I didn’t get a chance to fly fish until in my twenties when one of my friends who was a guide introduced me to this sport and passion. I have had the opportunity to learn so much and was instantly hooked on the sport. I wanted to be good at fly fishing and always give 110% in everything I enjoy. Fly fishing, to me, is about life and leadership, and leadership takes many forms throughout people’s lives. However, in fly fishing, there is always room for improvement . We learn to adapt to changing conditions anywhere in the world. All these things that evolve around leadership and self empowerment provide us with a break from our everyday lives. Fly fishing has taught me a lot. I am also a Force leader United States Air Force visited the civil business operations and finance team. I have learned patience while teaching people and community through fly fishing.”
Flylords: Explain the World Fly Casting Championship and how you rose to this level.
Wilson: “I got involved with the American Casting Association and they have ensured the unity for the team to go to these championships that are being held in Norway this August. This will be my first world championship that I am competing in and before I have always been the person who wants to excel in everything I am passionate about. I always try to push myself, I never would have thought that I wanted to follow this path and try out for this team. I really put my mind to it and wanted to make an impact for other women out there who fly fish and for women who are trying to follow their dreams. I wanted to inspire those around me. To go to the world championships, you qualify through a competition through the ACA.”
Flylords: What does it take to reach the world championship?
Wilson: “In a typical regional or national ACA event, there are various events that you can participate in. Some revolve around throwing accuracy when you are throwing at specific objects and targets or the measured distance of the broadcast where you count for your casting the longest distance a fly rod. So at the world championships they don’t follow everything ACA does for their races where I’ve been successful with my accuracy, and distance casting is what I’m all about trained. At the world championships, there’s a trout accuracy event, just casting to four different targets that you get a cast to each target four times within five minutes. It’s obviously how accurate you can be. But, there’s do with the mental side of trying to use my skills and put them down to luck. It’s hard, your nerves can build and achieving these goals can be very challenging, especially in 5-minute window. I’ve been focusing and training the basics, great casting strokes, and letting the line stretch out completely so I can see if I’m on target. Many factors add up to have a very accurate cast, and one wrong move can invalidate your ranking score. The mental part about it is a lot of positive affirmations, and the training helps with confidence when you go into a big race. There is a lot of pressure. You can hopefully be prepared to believe in yourself and make it happen with the skills you have acquired. It’s taking all these steps to build confidence, listening to various sports psychology resources, and especially a Lebron James podcast to positively put my mind in a place where I can complete all these steps. When you’re already good at casting, you need to focus on the mental management part, and then the same with distance casting, just working on making those long casts, whether it’s hot, cold, wet or young. I’m out in all weathers trying to improve my cast in whatever weather nature throws at us. For the past three years, I have been working with a trainer out of California in the bay area. I’ve flown there many times and training with him and a coach who can help shape the skills has been an incredible process and helped me practice to get to this level.”
You can support Audrey’s Journey in the World Championship here.