Steve Rajeff Interview

One of the highlights of the AFFTA 2009 show for me was meeting Steve Rajaff. Steve has won the American Casting Association annual event 34 consecutive times and the bi-annual World Casting Casting Championship 13 times. In addition, Steve has won the International Casting Sport Federation’s World Championship held every two years 13 times. This is more than anyone else in the history of the ICSF.

Steve was telling me this last year he set a new record at 243 feet in the single handed casting event. He also said he beat his record at 248 feet but the wind was measured over 8 mph which disqualified the cast. (Track and Field events are also usually cancelled when the wind is that high.)

After a year of coaching by casting great Mel Kreiger, Steve started winning tournaments at age 10 at the Golden Gate Casting Club in San Francisco. While at the club, Steve had the chance to learn from some of the best fly casters of the day including Jim Green of Fenwick Fly Rods. Jim helped Steve to become a great caster and a great rod designer.

Steve also spent time trout fishing in the High Sierras, 5 years guiding in Alaska and fishing around the world. So he not only can cast but he can fish as well. Not all tournament casters are good fishermen.

I asked Steve how long he had been chief rod designer for G. Loomis. He said since about the mid to late 1980s. I then told him about an 8’6" 4wt 2pc IM6 G. Loomis I had won in a contest in 1994. This rod helped me catch and land the biggest trout of my life. An 8 lb 20 inch rainbow on the North Fork of the South Platte. Steve commented that the rod should still be alive and fishing well. And yes it does. I use it some every year.

Since Steve designs his own tournament casting rods, I asked him about how he designs rods in general. He gets the specs for a rod series. Then he has the tapers in thousandths of an inch for each inch of the rod sections. He will have a rod built and go cast it. From this information, the rod is fine tuned and a new one built. Steve will again cast the rod. Ususally this process only takes a couple of times to get the model ready for production. Steve has cast so many different rods and cast so much, he is better than a computer for rod design.

Steve was every bit of what the articles say about him. A gentleman and a great fly caster. The only thing I regretted about the interview was forgetting to ask for a picture with him. In this video, note the long arm stroke on the last haul before launching the cast. Then notice the rod is held out at 45 degrees with a straight arm to allow the line to shoot.

 

 

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall, Editor
www.fly-fishing-colorado.com
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