Teen who honed skills in Bay Area becomes fly casting prodigy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- At 15 years old, you could say Maxine McCormick has the world on a string. Or more precisely a fly casting line.

"I think it's all about technique and efficiency and just having the right stroke really helps," McCormick believes.

Her stroke, with its deceptively smooth flicks and pulls, has catapulted her to the top of the international sport of fly casting. In fact, she now holds back-to-back world titles.

"What Maxine's accomplished is unprecedented. She became the youngest world champion in sports history at 12," says fly casting coach Chris Korich.

But even more remarkable is where Maxine originally honed many of her skills. Not on the mighty rivers of Idaho or the northwest, but the Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club.

"And then to have this facility right in San Francisco was just amazing," says Maxine's dad Glenn McCormick.

Her dad, also a fly caster, eventually teamed her with coach Chris Korich.

At 9 years old, Maxine began mastering techniques like roll casting, shifting the motion of her upper and lower body in unison with her wrists, and placing fly after fly into small circular targets. Soon she began reeling in medals. And finally, in what some thought was fluke, a first place finish at the World Championships in Estonia in 2016 -- a tribute to not just to her physical skill, but something rarer among teenagers, concentration.

"I kind of forget about everything else and just zone in, or think about my day," says Maxine.

"We're talking Michael Jordan, Joe Montana in the fourth quarter focus. So, as she'll tell you, she can't stand losing," adds coach Korich.

And this year, casting in 20 to 30 mile an hour winds on the coast of England, Maxine proved her earlier performance was no fluke, earning gold in two events. But even now as a two-time champion, she says she still loves the sport in it's purest form -- fishing on a river with her family.

"One evening, we were catching a lot of fish, there was a big hatch going on, and I hooked up with two fish at one time, and that was probably the best!"

Besides Golden Gate Park, Maxine also trained at the Bay Area's other big facility The Oakland Casting Club.
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