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Mar 03, 2022
This was just the first of three amazing photos of Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Matty Wong making a cast during practice for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell.
Part of my job as a photographer is traveling the country as part of a team that covers Bassmaster fishing tournaments, and I love the challenges presented while working from a boat in all kinds of challenging conditions.
During each fishing tournament, I work hard to capture all the action. And, while freezing the struggle between angler and bass is the ultimate goal, there are many other facets of the sport that tell the story of a day on the water.
One of those is the cast. I try to capture at least one great photo that illustrates what happens when these anglers cast a lure — and during this week's final practice day of the 2022 Bassmaster Classic on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell, I create a 3-photo series composed of arguably the best casting photos I've ever shot.
The opportunity presented itself when I eased into a little creek to find Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Matty Wong chunking a huge lure. It was still early in the morning, and I could see the sunlight tracing the angler's line as it arched toward the water.
One of the rules of photography is never shoot into the sun, but it's one that we Bassmaster photogs break all the time because backlighting provides wonderful contrasts. I knew this was one of those times, so I let Wong work his way closer with the sun to his back.
A challenge of freezing a cast is figuring out an angler's cadence: Start shooting too soon or too late, and you miss the bend of the rod after the back cast. So I watched carefully to ensure I could anticipate when Wong started the forward movement of the rod.
I then held down the shutter button as he made this cast, capturing what turned out to be an iconic photo showing just what can happen during a cast.
The water falling from the lure as it raced forward wasn't a big surprise, and I knew I'd get a blast of water from reel as the cast finished.
What I didn't expect was that water trapped along the fishing line would be expelled at such a high volume that it traced the rod's action through the air.
It's photos like these that really excite me and keep me on my toes when working bass-fishing tournaments.
Scroll down to see the rest of the photos!
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So much water was trapped on Matty Wong's fishing line that you can actually trace his rod's path through the air as the force of the cast expelled the water.
The final force of Wong's cast threw water off the rod and the reel, finishing out one of the best series of casting photos I've ever shot.
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