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Fast Confession - World Champion in Casting Sport Kateřina Marková: I cast better than men

Karolína Lišková
04.Mar 2020
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7 minutes to read
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What, you haven't heard of Casting Sport yet? Neither have we, but we know a thing or two about fishing. Casting Sport is basically a fishing technique. It has an incredible nine disciplines. And Kateřina Marková is a multiple world champion in all disciplines. This young woman has been engaged in fishing ever since she learned to walk, thanks to which she ranks on the top with the very best. And although huge money can made in the fishing industry, it's not the case in Casting Sport. You're not going to earn anything here, on the contrary – you'll be pouring money into the hobby. Kateřina's goal, therefore, is to make the sport more known.

How did you get into Casting Sport? I've never heard of it.

That's what many people say, that they're not familiar with the sport at all. I started to train already as a small child, in Písek, South Bohemia, where my grandfather was a coach of fishing techniques. I have an older brother who started doing it a little bit earlier, we had no choice. We had trainings three times a week, two or three hours, we were always on the field, or in the gym in winter. Always casting at targets and practising.

As a little girl, didn't you want to dance or do gymnastics?

I had the ambition that I would become a cheerleader. But I've never been this skinny little thing. I've always been big and I had broad shoulders, more like a tomboy.

Who do you take after?

My dad, I guess. I still remember that when I was in Sokol, we had P.E., where we were doing shoulder exercises. We were supposed to put our shoulders down as much as possible, I already had mine down, and everyone was telling me to put them down. I do have broad shoulders, but at the same time I'm very glad for it, because that's what makes casting at great distance possible.

Prodej luxusního řadového domu - Tuřany
Prodej luxusního řadového domu - Tuřany, Okolí Prahy

Try to describe it to me. You said it had nine disciplines. But for me it's all just taking a fishing rod and casting it.

There are different types of rods, different lengths, and of course it's not only the fishing with a reel that we all know. It's also fly fishing, for instance, where you have a line, a long rod, a fly reel, there is no load or hook at the end, only an artificial fly. One of the disciplines is to guide the line and fly it as far as possible. Or guide it and then shorten it in various ways, and we also try to hit such "plates" filled with water.

Do you need to have sensitive hands and fingers?

For sure. I think I have very sensitive fingers. You could basically do it all blindfolded, once you've learned it, no longer need to look at what you're doing, you just focus on the target and cast.

I don't understand how you manage to hit the target every time.

That's due to the training, I've been practising for about seventeen years. And if you've been looking at the same target since age five…

That sounds terribly boring…

It's crazy, but it's amazing in that there are great people and great friends in the sport, every time we've been training, we've been a great group of people. We competed with each other, chatted, and made the whole thing entertaining.

So the training is just about the target? You don't need to run or work out?

Theoretically, you don't, but then when you take it seriously, you want to be in good shape. It doesn't hurt to have a run before training, stretch, put in some hours in the gym.

Do you do that?

I used to, now I mostly work out at home, that's enough for me.

After all, you're a world champion, I'd expect someone who has won so many titles to be working hard all day, running and exercising.

Maybe if it were possible to do it on a professional level in our country in the sense that we would be making money from it, I would focus on it more.

There's no money in it?

No. And I also study, I'm in my third year now and finishing my Bachelor's degree.

What are you studying?

Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters at the University of South Bohemia. In addition to that, I have my own business, I make cosmetics. That's something completely different, I love cosmetics and baths, so I decided to make my own products, homemade handmade soaps, bath salts and sparkling bath bombs.

You make that yourself?

Yes, I make and sell it.

So you go to university, train three times a week and make cosmetics…

Personally, I don't train that much anymore. When there's an important competition ahead, I train a lot, but it's definitely not that I'd need to train three times a week, I rather work with children.

How many medals do you have?

That's difficult, I have too many, but from what I've been able to count, I have sixty-six world champion titles. That means 61 gold medals from the World Championship.

Luxusní penthaus na Praze 1 - 226m
Luxusní penthaus na Praze 1 - 226m, Praha 1

Does anyone in the Czech Republic have more?

I don't think so, not among the women.

And here I thought you were getting money for winning. But you pour money into the sport…

It's complicated, I don't like to discuss it because I'm not very well versed in these things and I'd hate to say any untruths. We are a sport under the auspices of the Czech Fishermen's Association, we are a sport industry, so the CFA sponsors our sport by paying for our trips to international competitions. When we're nominated to the national team, CFA covers our entry fee and our stay at the championship.

But if we ourselves want to go somewhere, for example to the World Cup in Japan, we have to pay for it from our own pockets. There's usually no money in winning, only a medal or a cup. One of the reasons why it‘s so difficult is that the sport is not very well known, it's very hard to find sponsors who would invest into it. It is therefore my goal to make the sport more visible somehow, so as to attract sponsors, more people and money. I find it a pity, you've basically sacrificed your entire life to it and you're broke.

And rods are really expensive…

They certainly are. Some rods cost thirty, forty or fifty thousand.

Why is it so expensive?

I don't know, for me a rod is a rod. It's crazy, who could afford it? The fact that you have a good and expensive rod alone doesn't guarantee that you'll win. I have ten, fifteen years old rods that my dad built for me. Same with reels, I have an emotional relationship with them, I would never give them up. Should they ever break, I'd quit. (laughs)

What about your gold rod?

That's just a fancy thing, I take it to exhibitions and I boast that it's the winning rod. (laughs) But it's just for show. My rod is old and ugly, and that's the winning one I break records with. At the exhibition I have a gold one because it looks great. I also have a pearly one that throws amazing reflections when the sun shines, but I don't cast with the golden one, it doesn't work for me in actual competitions.

What is the farthest country where you won? You mentioned Japan…

I've never been to Japan, because it is one of the most expensive competitions. A championship in Japan, that will cost you a pretty penny. The farthest I've been is Estonia, perhaps Spain. But I know that Czech teams used to go to South Africa, Canada, even some World Championships, and in 1908 Casting Sport was first introduced to the world at the London Olympics.

But said it was popular among Czechs…

I think that Czech fishermen as such don't really like it, I'm not sure why, in other countries it's not the case. I feel like they dislike us, because they think we're just messing around on the playground, but when it comes to fishing, we're useless. In other countries, people do the sport on a professional level, for example in Slovakia or Switzerland.

Why don't you move there?

I was already planning it, but I've been telling myself that so far, I'm doing the sport because I like it.

Jakub Vágner told me that even girls are already starting to be interested in fishing and fishery.

I've known Kuba for a very long time, by the way, he's the person helping me make the sport more visible. We always organize children's events together, show children how to cast on a target. It's very important. I think a child who wants to start fishing should join a fishing club. And I also think Casting Sport should be a part of it, so that the children learn to control the rod.

How do the men and people around you in general react to the sport?

It's really hard to explain to others what the sport is about. It's difficult to describe it in words to someone who can't imagine it. Those who know me mostly get it. But when I explain it to somebody, it's always this long description of how many disciplines there are, what we do and how. And it gets so lenghty that people lose interest by the time I‘m finished.

I believe the guys must be impressed. After all, it is still the men's domain…

My boyfriend condemns it a little, I think. He is a fisherman and I've never seen any signs of enthusiasm for the sport on his part. But despite that, he supports me as much as possible.

Do you go fishing with him?

Yes.

You cast better than him, but he catches more fish?

He casts wonderfully too. (laughs)

You said you liked fashion. What is fishing fashion like?

I have this incredibly egoistic motto "it's not important what you do, but how you look while doing it" – it's an exaggeration, of course. I try to choose clothes that are both comfortable and nice.

Is there any Casting collection already?

Not at all. We are a tiny sport and unfortunately almost nobody knows about us.

How many of you are there?

In the Czech Republic a lot, I think. Hundreds, maybe thousands. Almost every fifteenth person in our country is a fisherman, but in my opinion only seven to ten percent of fishermen are familiar with Casting sport.

When you go fishing with your boyfriend, do you look around and see the mistakes people make when casting?

Yeah, that's crazy. Maybe that's why I don't go fishing very much, the technique of those fishermen… I see it at exhibitions where I present it and try to show how it's done right. But then a couple of grandfathers who are stuck in their ways come with their grandkids, I try to explain to them how it's done, and they keep telling me that they know better, that their way is the correct one. They don't want to learn anything new.

You must have great patience.

I suppose I do. The parents are often worse than the children. The children are not manually skilled, I their fingers are lame from clicking on their cell phones, but I think it was easier for us. I give fishing lessons for children and tying a hook is a superhuman feat for them, they are completely useless.

Have you already thought about it in the context of having your own children one day?

I have a younger sister, who's seven years old. She was born when I was fifteen, so I've already done a lot of parenting. I'm training her now.

Will your children also do casting?

I don't know. Since my sister was born, I have been telling myself that they will be doing a sport in which there's some money, such as golf or tennis, but I don't know. We'll see where my children will end up one day. I definitely want them to do sports, but I won't force them into anything.

Katka, thank you very much for the interview.

Fast confession:

Fast Confession:

Your greatest success in sport?

Breaking the world record.

How many rods do you own?

A lot.

The most expensive rod you own?

Lots and lots of money.

The most bizarre injury that you sustained in sport?

I haven‘t sustained any bizarre injuries in this sport.

The most important thing in your life?

Health and family.

Your best catch?

A meter-long pike.

How do men react when they find out what sport you're in.

In various ways - some are excited, others a little jealous and disappointed.

Your ritual before casting?

I have none.

Your most awkward moment during a competition?

Once I managed to fall off the stage.

Your sport idol?

I don't have a sport idol.

What can't you imagine a day without?

Without a smile.

How far do you want to go in Casting Sport?

Far enough to make the sport more well known than it is now.

What would you rather eat: a carp, a bat or a cow?

A cow.

What does luxury mean to you?

Good wine.
Question by the interviewee for the editor:

Have you ever been fishing?

My dad is a fisherman, so I spent my childhood fishing.
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