Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Hello Everyone and thanks for taking the time to read through Session 3, which marked the half way point of this year’s Championships. After Day 1, England sat 10th however only 6 points from 8th and 27 from 5th place. It was a familiar story at the top of the leader board with Spain in P1, closely followed by the French. Only 4 points separated the medal positions.
Day 2 started much like the first, 4.30am alarm, shower, breakfast and to the official hotel for around 5.45am. After 2 river sessions on Day 1, including spending a lot a time in the heavy water of session 2, waking up after 6 hours sleep takes some doing, especially for someone who likes sleep as much as I do. Luckily I had the lake on Day 2, which meant no wading and even better I only had to carry one set of gear with me. As the championships are a mix of river and lake sessions, you often have to put river and lake gear in the coach as you don’t back to HQ until the end of the day. This is logistical nightmare, making sure you have everything you need, spare rods, lake fly boxes, all your lines and making sure they won’t get damaged along the way. On Day 2 there is usually only 1 session followed by a rest session in the afternoon which gives all the competitors a chance to re-stock fly boxes, catch up on sleep etc.
The coaches for the lake left first, as it was an approx. 2 hour drive to Lake Cornisello. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Cornisello sat 7,000ft above sea level, right at the start of a mountain range. The scenery was nothing short of breathtaking, almost like a scene from a Marvel Comics movie of some far flung planet region. Unfortunately though, the scenery was about the best thing Cornisello had going for it. We found out whilst we were there, that Cornisello had been chosen to host a sector because of this, so that the world could look at how beautiful the location of this year’s World Championships was being held at. It made perfect sense on the face of it, a lake a couple of hundred metres deep, frozen for 8 months of the year and the only natural fish were very small Char definitely wasn’t chosen for it’s potential as a competition lake for the biggest fly fishing competition in the world. What made it worse was the practice lake, Nembia which was used for the European Championships a few years back is a fully functioning small Stillwater fishery. Shallow, crystal clear and well stocked with Rainbows and Browns up to mid double figures and perfectly used to the pressure of big competitions.
During the practice week we had look around the lake and spotted fish near the surface a couple of rod lengths out. There wasn’t many however, only a handful of the 500kg of fish that were stocked on the 1st September, about 3 weeks prior were visible. With the lake seemingly bottomless only a few yards out from the bank, there was plenty of hiding space for the stockies. The fishing did start well however, with 13 fish winning the first session and lots of 3 – 6 scores. Session 2 was tougher, with 4 fish guaranteeing you a top 10 finish. It seemed like many of the fish that were getting caught were the ones you could see and cast it, however the fish wouldn’t be around for the whole match.
The rules of this competition stated that the 3 hour session was to be split up into 2 x 1.5hr pegs. The lake was split into 3 sectors, pegs 1-8, 9 – 18 and 19 – 29. You were drawn on a peg in one of these sectors, then moved 5 pegs within the same sector. I drew peg 12 for example, so moved to 17 after the first 1.5 hours. Peg 18 meanwhile would move to peg 13, not to the next sector and peg 23 as we would do in a UK Bank match. What this meant was you were very restricted as to what you could achieve. If you drew a good bank then you were in with a shot however draw a dead bank and it was a real struggle. In the first 2 sessions Simon and Scotty both drew the 19 – 29 sector, which on the first day wasn’t the place to be. An island at the other side of the lake was surrounded by shallower water and more fish when you look at the results but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. At least with a UK bank match, when run correctly every angler should have a chance at different locations on the lake.