Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Thanks for joining me for the final installment of my blog on this year’s World FlyFishing Championships, I hope you have enjoyed the journey and managed to pick up a few things along the way that will help you in your own fishing, or maybe even inspired you to get involved at a more competitive level. It’s been helpful for myself on a personal level to revisit the event, remembering things that I did well and things that I did not so well. Even though this event is the pinnacle of the sport, I think every angler in the field goes home afterwards a better angler than when they arrived. Each year the competition gets better, there are more teams with top quality anglers and now, more so than ever, every single detail makes a difference.
For my final session, I was on the River Noce which was completely different from that of the upper reaches of the Sarca. The Noce was crystal clear when I fished it, the bottom was mostly bedrock and sand with a small gravel area at the bottom of the beat. I drew beat 5 which had produced double figures in the first couple of sessions but got tougher as the match wore on. The beat was very much split up into 2 halves, the top half was shallow and fast, so fast that in parts you couldn’t stand up in knee deep water. The bottom was bedrock with strips of sand in the very top run. The top run was about 20 yards long but the first 10 of them were all white water. This pool feed down to a shallow run of about 2-3 feet deep which was ripping over the bedrock at a rate of knots. There was a nice bit about the size of shopping trolley on the side of the main flow which was around 2 feet deep as well. This fed a large blue hole where the bedrock finished in the middle of the river. The current had carved out a big hole in the softer riverbed which was about 10 feet deep but dumped all of the sand behind the last bit of bedrock so access wasn’t easy. Below this river changed to a mix of gravel and weed, by far the nicest bit of the peg however I only had around 15 yards of this before the buffer zone started. The whole peg was about 150 yards, the shortest one I’d had so far.
I did a quick recce of the peg and soon realized that the bottom end was the best area, so this would be where I’d spend most of my time. Due to the clarity of the water, I’d be spending most of the time on my knees so I could take my time to work the water properly. Again I set up the 2 Nymphing rods but I also set up the dry rod on the off chance I’d see something rise. We hadn’t practiced on this river so I wasn’t so sure that the dry could be ruled out. I had met up with Scotty and Simon over lunchtime and Scotty had just fished the Noce and had good success on a Squirmy which he passed to me as it was different to any other colour I had. I tied that on to the point, along with a size 18 quill nymph with CDC to the dropper, again on .10mm Fluorocarbon. I must say that I’ve been using Trabucco T-Force XPS Fluoro in the small sizes and its hands down the best I’ve ever used in those diameters. It’s important to have the upmost confidence in your end tackle when your using such fine tippets and fishing with the prospect of hooking in a 50cm Marble Trout! The Noce was the river that had a healthy population of Marbles, as well as Browns. I think I’m correct in saying the Noce wasn’t stocked pre-match due to the numbers of fish in the river when the organisers had electro-fished the river earlier in the year.
Having got myself in place ready for off, I crept into position on the lower boundary limit on my knees and started working around the best looking part of my peg. By inching along on my knees ( you need a good pair of kneepads for this ) you can keep your profile really low and get surprisingly close to the fish. I could cover most of the river which was about 10 yards wide from one point so I sat in the same place until I was happy that I hadn’t missed anything before moving on. When you start the last session especially, your looking to get that first fish on the card as soon as possible which settles you right down. I’ve always thought you only really start fishing properly when you’ve got the first one on the card, the longer you go on with nothing, the quicker you get, more mistakes you make and thus the less fish you end up with. Luckily on this occasion I got straight into a small marble trout on the Quill CDC which measured 23cm and hadn’t been caught before in the match. I know this because the poor thing had a cable tie around it’s body, just above the dorsal fin which had cut into the fishes back as it grown. Obviously it hadn’t much effect on the fish but I can’t imagine any angler catching this first before and not removing the cable tie. That first fish came from the middle of the river, just off the side of some streamer weed which are great hiding places for the fish in session 5. I worked around the same area but I think the commotion of that first fish would have spooked everything around that patch of weed. I crept up a few yards so I could reach the side of a small island, only a couple of yards long but there was a lovely deep hole on the right hand side. I fired the rig into the side of the hole but it was getting far enough in so I made a bow and arrow cast which last inches from the grass. The line moved down a couple of feet and stopped so I struck out to my right hand side so that if it was a fish, then I’d get it moving away from snag straight away. In theory, the plan was ok however what I didn’t bargain for was that the fish I hit was a big Marble, at least mid 40’s which hardly moved on the strike however it soon realised something was up and bolted straight for the snag. It smashed me up within a couple of seconds of setting the hook and left me with nothing but a wind knot where my dropper was once positioned.
After re-rigging I tried the other side of the island where there was also a deeper hole but I couldn’t get the cast in the right spot so I decided to leave that for later and moved on up. Above the small island, there was a large weedbed with another deeper hole to the side of it. I changed over to 2 small perdigons to get down quickly in the hole as I had to land the flies on the back of the weed so they had the best chance of getting to some depth before the hole shallowed out. First cast in and I hooked a small rainbow in the mid 20’s which my controller was very surprised to see as the river wasn’t supposed to have any in, so it must have been and escapee. Again though this suggested that this fish hadn’t shown an appearance in the match so far, judged on my controllers reaction. I had covered the bottom 30 yards of my peg entirely on my knees as I approached the big blue hole where the bedrock ended. I covered the side nearest to me first however that was all sand and the lads that had fished before me all said that the Marbles were all living on top of the harder bottom. I had to stand up at this point for the first time to cover the far side as I couldn’t get my rod position high enough from being on my knees. I could just about reach the far edge of the hole but with the angle I had, the flies were skating to badly. I also changed the point fly to a heavy bug with a 3.8mm Tungsten and shrimp back to get down quickly with the quill CDC on the dropper and started firing the rig right up to the head of the hole. I soon hooked a Brown on the Quill which made it 3 on the card with 45 mins gone which I was pleased with. Unfortunately though this was the highlight of the session, I fished to top 100 yards without a take twice either side of going over the bottom where I’d caught first thing without adding to my score, losing a fish on the left hand side of the small island, by striking too hard and breaking off and another small Brown in the big blue hole which probably would of just measured.
Cutting a long story short, I went through the remaining 2 hours or so without adding to my score, losing 2, one at least I should of landed. The 3 fish I had on the card were small as well, with the biggest being the Rainbow at 24.5cm. I was surprised to finish 19th in the session however banking those 2 fish I lost would of saved me 5-6 points. I don’t think I had much of a chance with the big one so I’m not including that with my potential score. Elsewhere, Scotty turned in a huge effort for 12 fish on the Arco finishing 5th, Phil was 19th on the Pinzolo section whilst Simon finished with a 10th place on the Tione. Unfortunately Howard blanked on the lake along with another 9 anglers. Scotty’s fantastic last day shot him up to 20th place to be the top rod for the team.
When the final results where in, it was double gold for Spain, taking both top honours in the team and individual event, further stamping their authority on the Championships over recent years. The Podium was completed by the Czech Republic with the Silver and Italy taking Bronze. Only 5 points separated 1st and 2nd which comes to down the odd fish over the 5 sessions, proving how crucial every single fish is. England ended up 9th, the same positioned we held in last year’s event in Slovakia which was a disappointing result as we were aiming to improve on last year’s result at least.
Italy was a spectacular venue, the scenery was amongst the best I’ve ever seen with my own eyes, especially up on Lake Cornisello. Once again there was heavy peg variation, but it is next to impossible to get 29 pegs of a similar level. Just think about where we could do this in the UK? I can’t think of 3 that are close enough to each other, let alone the problems you would have getting the permission to fish the rivers! The Pinzolo and Tione sections were my particular favourite, and I can’t help think we didn’t see them on their best form. Certainly the practice sessions were much better when the water wasn’t white. That was my last event for a couple of years unfortunately as I couldn’t enter the new Elite League which has been created to help select the teams from now on. There has been a lot said about this league but my personal opinion is that it will encourage the development of our English river anglers and start to create a larger pool of better ‘pegged’ river anglers. The more competition for places we have, the better for the Team. Fingers crossed I’ll be back in 2020 however right now, I’m off to the Dee!!
Thanks for taking the time to read through the series, I hope you have found them enjoyable, informative and that you have a better insight in to a World Championships which is what these blogs were designed to do. Tight Lines,