On Monday, 28th July 2008, the Czech junior national team met in the airport Prague-Ruzyně to go in the direction of Portugal, where the VII Youth World Championship took place. This year, our team was completely changed and rejuvenated. Filip Lukáš, Jindra Kalivoda and Míra Bonešický were appointed to the team according to the ranking from 2007 and the remaining two positions were secured by Štěpánka Marková and Jakub Krpec during the spring West Bohemia Junior Cup. Milan Janus was the team captain and I was appointed to the position of the team manager. After the arrival in Lisbon, we picked up our Volkswagen Transporter and set out for two hundred kilometre distant town of Tábua, where our training centre was located. We had accommodation in the same hotel as our Gold senior national team in 2006.
In the morning of the following day, we had a meeting with the organizer Nuno Duarte, who provided us with the fishing licences and instructions concerning the practice venues. Without delay, we went to investigate the biggest river, Mondego, at first. This river is approximately of the same size as our Vltava River below the Lipno Lake and it did not abound in a big amount of fish. We identified the tactics, spread along the river and started angling. After two hours, we met again and the result of our whole team was only two trout caught on black streamer.
On Wednesday, we had agreed special fishing permits for practice in the top section of the smallest river, Ceira. The captain Milan Janus and Míra Bonešický stayed in the section of the river at the car and the other team members and I went upstream. The banks of the river were so shaggy that we could only go in water and alternate in angling. We tried to bypass the bushes on the bank but it was not possible because the banks were totally filled with thornbushes that we could not get through. There were five of us and we only had one catch when Filip Lukáš hooked but did not fish a brownie using an imitation of Grasshopper.
When we returned to the car, Milan and Mirek were already waiting for us. Both caught two brownies around the weir using dry flies. In the afternoon, we went to the lower section of Ceira, where we found a weir that was used as a local swimming pool. Below the weir, there was a stream fairly similar to the competition sections. We did not have a lot of time so we only practiced for two hours. I realized that in addition to Grasshoppers, trout also liked big Olive Goddard’s.
On Thursday, the middle-sized river, Alva, was on schedule. According to the map, we looked for the practice section for a rather long time but we finally managed to reach the destination. There were two cars with French registration in the parking place. Our French colleagues overtook us and there was nothing else left for us than going a bit more downstream.
In the nearby village called Caregal, a downhill road to the river was marked but it was so steep that I, as the driver, was not looking forwards to the return journey. We parted our ways at the river and went angling. Filip, Lukáš and I struggled through the thick thornbushes upstream. After several dozen meters, we saw a mark. We became a bit doubtful whether it could be a fishing section. We tried to examine it further on – and suddenly there was another mark and another one was a bit further on. It was clear to us that something was not OK.
Hence we returned to the car and on the return journey, we drove out the others from water. In the car, I took the map and tried to find out where we actually were. The map indicated clearly that it was a practice section but after our past experience I preferred to call Nuno. He assured me that it concerned a kind of old marking and we could keep angling. We stayed there for a while and then we decided to go elsewhere.
After some troubles, we reached the river and started angling again. It was probably the most beautiful section of any river I could see in Portugal, and it was also reflected in the amount of fish because we caught the biggest amount of fish there. Again, big Grasshoppers made good to everybody and I was satisfied with “Goddards” too. I also tried nymph in the beautiful currents but without success.
On Friday, we left for the lower section of the Ceira River, where there was abundant space for practice. The river was rather overgrown again and everything had thorns there. Trout that we caught there were hidden under branches and in trees fallen into water. Grasshoppers made good again as well as Olive Goddard; the boys even caught a fish with the use of a nymph. After lunch, we exchanged our positions and went angling. All of us caught some trout - Štěpánka had our biggest trout, which had about twenty seven centimetres. Of course, it is not a big fish but in the local conditions, it probably was.
On Sunday, we also went to test the section of Alva, where we met the Frenchmen last time. Probably there were many teams during the days but we wandered how we would succeed in water where many had angled before. Štěpánka used the nymph in the streams below the weir and caught three brownies. Mirek headed to bushes with a wet fly and pulled out a trout. He nearly had another one but it managed to break away. Other boys also managed to catch something above the weir so that our score seemed fairly good with respect to the conditions. In the afternoon we tyied the flies and in the evening we went to see the town. On Sunday, we were binding the proven patterns again and then it was time for packing and departure to the official hotel in Penacova.
We reached Penacova and faced the first surprise right away. The navigation programmed to the official hotel brought us to a lane with the identification of the maximum width of the car of two meters. Our rented van was just a bit narrower so that the passage was rather interesting. Behind this lane, the space of the courtyard of the hotel opened; we parked there and went to the presentation. There we met Slovaks and South Africans who arrived in the presentation first. We received everything required and went to the hotel rooms. We had about two hours there; afterwards there was a parade with flags to the nearby town square, where the ceremonial opening took place.
After the opening speech, individual teams were presented. We were invited to enter the stage as the first ones and then our anthem was played. We were followed with the Frenchmen, whom the organizers started playing the Spanish anthem, but thanks to the timely intervention of the French trainer, everything turned out well after all. They were followed by other teams and when the United States were on the stage, the organizers announced that they had not brought their anthem and that we should at least applaud them. The ceremony was finished and all the teams kept standing there because nobody had any information what should follow. Finaly they told us to return to the hotel and the meeting should take place a bit later. The words of our captain Milan Janus came true – he warned me that nothing would be according to the plan there and the reality was like that.
The first dinner was postponed for over an hour and the meeting of captains for two. In the meeting, we received instructions for official practices and rule modifications for this championship were specified in more details. In late evening, we assembled our competitors and divided them into the scheme of official practices. We selected Filip, Jakub and Jindra for the first day of practice. Mirek with Štěpánka would stay in the hotel and bind flies.
In the morning, we got up early, because the first bus to the most distant Ceira was to leave before seven o'clock but in the end all busses left together before eight o'clock. Our group got in the buss that went to both sections of the Ceira River. In the evening after the return, our boys said they had caught from three to five fish. They were really satisfied because the others caught much less. All the tactics, which we identified, worked well.
The next morning, the boys had time off and Mirek with Štěpánka left for the practice. Their bus went to the biggest river, Mondego, at first, and then to the Alva River. Milan, I and the boys were tying for a while and then we went to Mondego to see our people. After the arrival, we found them both angling below the road bridge in a deep calm section of the river. None of them had any catch with the streamer. From the bridge, we could see some trout, which moved and rised in the middle of the river. We tried to guide our competitors to them but unsuccessfully because the distance to the fish was too away and it was not possible to cast or wade to them. In the afternoon, both left to the Alva River and we went with the others to prepare for the competition on the following day. In the evening, both our competitors returned with some caught fish and the proven tactics worked well again.
After dinner, there was a meeting of the captains with the draw and all competitive venues were described. After the end of the meeting, we had a team meeting, where we announced the draw for the whole championship and discussed all necessary things for the first day. The draw for the first day was as follows: Jakub – morning to Mondego and then upper Alva, Jindra to upper Alva and then lower Alva. Filip to lower Alva at first and then upper Ceira, Štěpánka to upper and then to lower Ceira. The last rotation was left to Mirek – at first lower Ceira and then Mondego.
In the morning, all our competitors sat down in busses, which took them to the first competition in the world championship in their lives. It was agreed that Milan and I will follow Jakub on Mondego at first because we had biggest worries concerning that river as we had the smallest amount of information about it. All practice sections were located in the calm and flat parts of the river but the competition sections were in the streams under the weirs. We reached Jakub before the start of the competition, discussed the tactics and the competition started. With his dry Grasshopper, he examined the river step by step and after about twenty minutes, he had a success in the form of a brownie with thirty one centimetres.
Jakub visibly ceased to be nervous and so we decided to go to Štěpánka to upper Ceira. We reached her competition section approximately in the middle of the period. We passed the Slovak competitor who had scored only one fish. When we came to Štěpánka, we realized that she caught two trout. It was clearly visible how hard she was trying and fighting for the best possible result. She had tried to angle in a majority of the section and so Milan tried to guide her to a big pool with fish that could be seen from the bridge. In the final she did not manage to increase the number of caught fish and scored a nice third position in the sector behind the Irishman with seven fish and the Frenchman with three fish.
During lunch, I met Mirek, who caught seven fish at lower Ceira and finished third behind the Frenchman, who caught fourteen, and the Slovak Jan Schurdák, who caught eight fish. During lunch, we received text message from Filip, who only caught one fish at lower Alva and was seventh in the sector. Jindra was in a similar situation at upper Alva, when he was also on seventh place with two caught trout. We eagerly expected news from Jakub from Mondego. He caught five fish but he only occupied the fifth position because the competitors ahead of him caught nine, eight, seven and five bigger fish than he did. It was a bit surprising for us because we did not expect so many caught fish.
There was nothing left but finding concentration for the following afternoon competition. We agreed that we would follow Mirek to Mondego again and then Jakub to Alva. Mirek was given the section where Slovak Karol Letko caught five fish before him. The section of the river was rather overgrown and we could only see the competitor within about twenty meters from the bottom end of the section. Mirek did not have any contact with fish for a along time and he caught the first trout only after nearly an hour. Then he disappeared from our sight and so we went to Jakub at Alva. We found his section according to the map without problems but after parking the car we realized that the section is about eight hundred meters below us in the valley and it could be reached only after a steep downhill walk. Milan apologized to me that he had not enough strength for it and that was why I went alone.
I could find the section without problems but I could not find Jakub. I went through his section from start to end but as if he disappeared totally. The river was very rugged there and I tried to wait if Jakub would appear anywhere. Unfortunately I could not meet him; I only heard bad language of inhabitants of the house on the opposite bank. After the fishing period, I learnt from our competitor that those people even wanted to call the police because he and the controllor trampled their field.
We returned to Penacova and waited for the arrival of busses. Although Jakub caught eleven fish, only one of them was over the limit of seventeen centimetres and that was why he occupied the fifth place again, like in the first period. Mirek reached the hotel and told us he had caught three fish and occupied the fifth place too. After a while, Jindra came; he was fourth with six fish. Only Filip and Štěpánka were left. Unfortunately, Filip did not catch any fish at upper Ceira and, therefore, had the eighth position.
But Štěpánka fought bravely again when she was third with five fish again. French Beaudet and Slovak Gabriel Antal were before her; they had the same amount of fish as Štěpka but a bit bigger ones. After the first day our team was fourth with the sum of placings fifty and we lost six points to the third USA. Slovakia and France broke loose with seventeen and thirty three positions. In the evening meeting, there was hardly any fun but we promised we would fight and try to overcome the Americans in the Thursday competition. We could see that all our competitors were tremendously committed and on fire.
In the morning, Jindra got in the bus as the first one and left for upper Ceira. Then Filip went to lower Ceira and Mirek and Jakub went to Alva. Štěpánka had the Mondego River for this period and that was why she left as the last one. In the evening meeting, we agreed that Milan would be with Štěpánka and I would follow Filip and also see the Frenchman and Slovak who angled in relatively accessible places according to the map. When I reached Filip, he had not scored anything. The banks were rather overgrown everywhere, but Filip was in the section where I could see him a bit. He did not look well because he angled with fever. The section was not good and the Spaniard only caught one fish before him. Filip examined every part of the river but without success. I was looking at him for about fifteen minutes before he disappeared from my sight. I was leaving the river and suddenly saw a rising trout. I gesticulated to Filip where it was and left.
I reached the section of the Frenchman but his position was so overgrown that I could not see water through the bushes, let alone the competitor. Therefore, I decided to go to the Slovak who angled in the first beat directly in the part of the town of Gois. When I reached him in the effort to find out anything, I could see him walking along the water helplessly without any score in the card. Hence I went to see the Irishman and South African who angled below him. The Irishman caught one fish and angled under the trees without any bigger bait. I observed him for a while and then I went to the South African Joshua. My friend Willem from the Cape Town was sitting with him. During our conversation, Joshua struggled through the trees on the bank and he stopped suddenly. He saw a trout, to which he offered his nymph on a short distance and he succeeded.
What followed could only happen to the luckiest of us. When using the landing net, Joshua slipped on the bank and lied down on the landing net with his back. He threw the trout in the air and his feet followed it. It could last for three minutes as the trout was shaking in the air on the hook and just before it would be finished, Joshua managed to get up and landed the trout miraculously. In the meantime, Willem was ripe for a heart attack. Our Filip finally caught one trout and was sixth in the sector. There were three with one fish and Filip had the smallest one again, unfortunately. On the contrary, Joshua, after his brilliant “performance”, had the biggest trout and was fourth.
I return back for Milan to Mondego and I learn there that Štěpánka only caught one trout and occupied the seventh place in the sector. During lunch we learn that Mirek did not catch any fish at upper Alva and was eighth, Jakub caught one fish at lower Alva and was sixth. We also waited for the result of Jindra, who caught three fish at upper Ceira and was second in the sector. His result did not change the fact that after that day when there was only one session, our team fell down to the sixth place and our loss to the third Americans was increased to fourteen points. There was a bleak mood in the evening but the fighting spirit was not lost, fortunately, and everybody was committed to improve the result as much as possible.
Friday morning, Jakub was leaving for his first competition. He selected upper Ceira by lot but in the section where no fish had been caught yet. Just after him, Jindra left for lower Ceira, spot number three, where an Irishman caught three fish on Thursday. Then Štěpánka and Mirek left for Alva. Filip left for Mondego as the last one. Štěpánka bet with Mirek that if she would beat down the Frenchmen, he would have to carry her in his arms and, indeed, she beat both Frenchmen, when she occupied the fourth position in both rounds on Friday. Mirek was first at lower Alva and fourth at upper Ceira. At last, Filip did not have fever and felt better; it was immediately reflected in his performance. In the morning competition at Mondego, we came there to see him and I can tell you that he worked extremely hard. Finally he caught three fish but it was only enough for the sixth position in the sector.
In the afternoon, his efforts brought results when he left all others behind him at upper Alva, where he caught ten eligible fish and achieved a masterful victory there. Jindra excelled at lower Ceira in the morning. During the competition, we came to him from Filip and the sector judge immediately announced to us that our boy had caught a brownie over forty centimetres and added two more fish. In the end, Jindra won this sector with four fish. In the afternoon, he competed at Mondego, but he was not so successful and ranked sixth with three fish.
During the lunch tine, we waited for news from Jakub from upper Ceira. Unfortunately, he repeated the result of all others who angled there before him and with the zero score he was eighth. It was a pity that a fish fell down to him five minutes before the end of period. On the other hand, he cannot be reproached because who would manage to angle for nearly three hours without a fish take and then manage to respond readily. In the afternoon, he was awaited by lower Ceira, where African Joshua angled before him. Milan stayed there to support him. Before the start of competition, nearly hundred fish appeared but five minutes before the fishing, everything stopped and water was dead. Jakub only caught one trout there and, therefore, occupied the seventh position in the sector only.
However, even a bit better performance on the last day was not sufficient for an improvement of the standing and hence our team remained on the sixth position. The French won, the Slovaks were second, the Spanish ended third, the Americans were fourth and the South Africans were fifth. The individual category was won by Letexier from France; Colomo from Spain was second and Gabriel Antal from Slovakia was third. Our best representative was Jindra Kalivoda on the eleventh position. Mirek Bonešický was seventeenth and the only girl in the championship, Štěpánka Marková, was just behind him. Filip and Jakub occupied thirty first and thirty third positions. After the end of the championship, we had to travel to nearby Coimbra, where we waited till the other day for an airplane to Prague.
Even though our result was not too fabulous, I had to state that the commitment of all participants was on the maximum level. According my opinion, they deserved to be a few positions higher but simply they were not lucky. Hopefully, Lady Luck will be more favourable during the next championship in our country and we want to prepare the best conditions for everybody to achieve that.
A month after returning from Portugal, we received very said news. Just when I was marking out the competition sections on the Sázava River at Stvořidla, a friend of mine called me and said that our captain Milan Janus had died suddenly. A great friend and angler, who contributed tremendously to the success of our sport, left us. Therefore, in conclusion I would like to thank everybody once more and say goodbye to Milan – we keep thinking about you...