By Karel Křivanec
As there are only few days left in the year 2012, I would like to try to summarize this year. From my point of view, it seems to me that this can be called as the Czech year as I have already called this article. All started at the FIPS-Mouche General Assembly, which was held on 30 March in the Spanish enclave Melilla (12.3 square kilometres), located on the coast of Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by the Moroccan territory. Although FIPS-Mou has got 32 member countries, in Melilla there were only 7 (plus three proxies) present. From four members of Presidential Board, only the President Paul Vekemans was present and he was chairing this strange meeting.
The main point of this meeting was punishment of Czechs who were complaining about strange practices at the World Championship in Italy. Proposal for revenge in the form of two-year disqualification of Czech competitors from all FIPS-Mou championships was rejected, but the signatory to this complaint letter, Martin Musil (President of Czech National FF Committee), was disqualified from official Czech participation at FIPS-Mou events. I could show here many arguments, but I do not want to reopen this Italian problem which was mainly the FIPS-Mou problem.
Paul Vekemans then came with the proposal for change in FIPS-Mou Rules again, concerning long French leaders and strike indicators. Even this time no decision was made, but FIPS-Mou solved this problem in its own way and pushed forward their modification into Rule Modifications in all three championships for this year. This did not have any effect on any results of these events, because practically the same teams won again, and thus I have to call the Presidential Board as a group of conservatives who does not like new trends in fly fishing and they would like to fish with a dry fly only.
As we can see, they are incorrigible and they do not understand that when fish is rising, then there is a dry fly in turn. You cannot order it by rules and furthermore this cannot be also much checked. I would like to remind you of the Youth World Championship in Italy 2011, where the Americans won the dry fly contest by drawing Floating Blobs and large floating Tchernobyl Ants on the surface. This was not really a dry fly, but very efficient use of Rule Modifications, for which they deserved my admiration. I assume that competitors should be limited by absurd rules as little as possible. Unfortunately, I am afraid that at the next General Assembly, at the end of April 2013 in Lisbon, the same song will be heard from the top. This session will be election one, but with the highest probability there will be royal castling and old officials will remain on their positions again.
But now back to the sport. First event of this year was the European championship in Portugal, where there were worries of low and sometimes only random catches. This was reflected in participation of only 12 teams including also 2 home teams. Despite this unusually low number of competitors, however, none of favourites was missing. It is necessary to note that all worries proved to be wrong and the catches of brown trout in May were nice.
The Czech team was doing very well, even if finally the Spanish team won, as they were fishing in almost domestic conditions. It was very surprising that Italians managed to beat the French team and moved them along with the Team of Portugal 2 to the fifth place. Poland was sixth and the seventh place was for Portugal 1, where international judges were checking. Czech competitor Martin Drož (CZ) was ruling the individual competition, when he managed to win his sector four times, and maybe if the judge did not shorten his beat on the Ciera River, where he finished third, he might have won five sectors. Martin, who qualified to the team at the last moment after last year´s serious accident on the snowmobile, was really happy from the European trophy and he showed that he still must be considered.
Mainly nymphs and silver tungsten beads were the best in Portugal this year, even if the wet and dry could have been used according to the situation on the spot. The silver medal won the Italian competitor and last year´s World Champion Valerio Santi Amanti and the third was David Garcia from Spain. The Spanish team had this time 4 competitors among the first ten and this decided about their victory (by 9 placings). French were without medal as well as in individuals even if they had two competitors among the first ten.
Big Czech expectations were focused on this year´s World Championship in Slovenia, in which a record number of 26 teams participated. Montenegro is not a member of the International Fly Fishing Federation and thus they had no right to participate, they did. But such details FIPS-Mou does not see. Local speciality was fishing with only one fly, what was reflected in the Rule Modifications, but even this did not help home competitors, because they were checked by international supervisors and no strange results appeared. We can say that this championship was a kind of revenge for the last World Championship in Italy.
The Czech team met several changes, where currently the best competitor Roman Heimlich was missing as he got seriously injured during skiing and this opened the door for Antonín (Tony) Pešek. The coach managed to persuade another key competitor Tomáš Adam who wanted to take a break this year. Furthermore, there was a double youth world champion and European champion from Spain 2010 Luboš Roza, last year´s European Champion Ivan Vančura and a newbie in the team was Tomáš Cieslar.
While the river sectors were good, the problem was the lake, where small boats were used and where only one competitor and a rower – judge were. Besides the stocked rainbows, also native chubs were caught and sometimes also other fish species which were also eligible. In the first session, Tony caught there 3 rainbows which meant the third place in the sector and in the afternoon Luboš won with 2 chubs and four rainbows. He was fishing with a sinking line #5 and a Black Lure with an orange head, and he caught majority of fish with a long “hang”. In the third round Tomáš Cieslar caught three rainbows and he finished fifth and bad luck came in the fourth session, when Ivan lost the only rainbow during the “hang” at the boat and thus he got 26 penalty points. And finally in the last round Tomáš Adam caught a very important rainbow with the first cast and he was finally on the ninth place with two fish.
As it has been said, Czechs were doing well in rivers and from the second round they took the lead and the difference was getting higher and higher. The problems were only on the river Kokra, but the Czech team did not meet any, while almost all other teams as well as some great competitors were sometimes blank there. The Czech draw was not ideal, but also not very bad one and this was enough for the team competition. Besides the previously mentioned Luboš´s victory on the lake, Tony Pešek won his sector on the river as well as in the third round on the Kokra River and Ivan Vančura won the sector on the Sava in the fifth session. Concerning flies, small nymphs on a jig hook # 16 with the biggest tungsten bead as possible worked the best and the colours were not decisive.
After the first round, the Czech team was sixth, but won the second round, in the third was second, and the fourth and fifth won again and thus after the end of the competition the sum of placings was 183, while the second Italy had the sum of 220, which was a great victory. The third Spain had the sum of 235, fourth France 238 (without medal again) and the fifth finished Slovaks (258) who had the same sum as Belgians on the sixth place. Slovaks had greater chance and maybe they had a chance for the medal, but three times blank scoring cards on the lake sent them down the ladder. The surprise was the seventh place for England (273) who was changing worse results with excellent ones, probably according to the drawn place. And ambitious Slovenians had to be satisfied with the eight place (287) which reflected their real performance.
In the individual competition, a young Spanish guy David Arcay became an unexpected World Champion as he had the sum of placings 12 for 93 fish. As the second finished last year´s World Championship Valerio Santi Amanti (91 fish). Both are excellent competitors, but their lead from other competitors shows that a piece of luck at the draw was on their side. On the bronze place finished finally Tomáš Adam from the Czech Republic with the sum of placings 23 for 87 fish, fourth was Howard Croston from England (26/71), fifth Antonín Pešek (28/67) and the sixth was Norman Maktima from the USA (30/70). Luboš Roza was the ninth.
This year´s spring was very favourable for Czech colours and then we were waiting how our youth will finish in July in France in the competition of 11 countries. Unfortunately, there was an unexpected problem with catches. Even if 55 competitors caught 938 fish and from the lake Charpal there were 495 catches (52.8%) and on the other hand in 4 river sectors only 443 fish (47.2 %) were caught. If there were not a curious fishing of rudd and perch from boat on the lake Charpal, then youth would not catch many fish and this was the biggest disappointment from this historically first French youth championship.
The sector One on the upper stream of the Lot River provided only 81 catches, which was 16.2 pieces per session. Out of 55 competitors, 27 competitors remained blank (49.1 %). On the lower section of the river (sector II), 223 fish were caught, which meant 44.6 pcs per session and only 7 competitors were blank (12.7 %). The smallest catch was on the Colagne River (sector III), where only 31 fish were caught, which was the average of 6.2 pieces on average per session. 31 competitors remained blank (56.4 %). In the sector V, on the Allier River 108 fish were caught, which was 21.6 pcs on average per session and 17 competitors were blank (30.9%). From the aforementioned numbers is clear that sectors I and III should not have been used for such an event at all.
The final victory of the team of the Czech Republic was clear, as the sum of its placings was 109. On the second place finished the team from the USA with a sum of placings 134 and the third was the French team with the sum of 138. Czech youth won in the first round, they were fifth in the second, third in the third round and in two last rounds they were always second. The US team was second in the first and second round, they won the third and fourth round, but in the fifth round they finished last. The French team started with the eight place, won the second, finished eighth in the third round, fourth in the fourth and won the last round. The paradox of this championship was the victory of Martin Musil Jr., who pleasantly “revenged” father´s two-year disqualification for participation at FIPS-Mou events. Also the second individual was the son of famous Czech father – Lukáš Starýchfojtů and on the bronze place finished Austen Randecker from the USA.
From this year´s results is clear that the Czechs are more and more getting to the dream goal which is the first place in the chart of medals of teams at the World Championship, where they are missing only four points and in the number of gold medals they have already got ahead of currently first France. In three other “categories” they are already on the first place (Youth, European and total sum of medals). However, there is still something to fight for, not matter if this is a victory in the historical medal chart of individuals which is led by Pascal Cognard, or a “Golden Hattrick”, which no country has managed to win (gold medal for teams from the World Championship, European Championship and Youth World Championship in one season), even if this year the Czech teams were really close.