By Luboš Roza
After about a 14-hour long flight, we landed in Denver where we rented a car and travelled to Vail, a skiing resort located about 2,500 m above sea level, where our fried Kristen and her husband Tom were waiting for us. They have a holiday house here and they provided us asylum for the two weeks of our preparation.
The sun and a great view surprised us on the morning and this in fact remained for the entire length of our stay. There was almost no rain, except only one day and one night and this was very little. We firstly met water on the Eagle River. A medium-size river could be compared to the Otava River in our country. We took our things, put on goratex waders by Agama and I could see only the backs of the other guys. Thus, I am going down the parking place and I choose slow water, where I can try cling and ding fishing. I see first few raises and then it starts getting tough as the fish are going to eat me. Before I get ready, they are eating a lot on the surface. Sobering up came after a few casts. Fish are eating everything and everywhere, but they are not interested only in the place, where my fly is. I start using the best of the best flies with the idea that I must get to know what they are eating and then I will show them. I catch a few smaller fish, but compared to what kind of party there is I am quite bored. I apologize it by saying – they are white fish really difficult to be caught with a dry fly. Unfortunately, later I had to confess to myself that this was a lame excuse. But this was later.
Another river was the Blue river. This river substituted the lake competition on the Fillon Reservoir. Everyone is happy for that, but later I was not too happy, but I am jumping too much ahead. The training session in a very short section is surprising for me at first, but it is enough. First casts into the stream and immediately there is a brownie of about 40cm. This way is going well and the fish are not picky and in fact they accept all flies which we are offering them. Beautiful fishing, great nature. It is a pity that this section is enough only for the morning. But generally said, my feeling from this river is good, thus meaning without worries. Better fish around 50 cm are supposed to be fished in this sector. This was finally confirmed.
Fishing in Colorado is not about so many fish like on other rivers, but we are lucky as there is no rain and thus we are fishing in relatively clear water. There is lower water flow and also wading is easier. We can also fish in such rivers which are not completely crystal clear and in principle this confirmed the competition itself. With the help of Kirsten and on the last training days we are able to get to the private lands of local ranchers and there we are fishing just below and just over the competition sector, which is really good. Moreover, the local guy took us on the raft to view the competition sector which was really good, because we knew places which we do not want to get. Somewhere, it was impossible to wade the river, so it meant the river competition and somewhere it was easy to wade across, thus two banks and this was a great advantage. Many smaller fish can be caught along the bank and the rest of bigger ones in the river. Also nothing difficult, classic nymphing as we know it, sometimes dry and sometimes with a streamer.
Those two weeks were so various, we were changing competition rivers again and again, other teams were joining as every year and finally all was totally over. The most difficult and the most worrying for us was the Eagle, where none of us was much sure and the same looked like during the competition.
I think it is high time to get to the competition itself. This started in Colorado for me. The knowledge of bad places is a great disadvantage, because the man is stressed and waiting not to be read to get off. Luckily, they told me quickly as I have beat number 21 and I know that this is a good place, where it is possible to wade. To my surprise Kristen welcomes me here as she is the controller here and we laugh a lot. Moreover, this beat is very nice and I am not stressed. Our coach, Tomáš Starýchfojtů, is always staying on the Colorado and helps me with the rod preparation, because to prepare 5 rods in 30 minutes is not possible when you are not dressed yet. I start at the lower border of my beat with a cling and ding method to fish on the starting bank. In a while we have 2 fish with a Orange Tag Nymph size 16 and 3 mm tungsten beads work well. A break for a while, but we stay calm, because I have some fish and nothing falls off, I am adding a rainbow trout over 40 cm and some brownies. Altogether, I have about 5 fish, one took directly the floating fly, when I was on the upper border. I take the nymph and walk down the river. One trout falls off the hook, but nothing after. Nothing, nothing and nothing … This moment little scares me, the beat is nice, depth and stream ideal and I am expecting a great performance. I get into quite deep and slower water and I take a steamer to filter the slower end of my beat. After a while strike and the fish is there, it takes long and is heavy, but this strange fight is saying something to me. I am landing a rainbow over 40cm on the dropper, but I am rising the net to the surface slowly and I see another rainbow on the bottom fly. A classic move and a double is in the net and both are over 40cm! Thanks Goodness, I did not risk and used fluorocarbon Hanák with diameter 0.22 mm, thus also strong fish remained on the hook. After a few minutes I am adding one more rainbow with streamer again and I am at the end. I have an hour and something left, but the other bank is waiting for me. I take the nymphing rod and wade there. First casts bring another brownie. I do not see other guys going with fish as often as I do and so I am calm. At the oposit bank it is good and I finish with 13 fish and lose two – so nothing dramatic. I guess a good result and finally it is a beautiful second place for me at the start and this is a really good result.
I am moving onto the lake. I get the news that the US team has got great information and they know the best what to do. Also Scots and Fins fish well. From Martin Musil, our manager, who spent the entire championship at the lake, because he could not help so much like here, because he would have to be only at our competitor and could not speak to him, I get the information about places and tactics. Standard lures are for nothing here, so it means natural patterns – brown, green dragonflies, etc. I chose sinking line No. 3, ideal according to the information from all and also from before the championship, natural patterns and tippet line of 0.14 mm on rod No. 6. The first drift brings some fish when we get closer to the boathouse. I have a colleague from Holland on the boat. He also gets two fish, when I already have 5. Other drifts are already closer to the boathouse which brings some fish again, but they are more caught at the left bank. We are getting there and step by step we catch some, but it goes slowly because they also start falling off the hooks and it is not good. All the time, I am watching the American who is doing greatly and I am trying to imitate him, but as we found later this was for nothing. Finally, we found that it had not been the best to drift and fish rainbows, but fish for brook trout at the bottom, which could not have been seen from that distance. It was known in later rounds and Lukáš took the advantage of it when he won in the last round with 31 fish. I finished with 14 rainbows and this was enough for the sixth place! And we did not have the best information. The advantage of home place No. 1: training on the competition lake was impossible!
The third round sent me to the Blue river – beat 11. I do not know what the places look like so it does not matter what beat I have. Moreover, I am not afraid, because we know the river well with our classic fishing. When I get to the beat, I am not so happy. My beat is upstream the weir with a strong stream, holes at the bottom and wading is disaster. Here the fairy tale ends and there is nothing to write about. Three takes in three hours, three fish landed, but one small. Fish must have been there, but I did not get to them. One brown trout under 30 cm was caught at the edge of the stream with a heavy fly 3x4mm. I had a few of the heavy ones ready for such a case. I was ending with two such balls on a leader! But nothing. I used a streamer and caught one large rainbow 50cm long and I finished with this. No matter what I tried and nothing – simply I did not get to these fish. What a pity. Under the weir, the Fin finished first with 14 fish. The competitive fishing carries also risks of wrong beats. I expected it to be worse, but I finished on the 15th place. Unfortunately, in the third round the entire team had a back luck, so we did really badly.
A half a day long break is followed by the third day and in the fourth round I am going to the upper Eagle. I am looking forward to it, because more fish can be caught here and sometimes a rainbow over 80cm can be caught here. The biggest in my round was 85cm long!!! They were stocked there about a month before the championship by local farmers. Well, and I losing my smile again, when I see where I should fish. I am asking the controller who was fishing here before me and what he caught. Advantage of the home place No. 2: all judges rotate after each round not to provide the information to competitors even if they want. The Eagle spilled here, so only gravels look over the water and there is no water. I become panic. After a thorough search I will focus on two “dishes”, where it is possible to fish, but before me, there were three men fishing for 3 hours each, meaning 9 hours on two little holes of the size 5x3 m. Just at the upper border there is about 7 meters of flow before it gets into those gravels. I see some fish there from the road over, but they are not many and moreover, you never catch all what you see! So I started to think what I am going to do. Fish are shy due to clear water and I cannot afford to scare those few fish which remained in those two little holes. I take the rod No. 2, Hanak Superlight 296 (this is a new longer prototype), line No. 2, nylon 0.09 mm and Orange Tag Nymph size 20 with the head tungstens 2.0 and 2.5mm, which I continuously change. I have relatively opened the hook, because it seemed to me that it cannot hook those fish of 40-50cm. The contest starts and I start very slowly too and carefully at the lower edge of the first hole. I am sure that waiting for a take is for nothing and therefore I start fishing with the system cast and try. Thus, I will not wait when the float fly sinks, but I will try to strike without any move. Suddenly, the strike is good and I am getting a rainbow trout over 40 cm. With a thin nylon line and a fish in such a condition, it is clear that we cannot speak about any fight. I am kneeling in water and look like a stone and slowly make the line shorter and shorter, pulling the fish to me. The fish is calm and when it gets closer to me, left hand strikes quickly with the landing net. From the bottom edge of this dish I am getting three quick fish. I am not casting to the inflow, not to scare others and I give them time to change for the second shift to the lower edge of the dish, while I am moving to the second dish. The same situation and again rotation from dish to dish. Finally, the first dish wins over the second one 9:6. And I also supported it with 4 fish from the inflow at the start of the beat and I cannot believe when I am watching the scoring card with 19 fish. The best fishermen could not have fished there, because otherwise I would be only looking into those little holes – this was a great piece of luck! Upstream and downstream they have much less. From the point of view of tactics, it is one of the best rounds I have ever fished. Fish were not falling off the hook due to timely strikes when I did not wait for takes and tactically got fish with fine tackle. Simply I deserved this 3rd place for this round.
For the last round, I am going to the lower Eagle, the nightmare of the Czech team and I know exactly what to do and how to do it! I am getting the beat No. 9, my lucky number. This does not look bad at all, this is not too short and corresponds to the style of fishing which I started in the previous round. There is a piece of island and I do not know what is behind, but upstream of the island it looks nice too, so I do not have to be stressed where to fish, even if there is nothing. Nevertheless, the controller have to see the competitor and he will go to the island and then he comes back. I asked him if he could take my spare rods, which he did not have problems at all with. I started fishing on the starting side of the river near the island. There is one hole divided by a log over water, thus the exact cast is the base for success. Also at the inflow, I catch a rainbow without a take. The rainbow over 40cm. I am adding a brown trout from this hole and in 10 minutes I have 2 fish, great! To get 10 place from this sector, it is enough to catch 4 fish. Then I scratch a trout, only little so let him be, because his time will still come. I am moving to the island, but when the sector judge passes by, my controller is calling at me that he cannot my take rods and I have to take them myself. The advantage of home place No. 3: despite the controller can, but do not have to according to the rules, they tactically do not take rods. Never mind, I have got all I need. Behind the island, there is a strong stream. I think that so tiny fly size 20 will be too little, but I am getting a fish there. Then, I am running for the nymphing rod and I try to plough the bottom, but nothing at all! I am moving to the river spill upstream from the island, where there is water over the knees and there is exactly what I need. I am walking in the middle of the river and fish the area before me. My beat ends with the faster stream, so when I scare the fish upstream, I can fish them in the stream up. Step by step, I add 5 fish, brownie just under 50cm and it is great. Nor a scale had fallen down except that scratched fish which I keep in mind. It is 15 minutes before the end and I have just completed fishing the upper border of my beat. I walk quickly and go to revenge to that “scratched” one. Two casts and it is in the net. Definitely, this 2-hour break was good for him. There are 5 minutes left and I am deciding for one sympathetic place, where I will finish. One minute left says the controller, two casts and again a test strike and the fish is there. With the end of the world championship I am carrying the fish for measuring. Beautiful final! I have 10 fish and I know if I am not mistaken it should be until the third place.
The guys worked well and in the last two rounds and we managed to reduce the big loss. Nevertheless, it was late and on the day 2 we lost the medal and we are finishing on the unpopular 4th place. Those two 3 places got me into the do top ten, which was tight, but I was happy to finish 10th.
One before last paragraph, I would like to devote to the equipment and sponsors who have been helping us. All team was fishing in waders by Agama, which showed high resistance in extreme load. Rods, reels, hooks and complete products were provided by the company Hanak Competition and they showed to be exceptionally good also in overload (rod aftma 2 is not normally suitable for fish in the length of 50cm, even for pro 35cm). Bags Ortlieb (Duffle RS 110 and messenger) were perfect both as a checked-in hand luggage and a checked-in luggage. I took my RS as a bag for fishing, where I completely packed all including landing nets, spare clothing, simply all and I knew when the rain comes I will be dry due to these waterproof bags which are light and they do not increase the weight significantly. By using GoPro cameras I caught some interesting sequences and pictures under water, which you might have seen on videos, which I have already published. Thanks to Honza Vender I was not finally losing flies from the vest, when he equipped us with fly organizers on the vest and a box with sign and picture – really beautiful! Functional wear by Patagonia I like wearing the best; and Airflo flies whose selection I chose exactly for the World Championship and they worked greatly as their good standard is. Great thanks to the Czech Fishing Union and Moravian Fishing Union for sending me to this contest. Thank you really so much to all who helped our team and myself!!!
All in all, the championship was greatly organized, without troubles, without problems and without cheating. Objectively said, it was one of the best organized championship I have ever experienced. The fact that beats were shorter meant that the draw was more important than usually is. Unfortunately, no one can chose the draw, thus we were missing a little drop of luck, but I have to admit that also we were a bit missing knowledge of this different fishing. Also, we made a few tactical mistakes and we had a piece of bad luck. I think that each of us learned a lot and I do not know about the others, but it moved me forward and it showed me how to be more successful and more efficient than before. Next year Slovakia and I hope we will come back to our successes of the past years.
Teams (PDF, 242 kB)
Individuals (PDF, 384 kB)