The XXVIIth World Championship in flyfishing took place this time in the Finnish part of Lapland between 13th – 19th June under participation of competitors from 23 countries. Czech national team was defending last year´s success from Portugal, where the Czechs won the gold in teams and gold and bronze individual medals. This year´s Czech team consisted of Antonín Pešek, Martin Drož, Tomáš Starýchfojtů, Jaromír (Jája) Šram and a new member Tomáš Adam, captain was Jiří Klíma and team manager Martin Musil.
On Wednesday 6th June at about 6 p.m. we landed at a small airport in Kemi, where our guide Kristian Matila was already waiting for us. After picking up two cars we drove to about 60 km distant village called Alaniemi, where we were accommodated in two small cottages just on the bank of the Simojoki river. There we spent all seven days of our preparation before the championship opening.
We were located just under the Polar circle and we were not used to polar days, which took all twenty-foour hours and at the beginning we were woken up from sleep after exhausting and demanding all-day work. Within few days we started gettting used to it and then the polar days were a pleasant experience for us, as during “night“ fall of temperature millions of present mosquitoes stopped bothering us.
The next day in the morning we eagerly set out for the first training on the upper part of the Simojoki, downstream of the competition venue I. After about 70 km of drive and several kilometers of little maintained road, Kristian took us to a very nice about 200 m long stretch, where we started to get to know the character of the river and face of this relatively large river. With respect to the flat like nature of the river and completely unregulated river bed it looked like the Czech low-land water courses.
Very slowly running and deep river was spreading into long pool-lakes, so characteristic for Scandinavia. Only occasional streams were located in the stony breaks and these places were often several kilometers from each other. Each such a streamy place was the focus of our search for graylings and trouts. Kristian was assuring us that with respect to the permanently high flow of water (50-60 cm above normal) grayling fishing will be nothing easy.
Our guys “jumped“ into water and selected the long and deep stream, which was a kind of outflow from the shallow stretch into large and slowly flowing deep pool. As I was watching them, every moment there was such a small fish on the line, which, however, did not remind me of either grayling or trout – thus these were bleaks and roaches. After less then an hour of classic short nymphing Jirka announced the first grayling of about 25 cm. The beginning was a kind of disappointment, but we did not panic, this often happens at the unknown water.
I came to the upper part of this stream and I chose a very nice narrow stream, which might have been occupied by a number of graylings. Crystal clear water was of a peat-like brown colour reminding water of the upper Vltava in our country. Several takes on various goldheads and Bobeshes brought only bleaks and from time to time a roach as well. Something seemed to me to be abnormal and strange. Where were those large shoals of wild graylings and trouts?
After an hour of pure fishing in the middle of this stream I caught in the deep and fast stream the first Finnish grayling, which was about 27 cm long. During short playing with the fish he suddenly disappeared from my sight and there was something heavy. I thought some droppers had been caught at the bottom, but to my surprise when not far from me a body of a beautifully coloured a meter-long, torpedo-like pike shot up from the bottom.
After about a minute long game, I managed to get the grayling from the mouth of this predator, but I was not able to rescue it. I took it out of water, completely ripped and without any skin. I used this situation and I watched the digestion system of this dead fish. Majority of stomach was filled up with tiny nymphs and olive duns. However, there were two about three-centimeter long damsel larvae and one large earth-born beatle, reminding a small maybug.
The first training half-a-day in this place we finished a bit disappointed and each of us caught 3-4 graylings of various sizes, the largest of about 35 cm. Therefore for the afternoon training we drove about 40 km down the stream, where in another stream-like stretch around the road bridge we did not fish better.
The following days brought more security and clarified our ideas, how and what we will fish in the competition itself. We found out that the best option will always be proper nymphing of all venue. Flies we selected according to the nature of the river and in practically all scale, the difference was only in size of tungsten beads on the heads of the nymphs thus in their weight.
As the best pattern after a longer preparation seemed to be a gold-head and silver-head hare´s ear with a significant pink ribbing thread furnished with a collar from the darker gloss flash (Hends), further Golhead Pheasant Tails with a significantly violet pink collar or orange tungsten head. This set was furnished with a significant Bobesh on the upper dropper.
The takes were mostly honest and graylings had our flies deep in the mouth. The fact that the number of caught fish was very low compared to our experience, however, this was very disappointing. When we were trying to find out how successfull other teams are, we found out that they are not in a better situation, but their results are even worse.
According to the accessible information the venues on the Simojoki were stocked with about 500 pcs of brown trouts over 40 cm, that would be about 125 brownies per venue. Even if these fish were also caught in the competition itself it was not of a high importance. Almost everybody was nymphing at the end and if such a brownie was caught it was caught in the same way as the grayling.
The second and more important uncertainty for us was a beat of greylings. Once they were at the typical threshold, in other such a place there was not a little fish and on the other hand graylings were in the deep and fast stream with half-a-meter high waves. When we have almost came to the conclusion that such deepest and the strongest streams will be the best, in another practice venue in these places we did not catch anything and fish were in places where there was only up to knees of water.
The only guideline for us could be the reply for the question, how pike can get to the fish. Where there was rarely its territory and where it was difficult to get to the fish, there we could catch some graylings.
There was another certainty that if one grayling was caught in the place, it was important to fish this 2-3 m long place very carefully, because there were mainly the other ones. In this way one could get 3- 4 greylings from one small “tray“ somewhere in the middle of several hundred meters long beat. The problem was to find such a place and not to miss it. Always it looked differently.
With continuously reducing water in some shallower streams even several fish could be caught on large dry CDC Sedges in sizes between 10 - 14. It was clear that if water drops even more than it will be necessary not to forget dry Sedges in some nice shallower beats, as the surface activity of fish will rise with lowering level of water.
Concerning the preparation for the only one lake contest, we had to wait for two official training days. Competition lake, was closed for unofficial trainings and another one was not possible to reach for us. On the lake the stocked rainbow trout should have occurred from 95% in sizes of about 45 cm and even brown trout, grayling, arctic charr and gwyniat should have been eligible species. Neither of these fish was significant, except about five randomly caught brownies.
After real six-day preparation we were transfered to Kemi on 13 June in the morning hours, where we were accommodated in the official hotel Cumulus. In the afternoon we, Jiri Klima and I, participated in the first captain meeting, where only technical matters of both official boat practice on lake Veitsiluoto were discussed. The late afternoon offficial opening ceremony of the World Championship was made as usually.
Two following days of the official pacticing we decided not to fish in the river, but to spend the time on the lake only. About ten days prior to the championship about 1050 rainbow trouts were stocked here and these were over 1 kg and for the pracice only about a half of the water area was open. Each team got one boat at dispposal and at most three persons could be sent for this training.
Guys have tried classic patterns of various lures, classic lake patterns of wet flies and midge pupae. Of course, they were trying various types of lines from floating through intermediate to fast sinking ones. The result were three caught rainbows and several unsuccessful strikes in three hours of hard practice. Each had one catch and each used something different to catch it. Thus, it was not any strike of clever mind and sure choice. Other teams on the boats had the similar experience or their situation was even worse and then we were more than confused from this first training.
The second day other three went training on the boat, but their attempts to find a sure fly or method were completely wasted even after other three hours. They did not manage to catch any fish, except Tomas´ rainbow hooked on the back.
This completed our preparation and in the late afternoon Jirka planned the last meeting, where the tactics and techniques of fishing were set and used flies for the beginning of the competition. In the evening there was, of course, one of the most important events of the championship, and this was the second Captain´s meeting, where the draw was made and the cards for this championship were shuffled…
After a complete study of drawn lots and rotations we could say with a little relief that the drawn was not so bad at this time. This opinion always results from the fact who from the skilled teams will fish before us on our beats. Of course, it is different to fish in the afternnon after the Frenchman than e.g. after the Japanese.
At our last meeting prior to the contest we decided that I would manage the lake. It was necessary to “keep the eyes open“ and watch where most of the fish were caught and which ways are used and especially after completing the round to pass the found experience to another competitor. Jiri Klima would travel along the river beats and according to the development of the situation will help the guys in their beats and psychological support, which prooved as the key one during the extreme moments, where we were fighting to reach fish.
Martin Droz started the first competition on the lake. Evening before the competition I gave him several large white gold-head lures with yellow-green collar. The result was to use the technique, which the guys saw in the second practice day, thus catching several fish for large and heavy white lure.
Boats were released on water 15 minutes before the beginning of the first session to allow them to get to the selected stand. As it has shown up, all new went well about the activity of fish and they were trying to reach their boats from the second bank as fast as possible at the best places.
The boat with the Finnish man started in a seemingly longer way, as it was sailing against the very strong wind along the left bank outside the wind. The other have started across the lake and this all have slowed them down significantly. Furthermore, the Finnish fisherman had the most experienced and the strongest rowing man at first sight in the boat and he was on the other side by 5 minutes faster than all other boats. They could choose the position as the first ones in the right corner of the reservoir, approximately 200-300 m from the place, where the majority of the crews started.
The competition started with very fast catches of rainbow trouts and it was seen, that they are really fresh and inexperienced fish, which were up to 20-30 m from the bank. Their size was between 40-50 cm, thus these were very strong and powerful fish. I was watching that Finn, who was fishing with a slow intermediate and two flies. At the end he had one heavy fly in a completely natural colour and over this there was an orange lure as an attractor. During first 20 minutes he caught 4 pieces and he lost couple of fish. Across the lake I saw that Martin also was playing with a fish, but surely there were not as many as the Finn had.
Therefore I decided to walk along the whole upper corner and notify Martin of the opposite corner, where the fish were probably stocked. The Finn surely knew about it and therefore he was fishing there from the beginning and in reality he did not move from there. On the way the boat with the Belgium and French fishermen was fishing well. The difference was only that the Belgian got the fish into his landing net, but Mr. Marquet from France lost couple of fish when he was trying to get them into the net.
As soon as I got to Martin, he non-verbally showed me two fish and one lost. It was nothing serious and there were many such results in this phase. I have indicated him how and what are the fish caught for and especially, how the Finn is fishing. Here I have to say, that I appreciate his fast decision. He did not try any other attempts and on the upper tip he attached the Orange Blob, heavy white gold-head lure was at the bottom and his boatsman and judge immediately sent to the left corner of the lake about 70 m from the boat with the Finn.
This fast decision proved to be decisive for his placing in the first period. He came there as the second, he found at what depth, how far (or near more or less) the fish are from the bank, at what speed and style the flies need to be retriven and then it was only the still water concert, which nobody of other competitors managed to react.
These large rainbow trouts he was fishing for all the remaining part of the competition and with fluorcarbon leader of diameter 0.20 mm he was getting the fish out of water very fast, thus he did not have any problems with losing fish, as majority of these fresh rainbow trouts had the flies deep in the mouth. Majority of the fish were caught on the lower heavy white lure, which was moving similarly like the twister and practically was jumping on the bottom. The upper Orange Blob worked as the attractor for the fish, which they reliably took and after that in calm they honestly swallowed the lower fly.
When approximately in the middle of the competition of fishing all was found out, who there is and who is fishing one fish after another, we were trying to obtain detail information with a binocular. Martin was standing approx. 25 m from the bank in his boat, he was casting under the bush branches to the very near edge and it was so experienced that none of those was watching him, could not find out which fly is so sucessful.
Especially, English captain Ian Greenwood was talking well about the Martin´s performance and he was shaking his head in surprise. Neither his attempts to find out which fly is good with the binoculars were successful, as Martin is such an experienced competitor, that each release of the hook was done inside the boat in order, the leader did not get over its edge.
One hour before the end I knew that nothing may cause that our competitor will lose the vicotry in the session. Finally, he finished with 21 fish definitely first, 2nd Finn was 7 fish behind. The good result was also for his co-fisherman in the boat. The Dutchman Schmidt was very satisfied after the competition and with starring smile he was saying, what an experience it was for him. With nine fish he finished on the 8th place, which was very good in the group of 23 competitors.
But what was the situation in the river sectors? Jája with an excellent performance caught 14 graylings in the venue I and he was the 2nd . He was after the French Lelouvier, who managed to get 20 fish into his scoring card. Tony Pesek in the second sector was on the 4th place with 5 fish after a standard and reliable performance.
Venue I was according to our assumptions the best, venue II was much worse, well and venues III and IV down to the sea was a complete lotery, thus all wished much to have at least one eligible fish in the beat. Immediately at the beginning Tomas Starychfojtu and Tomas Adam had a bad luck. Both of them did not manage to pray for such a “gold“ fish and finished with the unpleasant “blank“ scoring card.
Tomas Adam had in the venue III completely 3 m deep hole, where he had to swim several times, but whatever he did, he simply did not catch any fish. Tomas Starychfojtu got in the venue IV a very nice place with several streams. However, these were too short and too near from the sea, thus there were many pikes. For five competition rounds in each of these places only 1 eligible grayling was caught. Such a beginning does not normally help, because now it will be quite difficult to get to any better placing in the complete individual competition.
After preliminary round there was the team of France on the fist place (placings 32), just behind them surprisingly competitors from South Africa (33), 3rd the team of Finland (39) and we started on the 7th place (51) which were of course because of these two blanks, before us there were also teams of Portugal, England and Belgium.
In this first period 34 competitors out of 112 remained blank, which represents practically 1/3 of participating competitors. Bad luck had the guys from Slovakia as well, who spent so much time when preparing for the championship and they spent much money on that as well. Three of them did not manage to catch even an eligible fish in the first round. As well as our team two blank fishermen were from Italy, Poland, Ireland and other teams. Well, just it started horribly and this was not the end at all…
In the afternoon the 2nd round started after transfers between the venues and lunches in the restaurants in some cases later. Tomas Starychfojtu, of course very disappointed after previous blank, arrived on the lake. I was trying to make him cheerful and calm him down, as I had known the results after the first round.
Despite Tomas is a big fighter and his experience is great, he did not manage to concentrate fully at that moment on the lake championhip and even if I passed him all information and exactly described how and where the fish are caught, he showed only the average performance, when he finished with 3 catches on the 10th place in his group.
In this round already less fish were caught in the lake and therefore Jordi Oliveras from Spain won with seven catches. But what the rule is, if there are few fish caught, not only each caught fish is decisive, but also each centimeter is important and Tomas unfortunately had the bad luck that from three competitors with three fish, he had the smallest ones.
The draw appointed the Frenchman Daguillanes to the boat, which looked very advantageous. The young Frenchman respected Tom´s long-term experience and he also knew well that in the morning the Czech had won here and he willingly accepted that Tomas will be the Captain in the first half of the competition. Their boat arrived according to the agreement to the opposite left corner of the reservoir and others were along the whole bend as in the morning with the only exception that all were moved more towards the bank. The boats were sailing near to the banks, the fish were more disturbed and also there were not many of them uninjured from hooks and the flies seemed quite familiar to them.
Despite the fact that Tomas started with the morning respectable patterns, then he did not manage to calm himself down in the first part of the competition with the strike and eligible fish. Majority of others have already caught something, including his rival in the boat. Tomas probably stopped trusting agreed tactics and probably he was nervous of a large number of boats in this corner and therefore he set out to the right corner of the lake. The significant change was also stronger northern wind, which exactly copied that bank. Tom´s boat starting drifting with a drag in the distance between 15-20 m from the bank.
This was very nice and both had strikes, but he caught a fish for each drift. Tomas equalized score to 3 : 3 and then he lost a very nice rainbow trout in the waves while trying to get it out of water. With passing time the sun set behind the trees and there were less and less takes on the lake and therefore it was difficult to catch the loss from the first hour. The young Frenchman caught the fourth rainbown trout at the end and he was three places higher than Tomas.
Tom might have stayed a bit longer time in the leeward side on the calm surface. For example the most famous of the Dutchmen Arr Ritmeester stayed there practically all the competition and with the same tactics he managed to catch five fish and finished on the excellent 4th place. And I saw at least 5 large fish which he lost due to his style of playing fish…
Other guys managed the afternoon round on the river in an excellent way. Tony Pesek in the most difficult venue IV caught 3 fish in an excellent performance and he finished on the 3rd place. Tomas Adam was supported and calmed down after the morning round by the Captain Jiri Klíma. Tomas had the beginning of the short stream in venue I on beat number 15. Two thirds of the competition he was blank and he fished almost all nice places in this not even 20 m long stream at the end of his almost 200-meter long beat. The rest of Tom´s place was created by deep oil-like water and inflow into the above mentioned stream.
Slowly he started to panic, but Jirka calmed him down and patiently made him sure that by the end of the period there is time enough and surely he will catch a fish. Tomas left the last half-an-hour for the last shallow about a four-meter-long stream at the opposite bank and he got seven eligible graylings in the way he used for the whole previous part of the competition.
As it confirmed again, he found the only correct place on the whole streamy beat, where the shoal of graylings was, where always hungry pikes could not get. Finaly, it was a good 4th place in the venue and affirmation that it will not be so bad and our methods work – the only problem is to find these fish if they are there…
Jája Sram kept the good standard with three fish a nice 7th place in the venue II. Deep and slow stream did not give anything when fishing from the bank. Jája was desperately thinking what to do. Even his judge was saying there is no chance, as the competitor in the morning did not see any fish here. Jája waded as far as it was possible and then the trod on a boulder, which he managed to get on, and he was about 80 cm higher then he was up to breasts in the strong stream.
He put there the heaviest flies with 4 mm tungsten beads and casted the nymphs as far as possible and followed their wet fishing at the opposite bank, where it was not possible to get in this beat. Three times the fly fishing line got heavy in the hand and he caught three eligible graylings. This performance he considered for the absolute maximum of that he has ever managed, even if with a big piece of luck that he found the boulder…
On the other hand in the venue III Martin did not fish well and he was already getting used to the unpleasant blank card after the excellent morning performance on the lake, which was later also mentioned in the local newspaper. When not the whole 5 minutes before the end of the session on the bottom Goldhed Hare´s Ear he used had a grayling which brought him 12th place in the group.
Performance of all of our competitors in this afternoon 2nd round brought a nice and hopeful 4th place for the Czech team (placing 87), with not a large loss for the teams before us. 1. Finland (72), 2. France (75), 3. England (78). but behind us there were surprisignly teams of Australia and South Africa pushing on us, but I told myself that this cannot last till the end.
Third round was the only one that day, as for the afternoon was planned free time for all the groups. On the lake started Tony Pesek, who told in the evening that on the lake he needs strictly given tactics and he would like to keep it in order he does not have to think about any unproved methods. He was on the boat with Miro Antal from Slovakia and both agreed that the boat will be managed by Tonda in the first half.
All boats sailed to the opposite bank again and ordered from left to the right alongside the whole northern bank of the lake. There were less fish and takes compared to the yesterday. However, techniques and ways of fishing near the bank, were the same and completely the most successful. It was only necessary to find the rests of unhooked fish.
While Tony was relatively struggling, Miro had two caught rainbow trouts after about an hour and he lost a nice one. He was angling with the fast intermediate and with sinking line III and as the most sucessful was relatively large end streamer in natural light modification as a bullhead.
Although Tony was trying very similar patterns, he was not very lucky that day to meet the fish. Nevertheless he stayed with proved patterns and finally it brought him three really nice rainbow trouts and three more lost ones, which finally brought him a nice 7th place. In the last 40 minutes they started drifting too much along the right bank and they were sailing into such a canal, where the border of the competitive part of the lake was, where a large shallow bay, which was not a part of the venue, was connected.
When the guys found the fish here as the first ones, they had takes for almost every cast. The only problem was that by the end there was enough time and getting such a larger fish takes some time. Each of them had to wait as a gentleman until the second got the fish into the net. This took about 20 minutes and both guys were changing at playing nice rainbow trouts. Of course this could not slip out of the attention of several other boats with experienced “still water fishermen“. They went just behind our guys and they followed them in these not too long drifts.
As more boats got here, then the fish were caught more quickly and were frightened and returned into the prohibitted bay. It was pitty that the guys did not find this place a bit earlier and that Tony did not get out of water all hooked fish. All good takes he had on my large goldhead white lure with a green collar again.
Other boys fished well in this 3rd round again and none of the team was blank. Tomas Adam was as OK as before and in venue II with his 4 fish he “made“ a nice 4th place. Jaja kept a high standard and with 2 fish in the venue III he arranged a very nice 6th place. Tomas Starychfojtu arrived very satisfied from venue I, where he managed on not a very nice place to get 3 graylings and these according to all the calculations had attributed him the 6th place in the venue. Only Martin arrived very frustrated from venue IV, where he managed on a 38 steps (!) long beat to pray for 1 grayling. He had a fish and this was important even if it was the 15th place for him.
We were really satisfied with the performance of the team after this round, thus we decided with Jiri not to solve the problem with a very short beat in Martin´s III. round, as it has shown the captains of several other teams wanted to point out at this situation.
At the afternoon´s Captain´s meeting we were awareof the fact that the morning 3rd round had to help in total results to see the dreamt medals. In this round the Englishmen had to lose a bit, as they unfortunately “managed“ to catch one zero and neither the others fished well. The exception was John Horsey, who was in a really good form and finished in the venue I on an excellent 5th place.
The President of FIPS-MOUCHE James Fergusson started the Captain´s meeting with several information what he would like to deal at this meeting with. I did not understand why he wanted in the middle of the World Championship with the Captains and representatives of various teams deal with problems concerning financing of FIPS-MOUCHE, possibilities of expansion of this Federation to other continents such as Asia, South America and other similar and for this competition insignificant matters.
Finally, there were also the proposals concerning the need of arrangement of international judges at all championships for the home teams, use exceptionally factory made barbless hooks etc. Captains of some teams came with sound claims just against the “length“ of some beats. Despite the competition rules require at least 200 m for the competitor, some beats were shorter than 50m! The main organizer Jouko Keto really apologized for this situation and he gave reasons for this with a difficult accessability of some venues and troubled landscape along the river Simo.
Only very gentleman behaviour of all captains druring solution of such an important problem prevented from the collapse or another course of the World Championship. With understanding we acceptaed the apologies of organizers and we also knew that after three completed rounds it is not possible to change the beats in anyway. Tired after about three-hour long and tiring Captain´s meeting, we left the meeting room and went to our rooms to gain power for the final and decisive day of this championship.
To our big shock immediately after leaving the room Martin Droz and Tomas Starychfojtu were waiting for us and took us to the boards with the posted results for the 3rd round. Tomas was instead of 6th place on the 13th place with one catch. Of course, I was upset. That what was happenning until late night hours would be fine for another long article and therefore I will describe it in short with the final result.
Tomas´s controller on the beat repeatedly before the start of the competition was looking at his “French“ leader, took the photos of it, called, whether he can really fish with that and then let him fish. Tom was fishing as we have trained and after a half of the competition he had 2 fish. Then the sector judge came to his place, who cut off the braided part from his leader, what the Finnish judge wrote down into his scoring card and did not allow Tom to compete with this leader any more.
Tomas had to remake the leader quickly so that he could complete the competition. He arrived to the hotel and we did not think the the trouble of the braided part of the “French“ leader may come to such an end, as some competitors have been competing with such a leader for for 3-4 years at the World and European championships at least.
The main organizer Jouko Keto with the Presidential Board members James Fergusson and Jurek Kowalski were judging, whether this leader complies with the rules or not and then without any problem they decided that it does not and in the course of the competition in the 3rd round they voided Tom´s 2 fish caught until the leader was cut off.
I was persuaded that this cannot finish in the same way, but I was mistaken, as the situation was brought to the boil in several following hours. As a team we were decided to file the official protest against such a interference, but we were not persuaded that we are able to win this dispute.
As a great support in this situation has proved the influence of similarly affected teams. The captain of Norwegian team Cato Nillsen and American captain Anthony Naranja also lost their leaders during the 3th session, even if they did not lose anything as they did not catch any fish by that time. But if there was the agreement with the Norwegian and American captain the gentlemen from the Presidential Board were at least willing to discuss how to solve the arisen matter.
Norwegian captain very assertively warned all World championship management that if such a state prevails his team would not participate in further course of this championship and in the morning they would go home. Such an attitude was a great support for us. If we wanted to do the same, hardly we would explain at home such an attitude. This would mean a big black spot for the whole championship and this would be called as one of the biggest shames in the history of the World Championship.
I am willing to admit that explanation of rules can be different, however this must be clear in advance and not to solve these matters in the course of the championship. It is not possible to fish two rounds in this way and it would be all right and in the middle of the third round that will be decided about illegal leader and voiding already caught fish.
Tomas finally got his two voided fish back and around midnight all results were corrected into the right form. All the matter finally finished so, that the explanation of the rules was specified and the thicker braided part in the middle of the leader and eventually coloured part must not have been thicker than preceeding part of the leader. For the last day we respected the rules and the whole team modified the leaders in the way to keep the rules according to this explanation.
I think this will affect further development and FIPS-MOUCHE management should deal with this matter even with respect to the smooth course of other championship. After this third round we already reached the medal position on the third place (placings 125). On the 1st place there were excellently fishing French (by the way with similarly set leaders) sum of placings 105 and just behind them was the Finnish team (110).
In the individual competition they were also the main leaders. These were from the teams of Finnland and France, but there were still many competitors, who managed to catch some fish. Among them were also Tony Pesek and Jája Sram, who were at the end of the first ten and they could think about attack under good conditions “from the rear position“. Very surprisingly there were two Australians among the first five, who very well managed their river venues and had a great chance for an excellent place.
In the evening we were studying our draw with Jiri. From this resulted that the morning 4th round could really help us, as the boys went to beats were some fish have been caught. Martin went to the venue I to one of the best beats, were all were first or second by then with a number of fish of about 15. We strongly believed that he has to manage it and prove that he can fish perfectly fish in the river.
But the draw for the afternoon round did not look very well. Martin should have gone to the beat, where no fish was caught yet and Jiri decided to spend the last round with him. Another troubled place should have been in the afternoon for Jája as well and it has confirmed completely. Tony had the average places according to the previous results, which were not completely excellent, nevertheless it was not without any fish and this was very impoprtant. Boys believed until the last day that after such horrible night and solving our problems could feel their challenging mood.
Jája started in the morning competition on the lake and he was in the boat with the sympatetic Polish Pjotr Wrobel. They quickly agreed as they were sure that if they cooperate well, they must get over this lake round. At the beginning they risked after agreement. They sailed to the right corner at the dam, where some fish were caught during official trainings. This about twenty-five minutes long attempt did not finish well, even if the Polish lost one fish. However, it was not sure whether it was the rainbow trout, but it could have been pike, who were plenty of them in there.
After this failure there was about ten-minute long sail to the opposite side of the lake, where there were practically all the comepetitors. When I walked around the lake and got to Jája´s boat, the boats had parked in the place, where there were always many fish. Jája showed me two lifted fingers that meant two eligible rainbow trouts and the Polish had one as well. Jája had several strikes within another hour, but he lost all. These hooked fish took the flies very suspiciously. Only the Polish caught one more rainbow and the score in the boat was 2 : 2.
I was watching Maxim Verashak, who was one of the two Australians from the first five, very carefully. Already before contest I had noticed that he had a large olive lure, which probably commemorated large damsel larvae, on the leader, but this could have imitated even small perches, which were here as well. Max had at least 5 rainbows on the rod, but bad luck did not allow him to get any. He was blank on the lake and by this he lost all hope for a great place.
Jája started in the last hour with a large olive lure and he got two really large rainbow trouts, who he was playing for a long time with, but finally none of them finished in the landing net and could not help him for a better place. As I had the overview about the caught fish on the whole lake, I knew that very few fish were finally caught and that there are many competitors with two catches in their cards. Finally, there were six of them from the eight place and Jája´s rainbow trouts were the smallest of all, and on the other hand Wrobel from Poland had two largest. Pjotr finished on the 8th place and Jája was the 13th. Both of them were satisfied, because many competitors finished blank. This lake contest won James Fairgrieve from Sctoland with four fish.
Other news from the boys after morning round did not look really bad. Martin completely perfectly finished at the venue I and with incredible 27 fish in the 4th round (!) and finished 1st in the venue and again the local newspaper wrote about him. The second was Walczyk from Poland, who caught only half of the fish, but this really helped him in the attack for the compete victory in the individual competition.
Also Tony Pesek with a great performance and catch of 6 fish was 2nd in his venue and he had a chance for the medal position in the individual competition. Tomas Starychfojtu has fully proved his complete qualities and with 5 fish he registered 4th place in the venue. And finally Tomas Adam managed his troubled draw with Jiri Klima´s presence and not long time before the end he got an eligible grayling, which was for our team nice 10th position in the venue.
This one round before the last we managed really excellently and with total sum of placings 30 we won it before Italians, who were far behind expectations for all the course of the Championship. We were 10 points better than Finnish who did not avoid one blank and other members of their team did not fish excellently. Their sum of placings 63 sent us immediately to the 2nd place with a nice jump of 18 points. We even got to the direct contact with the excellent French fishermen, who finished on the fifth place with sum of placings of 46.
View at the results before the last round was really nervous and one would shiver. On the 1st place France (151), 2nd Czech Republic (155) and 3rd Finland (173). then the loss of the other teams was even higher. On the 4th place was England (206), followed by Portugal (214), Australia (216), South Africa (223) etc. It was clear that if nothing extraordinary happens, the fight for the team world champion trophy will be among the first three teams.
Individual results have shown Tony Pesek´s progress, who reached the 3rd place. Before him it was only Walczyk from Poland on the 2nd place and still surprisingly first was Jonathan Riley from Australia. He could have confirmed his position in the last round on the lake, which should have been all right. On very good places in the individual competition were both our competitors Jája Sram (15th) and Martin Droz (16th), who were not-yet-blank. And their chances for the position among the first ten were not utopia. However, it was needed to catch some fish in the last round…
For this last and decisive round Tomas Adam, our new man, arrived to the lake. Full of experience from getting one grayling in the last round and very satisfied that the team is on the medal position. On the other hand there was also very unpleasant nervosity, what will happen in the last three hours of the World Championship.
He went to the boat with the nervous Italian Valiere Santi Amantini. As Tomas cannot speak English, I helped him during discussion of their mutual tactics, course and captainship. Both finally agreed and tactics was the same again. Jája left completely all sucessful flies for Tomas including those, which used Wrobel from Poland and including those successful large olive lures.
This competition must have been a complete suffering for Tom with the Italian. There were a few strikes on all the boats. In my opinion it was enough to stay on the same places, not to think about something new and believe in the used flies to the very end. So durable were only Igor Fiacan from Slovakia, Markus Tandefelt from Finland and Lance Egan from USA. All these have recorded 3 pcs on their account and shared the first three places.
This unfortunately did not manage boys on our boat and because they did not have any contact with the fish, they panicked a bit and during Italian captainship they left the agreed tactics and lost the second half by vain sailing and searching for the fish on places, where there was completely nothing.
No matter which tactics they were trying none of them was successful and did not have any strike from any fish and completely frustrated they arrived in the port. Tomas still could not believe that on his favourite lake he was not able to catch any fish. Probably even more shocked was Valerio, who excused to Tom, as he knew that his second half and a bit desperate attempts for changing places and this should not have happened. It really gave me enough effort to calm our competitor down that it is not any tragedy and that even the other teams in this last round will get some blanks and we will keep the medal position.
After getting the first text messages from Jája and Martin I was very disappointed, because both of them reported zeros from their last river beats. Unfortunately, Martin for the second time in this championship was the victim of the bad draw. Even if he was with Jiri Klima he did not manage to catch any eligible fish.
Jája´s text message was a desperate one on one side, but also funny on the other side and both Tom and I smiled on the bus on the way back. I would like to quote it: “I ´m blank and do not want to live! Don´t wait for me as I´m going to the forest to be eaten by the bear!“ After three zeros even I started to lose the hope that we would manage to get even the bronze medal.
On my way from the lake on the bus I found from the French captain that his team does not probably have any blank. It was completely clear that French will deserve to get the trophy in the team competition. I did not believe to be able to keep the final second place, but somewhere deep in the soul I persuaded myself as well as Tomas Adam that the teams after us do not fish without blanks. According to my calculations it would be enough when this team will be blank at least once and our remaining boys will catch some fish.
At the hotel we were the first as the journey from the lake was the shortest and therefore we went to the neighbouring Mexican restaurant for deserved sips of cold beer and we were waiting for other information. The first one who appeared in the same restaurant was the English captain and he started to congratulate us on the medal in the team competition. I was assuring him that he is probably mistaken as we have three zeros and we do not have any information about two other competitors yet. However, he told me he has the information from the river venues that both Tomas and Tony have caught the fish and the English team has three zeros as well.
I was more careful and we winked with Tom at each other. Now we were only interested whether the Portugeese had also at least one zero and then I learned that this also happened. Now I was practically sure that for the bonze it must be enough. We were already put up with the fact that the Finnish team will jump over us here in Scandinavia for the third time and this did not spoil our joy.
And then again we got the message that Tony Pesek in his last round has shown again that currently he is one of the most universal flyfishermen in the world when with 5 fish he got really excellent 5th place in the venue I. I was sure that this should be enough even for the medal in the individual competition, I only did not know which one. And as we started to celebrate and the last almost incredible news was waiting for us.
This was when the three guys from the Finnish team moved as the support and with gently desperate voice have told us that they have three zeros from the river. And |I screamed with joy and Tomas immediately understood what is going on. I was sure for 99.9% that we will finish on the great 2nd place in the team competition!
The fact that Tomas Starychfojtu finally finished with 2 fish on the great fifth place in the venue III did not finally solve anything and could not change anything. Finally, during several few moments even other guys from the team arrived and they did not understand our happy faces, as they did not know what we had already known. We did not string them up as they needed to cheer up as well.
The French managed to keep the excellent level even in the last round and they deserved to win as the only ones they finished without any blank competitor. It is true they had a very good draw in this round, but this does not change anything on the fact that at this champonship they were hard to be beaten. Three blanks in the last round for three teams which were fighting for medals have shown how difficult was the course of this World Championship.
In the last round they have finally shown their qualities even the team from Slovakia, when they won with the sum of placings 24. Behind them finished the French team (28) and also good result achieved the Spanish (39). The Slovaks have accelarated from the complete bottom to the end of the first ten teams, even if this 10th place with respect to the ambitions and what they did for success at this championship, was a big disappointment.
Victory among individuals finally got Marek Walczyk after seventeen years for Poland, second place got the French Eric Lelouvier and third finished Tony from our team with the same number of placings, but worse auxilliary points. As the only one he defended the medal position form the last World Chmpionship in Portugal, even if there it was 2 positions better. Four competitors from France fishined among the first six, which was surely an excellent result for them. Only one of the most experienced at this championship, former World Champion Bernard Marguet, finished on the 92nd place and this was the result of a miserable draw.
I would also like to mention before the last round leading Australian Jonathan Riley. Neither he managed to fight on the lake and he finished once blank. This must have been a great surpise, because the Australians can fish on the lakes. Even so cruel this championship was. This does not change anything on the fact that next year in New Zealand the Australians with the local competitors will belong among the biggest favourites.
Final results of our boys were not extremely excellent, which was caused by the fact that they did not manage to avoid blank cards in some rounds. As the secopnd of the best finally proved his quality Tomas Starychfojtu on the 23rd place, Jája Sram finished on the 28th place, Marin Droz was just behind him on the 29th place and finally the last was our new competitor Tomas Adam on the 51st place. The silver medal from the team competition was a great present for him to his 30th birthday.
What to say at the end? From the fisherman´s point of view it was not a very good championship. I do not well understand the selection of teritorries, where the last championships were placed. Always it depended on a great piece of luck and mainly draw in many cases decided, where the competitor after hard preparation will finish.
Finally, I must thank to all our boys from the team who repeatedly confirmed that in the last twenty years we belong among the complete world class. In those five people in the team the quality finally had to be seen and in my opinion final results corresponded to the general power in the current fly fishing top. Eagerness and combativeness of all our boys had shown a sound base of the whole team.