The Australian Fly Fishing team has returned from the 2013 World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway with a very credible ninth placing.
Fishing conditions for this championship were best described as challenging at best, woeful at worst. Many anglers from other countries failed to even catch a fish over the three days of competition – many competition beats failed to even yield one fish at all. Of the 128 anglers from 25 countries, 11 failed to catch a fish.
The competition is conducted over five three hour sessions on three river beats and two lakes; fished from boats and from the shore. Each beat on the river is around 100m long, and anglers are only permitted to fish within this stretch. Beats are allocated by random draw, which ultimately influenced the final outcome.
The boat session were able to go where ever they liked, but were restricted to rowing boats propelled by a ‘controller’ in the middle of the boat.
Anglers were able to catch grayling, trout and sea trout – anything over 18cm was able to be measured. Points are allocated according to the length of the fish – most points in any session wins. Anglers are allocated ranking points according to where they finish in each session – one ranking point for first, two for second and so on. Ranking points are tallied over the five session and the angler with the lowest points wins.
The Australian team comprised of Christopher Bassano, Joe Riley, Jonathon Stagg, Craig Carey, and Chris Dawson. The team has had extensive overseas competition experience and was seen as a great chance to do extremely well indeed.
The team was expecting the competition to be based on wild brown trout in big rivers with massive flows – the reality was that rivers were very low and where there was trout, they behaved like stocked rainbows rather than wild browns.
The massive advantage that the team anticipated prior to the championships evaporated with the river levels, and as such the team battled to keep in touch with the leaders.
Many members of the team fished very well in their individual sessions, with Jonothan Stagg doing extremely well, winning one session and placing second in another. Joe Riley also did well in one session placing second, but due to some impossible beats he failed to catch a measurable fish in three other sessions.
Christopher Bassano did extremely well in several sessions, but again was hamstrung by bad beats with few if any fish in front of him. Christopher actually managed to catch fish in one river session where no others had done so before him.
While the team might be disappointed with their ninth spot and travelling so far for such poor fishing, it does bode extremely well for future championships. The experience of difficult fishing in foreign waters will hone their skills and sharpen their determination to rank much higher next time.
The Australians are highly respected anglers, and their results in this most difficult of championships proves their skill and determination.
- Neil Grose
Top ten teams
1: Czech Republic
11: Jonathon Stagg
32: Christopher Bassano
53: Joe Riley
67: Craig Carey
106: Chris Dawson