The Airflo Anglian Water International Final was held at Rutland Water on the 4th and 5th of October 2011. Rutland water saw one hundred and thirty eight anglers representing twenty three teams form all over Europe. The unusual Indian Summer had taken its toll on the Rutland during the practice days turning the normally pristine water of this world famous fishery brown. Causing Brown algae to rise off the bottom, the reminiscent of the previous green algae bloom. Although, the breeze had picked up on the first competition day, the ever climbing air temperature had dropped to a more comfortable 19 degrees and the water clarity returned to a more acceptable colour.
The weather changing had made the hearts of the other teams flutter, as practice proved not to be easy for anyone! Everyone seemed a lot happier, as in this years Final two teams from the Orkneys and one from Shetland Isles had travelled down expecting some good fishing. Its a long and expensive way to travel to blank 5 days on a trot!
Practice Day 1
We travelled up on the Saturday morning, giving us 3 full days before the competition to practice and try and get back in tune with the water. Our usual trips to the Midland reservoirs is normally for opening day off the bank or for the Lexus and Airflo Finals. Only if we lived closer eh!
Our first day of practice, we split the lake up into 3 areas, Area A, B and C – Basin, North and South arm, rotating the boats and partners each day. Taking 8 team members up always helps cover a lake such as Rutland, as fishing the whole of the lake to any standard on your own is nearly impossible. We had a good idea on what to expect of the fishing, knowing the lake was brown in some places and being up just 2 weeks prior to the Airflo for the Lexus Final.
Me and Dean where in the south arm for the first day. The whole of the arm was brown, finding some clear water around the edges of Browns Island which was masked with weed. As we travelled down the lake we kept an eye on the clarity of the water, finding it to actually get worse the further down the lake we sailed. Heading towards the green bank the top few layers started to get matted with weed, the affect of the wind blowing in the same direction for a few days.
Deciding to stop 30 yards off the green bank, the lake was still with bright sunshine, but we could see 1 or 2 fish moving in the distance. Could it be worse?
We both set up our fishing tackle as we travelled down the lake, conferring what methods each would be using and where. I set up with an Airflo Midge tip fly line, and 4 flies – 2 Diawl bachs on the middle droppers and small boobies to take up the top and tail positions. Dean on the other hand, when to the other side of the scale threading an Airflo Di 5 Sweep through the eyes of his Airflo Airlite fly rod. After some discussion of flies, we went by the rule – Dark water, Dark flies.. Right? Deans 4 fly cast consisted of 2 cormorants, and two black viva boobies, a combination that could not be passed up by any trout, anywhere!
Within the first few casts, Deans rod looped over as he was lifting off from fishing the hang. But within seconds, the leader parted at the top dropped, the fish, and 4 flies had gone! Retying the leader, Dean set up with the same cast making sure the leader was of fine condition and we carried on… 3 hours of nothing, Not a sniff. Moving areas around the bottom of the arm, watching other boats, nothing seemed to be happening anywhere.
We worked our way along the inside shore, Manton, Gibbets, G buoy, Berrybutts… Nothing! Until we hit Newzeland point. I rose a fish close in to the weed bed fishing dries. Within a few casts from there, Dean locked up, again on the Di 5 sweep. A fighting fit rainbow of about 3 1/2 lbs.
Basically, for us, that was day 1. We conducted a few drifts around the weed beds and into deeper water off the sailing club with the odd pull, and one follow. But seeing a fellow angler for Belgium taking a fish infront of us kept our spirits high.
Practice Day Two
Sharing a boat with Allen Hughes, we headed to the north arm. Our fellow team members who fished there the day before hadn’t pass on many great fishing tales from the day before, with just one fish coming to their boat too! Again, tacking up on the way, I set up dries and Allen nymphs on both our fishing rods.
Drifting around the North arm in 25+ degrees and a flat calm wasn’t what we was expecting from this trip. It’s October!
A few hours passed without a take, without seeing a fish get caught between 10-12 other boats, prospects weren’t looking good. We rang the other boys in search for hope, a pull, a fish, weed, anything! Speaking to the 3 other boats, nothing was caught.
The wind started to pick up, and the colour in the water seemed to be pushing down wind, towards the dam. In the search for clear water, we headed to the top of the north arm motoring around the edges. We found a few patches of clear water just 15 -20 yards from the bank on the windswept shoreline. Deciding to fish these clear patches, we set about having a few short drifts into the clear areas. Before long we saw a fish jump in front of the boat and next cast, Allen was in! A black and green booby sticking out of the side of its mouth, a welcomed addition to the day!
By now, it was 4.30pm and decided to travel to the Tower, as the other boats reported some fish topping there on their way in the night before.
I was on dries, and Allen on the Airflo Midge tip. Locking into another fish around 100 yards from the tower the fish took that booby again, maybe this was out point fly? For the second day on a trot, I blanked, not even a take on day two. Quite frustrating but it was the same for everyone, although I seemed to be getting worse I felt confident .
Practice Day Three
Me and Tony headed to the Basin on day three, which was a welcomed change from the coloured arms. The clarity of the water seemed to be getting worse at the dam, with the water pushing down the arms from the ever growing wind.
First drift, I moved a fish on the dries as I was pulling off to recast, just feeling a slight pull. It felt great for the line to be tight for once!
Cloud cover moved in the wind increased and the temperature dropped, deciding to change from the dries, I started to reel in the 10 yards of line I had out and a bow wave formed, a fish following the carrot fly I missed one on earlier in the day. I slowed down, and dropped the flies back. The fish took the fly and I hooked my first fish in over 20 hours fishing! At Last!
The next few drifts which followed were very productive. I took 3 fish, 2 on the Airflo Sixth Sence slow intermediate and Tony taking 3 on the Airflo Midge tip and Nymphs. It seemed that the Airflo midge tip was going to be the line!
The night that followed, we spent the hours at the vice talking and creating a team plan for the next day.
Competition Day One
The first day of the competition was here already, 3 hard days of practice behind us and a little bit of a clue to where and what to fish.
We met our boat partners, and carried our fishing tackle to the boats. I drew a great boat partner, Brian, From Ireland. We headed to the dam, and stayed there all day! The dam seemed to be the area for a lot of teams, and it was our honing for the day.
I took 1, and my partner Brian, 1. I fished the Airflo midge tip for most of the day, as I was getting the odd take and Tony was on 5-6 fish by about 2pm! The wind picked up even further, and my takes dried up. I swapped to the Airflo Sixth Sense slow glass and it was like flicking a switch. Takes and pulls and within the hour another fish in the boat. I thought to stay on this fly line and take as many fish as I can. At the end of the day, I ended with 3 fish. A pretty respectable score! Here are a few pictures and the results after the first day.
1. Seighford Sharks – 31 fish for 72lb 115/8oz
2. England Youth North – 25 fish for 64lb 37/8oz
3. Welsh Hawks – 20 fish for 62lb 65/8oz
4. Nymph-a-Maniacs – 22 fish for 52lb 61/8oz
5. Leven Fly Casters – 22 fish for 48lb 15oz
6. Team Airflo – 21 fish for 47lb 155/8oz
7. Team G. Loomis – 21 fish for 46lb 111/8oz
8. Saltire Flyfishers – 18 fish for 44lb 33/8oz
9. Soldier Palmers – 17 fish for 41lb 111/8oz
10. Flextec Emerald Islanders – 15 fish for 38lb 11/2oz
11. Airflo Team Cormorants – 14 fish for 34lb 4oz
12. OTFA (Stromness) – 12 fish for 30lb 35/8oz
13. Team Vision – 12 fish for 27lb 47/8oz
14. Blagdon FF Bristol Water – 12 fish for 26lb 53/8oz
15. Team Sunburst – 11 fish for 22lb 143/4oz
16. G. Loomis Team Belgium – 9 fish for 21lb 121/8oz
17. Prince Albert AS – 9 fish for 20lb 145/8oz
18. Greenwell Persuaders A – 8 fish for 19lb 121/2oz
19. Llanilar AA – 8 fish for 18lb 121/4oz
20. Neilston Flyfishers – 10 fish for 18lb 87/8oz
21. Shetland Anglers Assoc. – 7 fish for 18lb 73/4oz
22. Froggies Fly Fishers – 7 fish for 16lb 43/8oz
23. OTFA (Kirkwall) – 4 fish 11lb 97/8oz
Top Rod Overall: Gareth Dixon, Welsh Hawks 8 fish for 26lb 15/8oz
Best Rainbow: Mark Duncan, Flextec Emerald Islanders 5lb 85/8oz
Best Brown:Mick McLintic, Seighford Sharks 7lb 83/4oz
After Day one a greater picture is normally produced of the fishing, methods, areas etc, so an in depth meeting is normally the best to learn from each team members days and their partners potentially useful information.
Competition Day Two
Our teams spirits were high, being in 4th position heading into the second day, but not nearly as high as the wind. The wind had increased by a few MPH which made the fishing difficult. I headed back down towards the dam where I fished the day before. Not so many people seemed to venture as far as due to the wind but there were some hardy guys who joined us.
The fishing wasn’t easy, and sometimes impossible to cast back into the wind. There where a few fish being caught, the water had cleared up somewhat from the previous days due to the cooler weather, which was a bonus.
At around 2pm the wind seemed to be at it’s worse. Making casting impossible and who dared to cast, seemed to end up in knots! A lot of nylon was used over the second day I can assure you! Having the correct fishing tackle can make fishing in these such conditions a lot easier. Using a fishing rod that has enough backbone to throw a 7# fly line back into the wind with minimal of effort,
I had only managed to net one fish until 2pm, loosing and missing a few. After a drift which consisted of a tangle nearly every cast and one of my new wychwood drogue clamps pulling free from the boat, I retied the drogue and reverted back to the old faithful Airflo Sightfree G3 8lb. Within one drift, I took 3 further fish and dropped one. The fishing seemed to be shaping up, even though the wind was blowing its hardest.
I looked back up wind to search for the next available gap for my next drift and I could see the Safety boat heading down wind. As I made my way back up to my next desired drift, I could see a boat having some difficulty starting it’s engine neat the dam wall. Assuming this is where the Safety boat was heading, we kept an eye out and the boat eventually washed up along the dam wall, filling up with water and the anglers evacuating their kit. Scary stuff if you think about it, imagine you was in that position? At least the rangers were on hand!
After the boat was rescued, we were all instructed to leave the main basin and head up the north or south arm, where the wind was calmer. A good move for the safety of the anglers, but fishing wise, it didn’t do any of the teams any favours. After a long, wet and windswept hard day it was finally 5pm.
Some of the teams looked to be distressed and some overwhelmed with their performance. The teams who were in top positions looked quite concerned, not knowing if their second day result was good enough to keep them there.
1. Nymph-a-Maniacs 21 fish for 481lb 15/8oz
2. Welsh Hawks 18 fish for 44lb 11/4oz
3. Saltire Flyfishers 17 fish for 41lb 141/2oz
4. Greenwell Persuaders ‘A’ 16 fish for 37lb 23/8oz
5. Team Airflo 14 fish for 36lb 13/4oz
6. OFTA (Kirkwall) 14 fish for 34lb 111/2oz
7. Airflo Team Cormorants 14 fish for 34lb 63/8oz
8. Prince Albert AS 13 fish for 32lb 41/8oz
9. Soldier Palmers 13 fish for 32lb 0oz
10. Team G. Loomis 12 fish for 31lb 153/4oz
11. Seighford Sharks 10 fish for 28lb 81/2oz
12. Team Vision 13 fish for 25lb 105/8oz
13. OFTA (Stromness) 10 fish for 24lb 9oz
14. Blagdon FF Bristol Water 9 fish for 21lb 151/8oz
15. Llanilar AA 12 fish for 21lb 17/8oz
16. Flextec Emerald Islanders 9 fish for 20lb 141/4oz
17. England Youth North 10 fish for 20lb 11/2oz
18. G. Loomis Team Belgium 6 fish for 15lb 115/8oz
19. Neilston Flyfishers 6 fish for 14lb 51/4oz
20. Leven Fly Casters 5 fish for 12lb 147/8oz
21. Sheltand Anglers Association 5 fish for 10lb 115/8oz
22. Froggies Fly Fishers 4 fish for 10lb 31/4oz
23. Team Sunburst 2 fish for 4lb 41/4oz
Top Rod Overall: Aled Dixon, Welsh Hawks 8 fish for 18lb 123/4oz
Best Rainbow: Phil Dixon, Seighford Sharks 5lb 63/8oz
Best Brown: Alec Vanrijkel, G. Loomis Team Belgium 4lb 73/4oz
Number of Anglers: 138
Number of fish caught: 253
Total weight of fish caught: 604lb 7oz
Average Fish Weight: 2lb 6oz
Average Bag Weight: 4lb 6oz
Rod Average: 1.83
1. Welsh Hawks 38 fish for 106lb 77/8oz
2. Seighford Sharks 41 fish for 101lb 41/8oz
3. Nymph-a-Maniacs 43 fish for 101lb 33/4oz
4. Saltire Flyfishers 35 fish for 86lb 17/8oz
5. England Youth North 35 fish for 84lb 53/8oz
6. Team Airflo 35 fish for 84lb 13/8oz
7. Team G. Loomis 35 fish for 78lb 107/8oz
8. Soldier Palmers 30 fish for 73lb 111/8oz
9. Airflo Team Cormorants 30 fish for 68lb 103/8oz
10. Leven Fly Casters 27 fish for 61lb 137/8oz
11. Flextec Emerald Islanders 24 fish for 58lb 153/4oz
12. Greenwell Persuaders ‘A’ 24 fish for 56lb 147/8oz
13. OFTA (Stromness) 22 fish for 54lb 125/8oz
14. Prince Albert AS 22 fish for 53lb 23/4oz
15. Team Vision 25 fish for 52lb 151/2oz
16. Blagdon FF Bristol Water 21 fish for 48lb 41/2oz
17. OFTA (Kirkwall) 18 fish for 46lb 53/8oz
18. Llanilar AA 20 fish for 39lb 141/8oz
19. G. Loomis Team Belgium 15 fish for 37lb 73/4oz
20. Neilston Flyfishers 16 fish for 32lb 141/8oz
21. Sheltand Anglers Association 12 fish for 29lb 33/8oz
22. Team Sunburst 13 fish for 27lb 3oz
23. Froggies Fly Fishers 11 fish for 26lb 75/8oz
Overseas Trophy: Flextec Emerald Islanders 24 fish for 58lb 153/4oz
Top Rod Overall: Phil Dixon, Seighford Sharks 10 fish for 30lb 31/4oz
The presentation consisted of all the teams positions being read out in reverse order and the prize giving ceremony to winners. Congratulations to all the teams who took part, and especially to the Welsh Hawks, on their superb performance Individually and Team.
Overall the fishing on the competition days picked up from dramatically and lead for a tough but fair competition. Below are the overall statistics of the comp.
Number of Anglers: 138
Number of fish caught: 588
Total weight of fish caught: 1411lb Ooz
Average Fish Weight: 2lb 6 1/2oz
Rod Average: 2.13
Written by Kieron Jenkins