World Fly Fishing Championships

Early September saw me competing in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Italy. We may have been high in the mountains but the temperatures at times were in the high 30’s which made it somewhat uncomfortable.


I wanted a fly rod that would do it all so opted for an Airflo Streamtec 10′ #4/5. This offered  the length for deep nymphing at range and the flexibility of control of the most subtle of takes. I also used it for casting my #8 weight Di5 and other various fly lines. It was important not to use a rod which was too stiff but the #5 weight coped with the line and offered the softer tip so not to bounce the fish off when they took.


We used a good range of flies that were fine tuned by the time we reached the 3 competition days. Team England used a wide variety of patterns but it soon became apparent that the same half dozen patterns came to the forefront. Whenever fishing, especially competitions, it’s important to have a minimal selection of flies for the competition day. One of the teams hottest flies was a red thorax pheasant tail in various sizes with a tungsten bead. We used it from a sz 8 to a sz 14. The 2nd team favourite was a hares ear with a red and white collar, again with a tungsten bead. We also used this from a sz 8 to 14.

A full selection of these flies and possibly the widest variety of the very highest quality river flies will soon be available from BVG Airflo

The sessions

There were 5 sessions, 4 rivers and 1 lake. 3 of the rivers were stocked which made them ‘peggy’ and the luck of the draw would play apart. A quick search with a red and black streamer or hot head lure soon let you know if you had any stocked rainbows in your beat. If not, deep nymphing would find some of the very big grayling to be had.

The lake was possible the most stunning venue I have fished and was stocked with brown trout. I fished 2 streamers 16 feet apart to take 5 fish and 2nd position. In crystal clear water it is vital to keep your flies well apart, especially two lures or streamers.

The results

As the lake toughened due to the small area of concentration of fish England suffered 2 blanks as many of the competitors followed suite. On a blank avoidance session I hooked a fish in the dying seconds only for it to head down stream and break me off through rocks. This gave me the dreaded blank. Two other river blanks followed for Team England which saw the team drop to 10th. Going into the final day I was lying just 12 points off top spot but dropped to 50th with the blank. Italy came out on top and also took the top two individual placings.



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Iain Barr

About Iain Barr

A name synonymous with competition fly fishing excellence, Iain Barr has fished for England over 28 times across World, European, Loch Style, Small Waters and Rivers, proving his flies the world over. Iain’s World Champions Choice offers a definitive range of the very patterns he’s used to catch literally thousands of trout. If it’s fly fishing know-how you’re after, Iain is your go-to source.