The weekend of the 28th/29th September saw 100 anglers take part in the two-day AT TEFF National Loch-Style final at Chew Valley Lake. The anglers were fishing to be part of the two England teams for 2020 having qualified from regional heats and the repêchage earlier in the season.
The match was fished over two days on a three fish kill and unlimited catch and release with anglers marking returned fish on their score cards. The final results were based on place points from both days to find the most consistent anglers to form the teams for the Spring and Autumn Internationals in 2020. Therefore, the angler with the lowest place points over the two days would be the National Champion. Those in the top 28 would form the two teams of fourteen anglers for 2020 Internationals.
Chew had been in exceptional form in the week leading up to the national with both the recent stock fish and the fin-perfect residents Chew is famous for willing to feed. The trout were high in the water and fast and slow glass intermediates, floaters and tips being the preferred choice of lines during practice. Denny Island, the North Shore and the mouth of Herons Green were the hot spots.
On day one of the final the boats split at the start with half the fleet heading to Denny Island the other half to Moreton Bank and Herons Green. It soon became clear that Denny Island and the North Shore were the place to be with anglers catching good numbers of fish in these areas. Fast and slow glass lines along with the Di3 and pulling tactics with Blobs and Cormorants were the most successful tactics. In total 811 fish were caught for a superb rod average of just over eight with the biggest fish to the scales a superb 5lb 3oz fish. Pablo Mullings took first spot with 23 trout followed by local anglers Mark Miles and Tim Wellman with 22 and 19 fish respectively. It was all to fish for on day two.
With winds of 40mph forecast for the afternoon of day two anglers were briefed before setting out that restrictions may be put in place for health and safety reasons. At the 10am start the majority of the boats headed to Denny Island and the North Shore which had been so productive on day one. It soon became clear that these fish had switched off and anglers started to search the water for fresh fish. The wind picked up and a restriction was put in place keeping the boats on the south side of the lake. The overnight rain had also affected the fishing and many anglers struggled to catch. However, there were anglers who managed to find catchable fish with some taking eight or nine fish. The rod average on day two was 3.7 showing how tricky the fishing had been in comparison to day one.
The 2019 National Champion was Pablo Mullings who caught 32 fish over the two days finishing first on day one and second on day two giving him three place points. Runner-up was local angler John Horsey who again displayed why he is one of the best loch-style anglers in England. John had 23 fish for 16 place points. Third place was taken by John Hardy who caught 21 fish for 19 place points.
The top twenty eight anglers who will now represent England in the Spring or Autumn Home Internationals are: Pablo Mullings, John Horsey, John Hardy, Paddy Mounter, Tony Baldwin, Graham Currie, Martin Burgess, Paul Calvert, John Pearn, Neil Hodgson, Ben Race, Andy Cottam, Mark Miles, Si Gaines, Peter Crowe, Mark Rose, Tim Wellman, Craig Barr, Sam Bailey, Kim Green, John Hood, Ashley Davis, David Currie, Alex Johnstone, Bart Farmer, Ryan Feber, Paul Sweatman and Terry Phillips.
Pablo Mullings, 2019 National Loch Style Champion said: “I am surprised, and also delighted, to have won this year’s national, especially due to the last-minute rule change which nearly impacted on my participation in the competition. Nevertheless, it is a great honour to be fishing for England in next year’s international. This result was made possible by the hard and unconditional work of my team mates, John Hardy, Mark Rose and honorary team member Sean Hanlon. A kind word to Bristol Water for producing a great few days fishing. Tight lines to all, see you next year!”
John Harris, Recreations & Fisheries Manager Bristol Water said: “It was a privilege to be able to host the English National at Chew Valley Lake recently, highlighting the national importance of this water to the competition loch-style fishing scene. Despite challenging conditions, the fishing was superb with some rather special fish being caught over the two days. We are incredibly proud of the quality of the fish we produce and strongly believe they are the best fish in the country. Famous for top of the water sport, seeing fish caught on dries and a number of other methods was fantastic! Reports of fish being caught in a variety of areas also goes to demonstrate just how well spread the fish have been this season. We wish the qualifiers the best of luck when representing England in 2020 and look forward to welcoming anglers back in coming seasons.”
Andy Taylor, Competitions Support Officer said: “Chew Valley was on fine form over the two day National with some superb fishing for quality resident and recently stocked fish. The rod average of over eight fish on day one shows how well the lake fished. The AT TEFF would like to thank John Harris and staff at Chew Valley for hosting the event, Peter Hartley for running the final on behalf of AT TEFF, Chris and Lianne Bobby for collating the results and all the volunteers and fisheries who have helped run the qualifiers over the last 12 months. Well done to all those who took part and good luck to the top 28 who will represent England in the Home International next year.”