The 30th Youth International Fly Fishing Competition was held at Grafham Water last week, pitching young fly fishers from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland against each other in a boat fishing loch-style competition.
The day took place amidst a great atmosphere with many families and supporters for all of the teams arriving bedecked in flags, facepaint and even their dogs were dressed up too! In the car park as the teams mustered national tunes were being played aloud on car stereos to set the scene before a lone piper led the teams down to the boat dock with each team chanting a favoured phrase or battle cry out loud to the assembled crowd as they passed the lodge building.
Each boat contained two anglers along with a boatman/woman and command of the boat changed every 1 hour 45 minutes to ensure both anglers had their fair choice of fishing locations.
Despite England having won 4 out of the last 5 internationals there was no sign of a clear favourite as the competition began. All the gathered supporters and team managers could do was sit and wait, albeit with many watching the action via the binoculars they had brought along for the purpose.
At 5pm the boats and angler returned to the docks amidst lots of talk and rumours between the competitors as to who they thought had done well but the weigh-in would reveal the truth. Each team took their turn at the scales with an early roar from the Irish indicating they thought they had done well. However when all was said and done an even bigger cheer from the Scottish team confirmed they had done enough to win the day by a good margin, followed by Ireland in second place, England close behind in third and Wales in fourth.
1st – Scotland with 38 fish totalling 80lb 7.3oz
2nd – Ireland with 32 fish totalling 66lb 4.4oz
3rd – England with 32 fish totalling 62lb 4.7oz
4th – Wales with 21 fish totalling 43lb 13.3oz
Top Individual Positions
There were some good sized fish and good bags of fish recorded by individuals within the teams. These were the top anglers for each team…
Best Fish overall – Calum Clarke of Scotland – 4lb 6oz
Top Rod overall – Steffan Williams of Wales – 15lb 6.2oz
Best English Fish
Oliver Avis 3lb 6.60oz
Top English Rod
Oliver Avis 10lb 10.30oz
Best Irish Fish
Andrew Rea 3lb 9.60oz
Top Irish Rod
Peter O’Brien 10lb 10.50oz
Best Scottish Fish
Calum Clarke 4lb 6oz
Top Scottish Rod
Ali Forbes 11lb 8.80oz
Best Welsh Fish
Steffan Williams 3lb 0.90oz
Top Welsh Rod
Steffan Williams 15lb 6.20oz