Lake of Menteith hosted the 35th Youth Loch Style Fly Fishing International. The four home nations England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales fielded teams of fourteen young anglers who were to battle it out to be the 2019 champions.
In the days leading up to the match day the teams spent their time on the water practising to find the best areas and most consistent tactics. It soon became clear that the majority of the trout were in the deep water around the cages at Gateside Bay and the Rookery, and off Inchmahome Island. The young anglers fine-tuned their tactics in the final practice days with Di7 and Di8 lines being the main line of attack, teamed with nymphs or buzzers with either a booby or FAB on the point, fished slowly.
Bright, flat calm conditions greeted the anglers on match day. The traditional bag piper led march to the Lake set the scene as the competitors met their boatman before setting out for the seven-hour match. The match was fished to a two fish kill with catch and release thereafter with the boatmen marking the angler’s cards.
At the start all the boats headed for the deep water with Gateside Bay being the main destination for many of the teams. Fish were caught from the off as the boats jostled for position in the flat calm conditions. As the threat of thunder storms loomed the young anglers made their way back to the lodge for the 5.00pm finish and weigh in.
Ireland were first to weigh in and rumours were that the Irish lads had done well. They weighed in several 4lb fish and had caught 77 trout for 177lb 2.6oz. Scotland weighed in second with 64 fish for 152lb 7.2oz. Wales were next with 52 trout for 123lb 15.5oz and England were last to the scales with 54 fish for 121lb 13.3oz. In total 247 trout were caught for a rod average of just over four fish per angler.
Ireland were the 2019 winners with Chris Fehilly top rod with an amazing 15 fish to complete an outstanding Irish double. Team England fished with one angler less an hour into the event as one of the team was taken ill. With the reserve not being able to replace the young angler the team fished on with a man down. England were pipped to the bronze medal position having caught two more fish than Wales, however their overall bag weight was 2lb 2oz behind the Welsh Team.
All the England team caught fish and had caught well on practice. England’s top rod was Elliot Guthrie with seven fish for 14lb 10.2oz.
Next up for the young team is the England Youth National at Grafham Water on Sunday 15th September 2019. Any young angler who fancies being part of the England Youth Team for the 2020 International in Ireland can enter this competition at www.anglingtrustevents.
Craig Barr England Youth Manager said: “What a fantastic time we all had in Scotland. Despite the overall result the boys worked very well as a team and showed superb unity. It is an exciting prospect for Team England with the talent we have throughout the team.”
Elliot Fawdington England Youth Captain said: “We all fished hard and well and gelled as a team over the practice days thank to the guidance and support of our manager Craig Barr and coaches Graham Hayward and Chad Russell. Our sponsors made the whole experience more enjoyable and definitely led to us catching more fish.”
Andy Taylor Competition Support Officer said: The lads did extremely well in some very tough fishing conditions. Being an angler down was always going go to against the team, but they carried on and did the team proud. Thankfully the young angler was soon fit and well and will hopefully be back fishing again soon. I would like to thank the main sponsor of the youth team Grey’s Fishing for their continued support, along with Ellerdine Lakes, Hunt’s Original, Magnet_ique and Wychwood Game for the product they sent for the team. A big thank you must go to Craig Barr, Graham Hayward and their team of coaches along with the parents and grandparents who made the long journey to support the lads.”
1st Ireland 77 fish for 117lbs 2.6oz
2nd Scotland 64 fish for 152lbs 7.2oz
3rd Wales 52 fish for 123lb 15.5oz
4th England 54 fish for 121lb 13.3oz