During the month of June angling fly fishing competitions tends to dominate the stillwater scene. No less than three International Fly Fishing Competitions were promoted in mid-June in the space of ten days – all of which were held in Scotland.The first of the trio of matches was the Ladies Fly Fishing International. It was fished on 17th June on Lake of Menteith – arguably the most popular stillwater fishery in Scotland at the present time. The fishery has thirty boats all of which are fully booked every single day and evening for the foreseeable future.Unlike Welsh still-water fisheries Scottish waters allow two sessions of fishing per day -the first commencing at ten in the morning and the evening session starting at six. With over four hundred angling clubs in Scotland, most of which hold club competitions, one has to book boats well before Christmas of the previous year else the chances of getting boats are slim.
The Welsh Ladies team worked extremely hard and their preparation was thorough and met with considerable success. Hopes were high for a good result as the Ladies team had made considerable progress in the last few years. Within the space of three years they had climbed from the wooden spoon spot to the silver spot and hopes were there for gold this year. Unfortunately it was not to be.
The top team at the championship was the Scottish ladies, the Irish Ladies taking second place and the English Ladies in third spot. The Welsh Ladies had the wooden spoon despite their total catch of 24 fish weighing 63 lbs 5.5 0zs. Nica Prichard, Newport, Pembs took a fish weighing 7lbs 1 ozs in her top bag which in total weighed 11 lbs 1ozs. Nikki Ryder, Mountain Ash and Marian Davies, Penrhyndeudraeth were other members of the Welsh team who had good catches.
This was a disappointing result for the Welsh ladies team as they had worked hard and their approach was a credit to them and their coaches.
It would seem that in the Ladies International Match most of the fish fell to that booby fly.
Two days later the Rivers International Championship Match was fished on the River Tummel at Pitlochry on Saturday 29th June. This is acknowledged a very difficult river to catch fish on especially during the day in the height of summer. On match day the anglers had to work hard for each fish and being that all anglers had to fish with barbless hooks quite a number of the better fish kicked off before being netted. All International and World River Competitions are fished with barbless hooks and once the angler hooks a fish he has to be very careful not to give it any slack line or the fish will kick free. It is often wise to use a fairly soft rod and a short prayer will not go amiss.
The top team in the U.K. Rivers International match was Scotland who had the distinct advantage of fishing at home and its five anglers took 22 fish in all. Jake Harvey their captain took the trophy for the best catch of the whole match. The much fancied English Team took second spot and their captain was David Mee who incidentally is a Fishery Officer in South West Wales.
Wales came in third and with a little more luck in the last session could have beaten England for the second spot, but they lost too many fish in the netting. Dean Kibble, Oakwood, their captain, did the team proud and Paul Jenkins of Abercynon was their top rod.
The Irish team had a very disappointing match and only managed to take three fish in all of the four sessions.
The U.K. Rivers International Championship returns to Wales next year and the Welsh team will hope to win on the popular Maelor beats of the River Dee. One of the beats was purchased recently by the Maelor Club and Welsh Salmon & Trout Angling Associaition (WSTAA) who organise the International matches is delighted that the Maelor Club was able to purchase this fishery which is accepted as one of the best in the world for grayling fishing. One thing is certain the fish in the Dee are far easier to catch than those on the Tummel.
These three International Fly Fishing Championship matches had disappointing results for the Welsh teams in view of the very hard preparatory work done by members.