BOB JONES BROWN BOWL
This year’s Autumn International Fly Fishing Championship was fished in horrendous weather. The practice sessions proved to be the wettest and wildest in the history of the championship with gusting rain, gale force winds and high waves buffeting the boats. In fact some boats were unable to return to the jetty on one practice day because of the force of the wind.
On competition day itself the persistent rain in the morning and early afternoon made things pretty unpleasant but this did not deter the fish from being on the fin and the competitors had quite a successful day out on the water.
At the weigh-in the total number of fish caught was 137 – England had 41, Ireland 26, Scotland 31 and Wales 40. Under the ‘catch and return’ rule most fish had been released and each released Brown Trout was to be credited with 1lb and the Rainbows with 1.5 lbs – as it is the total weight of fish that counts at international and not the number of fish caught.
As each team brought their fish forward for weighing, tension was mounting. England and Wales looked pretty much neck and neck but the final weight actually showed that Wales was in front by 9oz. It seemed Wales had won by a very narrow margin and this caused much jubilation amongst the Welsh supporters present – a hat-trick of Golds for Wales for the first time ever – as they had beaten their rivals in the two previous matches.
But their joy was short-lived for as the judges scrutinised the Catch Record Cards they saw that one Welsh card had not been completed in accordance with the competition rules. The Welsh team was penalised – their tally of fish was reduced to 39 and the gold medal handed to England.
Although an appeal was lodged immediately and the Welsh angler, his Scottish boat partner and their Boatman appeared before the officers and verified that the Welshman had actually caught two fish – brought in the rainbow and released a brown trout – but had inadvertently not completed the record card – the appeal was overturned.
The Welsh contingent was bitterly disappointed – they had lost the gold on a technicality and had to make do with the silver. The team had worked so hard and spent so much time and money preparing for the event – and what is more it was proven that their coach and captain had got the tactics right.
It is a huge pity that such an incident marred what had been a wonderful match and the local club had worked wonders in being able to stage such an event under such atrocious conditions
The fish that was caught but not recorded will live for a long time in the memories of Welsh anglers.
There were two consolations, however. The much-coveted Brown Bowl for the angler with the heaviest catch went to:
Bob Jones from Merthyr Tydfil who fished brilliantly to catch seven fish. Warmest congratulations to Bob on his wonderful achievement.
Congratulations also to George Barron, Talybont, who won the Officer’s Match.