Friday, 19 October 2012

The 2012 International Bank Fly Fishing Championships

October 2012 saw the Bank Championships come to Garnffrwd Fishery.  The championships is now in it's 3rd year and is growing from strength the strength.  This year was no exception and the quality of angling on display was incredible - easy to see why these boys are competing for their respective countries.

Match programme from the 2012 International Bank Fly Fishing Championships at Garnfrwydd fishery
Souvenir Match Programme
The teams arrived at the Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli on Sunday before 2 days of practice followed before the International on Wednesday 17th.  Tactics and fly choice were very secretive over the practice sessions in order to gain that all important advantage over the other home nations.

The International

As a good friend of mine, Lee Tatton was competing, I along with another friend Dan Graham (himself a capped Welsh International Angler) was asked to go down and control for the event.  Something I was very much looking forward to. I met with Dan around 6:30 and having stocked up on supplies we set off.  As I'd never controlled for an event I have to admit I was a little nervous but having talked it through with Dan on the journey down the nerves were soon replaced with eager anticipation.  We arrived at Garnffrwd in plenty of time for the Controllers Briefing, which was to take place at 8:15.

When we arrived at the car park, the teams were busy tackling up and preparing themselves for the event.  The mood was relaxed and we chatted away with the Welsh boys and some of the other controllers.  One of the other controllers was Chris Jones, himself desperately unlucky to miss out on the Welsh team.  Having won the Garnffrwd spring league and the Airflo bank masters he suffered a torrid time at the Welsh trials only landing one fish and missed out on the team - having been the most consistent angler this year it would have been great to see him fishing the international.

Making our way down to the venue, Garnffrwd greeted us in its usual immaculate self and even the weather was looking fine, despite some heavy winds.  We gathered for the parade before our Controllers Briefing.

All 4 home nations before the bank championships
The Home Nations before the International
Welsh International Bank Fly Fishing Team 2012
Welsh Team
We met for the Controllers Briefing where I was allocated peg 23 - one of the pegs on the dam.  As usual hot spot for fish and a place where I'd previously caught my fist (and only to date) Tiger Trout.  With the high winds blowing directly at us, casting would later prove troublesome on occasions.

Peg 23 - Garnfrwydd
My Peg for the International
What a coincidence that the first angler on my peg that morning was Lee! Despite a number of follows on a Damsel fly tied with blue rubber legs (a tactic that was working very well during practice), he unfortunately blanked, along with the next angler Michael Drinan from Ireland.  The next angler on my peg was Englishman Phil Dixon.  Having heard many things about Phil I was looking forward seeing him fish.  He didn’t disappoint, landing 2 very nice Rainbows of 44cm and 42cm respectively before missing a take on the last cast of his session.  The first caught tight up against the bank on a lure at the end of the retrieve. A couple of follows lead to nothing before a couple of flicks of the rod tip gave the fly enough movement to entice a take from the patrolling piscine.  The second caught on a rather usual (to me) technique, fishing a lightly weighted cats whisker fished under a strike indicator - a tactic, however, that worked well for the English boys all day.  Last on my peg that morning was Scotsman Steven Corsar, another extremely accomplished angler but once again we saw a blank.  Due to the quiet nature of my peg if found myself helping out on peg 22 where more fish were being taken.

Lee fishing in the International
Lee Fishing the International
At lunch we were all very well fed and watered at Christine Cafe.  Having caught up with a few of the anglers, and after that much needed toilet break, we headed out for the afternoon session.

The afternoon session began with Welshman Keith Cadogan, who once again saw a blank.  Irish angler Harry McAteer Jnr also blanked my rather uneventful peg.  Next up was Englishman Jim Tuck, once again 2 more fish were landed for the English team, both again caught under the cats whisker/strike indicator tactic - one that I will certainly try when I fish there next.  The fish were 40cm and 42cm, this time both gorgeous streamline Brownies.  Jim also missed a couple of takes, admitting to me that he was busy watching what one of his fellow countrymen was up to on the peg across from us and not concentrating on the strike indicator dipping under the surface in front of him!

Last up for the day was Scotsman Keith Andrews.  The winner of the Scottish National Stillwater Finals.  It was lovely to see someone other than the English boys hook up on my peg - only problem is that the fish popped the hook.  A wry smile and a chuckle from Keith followed by 'well, there we are then' ended the fishing action for the day.

The day finished at 3:55 and we headed back to the cafe for a chat with Jamie (the owner of the fishery), the anglers and fellow controllers.  Once everyone had packed away, the teams made their way back to the hotel and we headed home.

Throughout the day there was some fantastic angling on display despite the occasional very heavy wind.  I managed to pick up quite a few tips and genuinely feel the experience of being in the presence of these guys will help my fishing.  All the anglers were friendly and many ready for a laugh making the day much more enjoyable as a whole.

As always, Garnffrwd was an excellent place to fish and the work that has been done there is second to none.  One of the best fisheries in the UK (in my opinion), check it out

Team Results - Overall
1st   England - 76 Fish
2nd  Scotland - 51 Fish
3rd   Wales - 50 Fish
4th   Ireland - 41 Fish

Top Rods - Overall
1st   Terry Philips, England - 19 Fish
2nd  Dean Appleby, England - 17 Fish
3rd   Steven Corsar, Scotland - 13 Fish

Top Rod for Wales was Matthew Jones who finished 5th with 13 Fish.

Apologies for the quality but here are the final score sheets from the day: 
2012 International Bank Championships 2012 - Results
2012 International Bank Championships 2012 - Results

Having controlled the event, I'm looking forward to fishing Garnffrwd at the Colin Miller Memorial Cup but following the fishing display I witnessed (some of who will surely be competing), I will find it rather hard to finish in the top few.  However, this is fishing and not catching and whose to say I don’t get a good draw and the fish are turned on to what flies/tactics I use on the day.

Garnfrwydd Fishery
Until next time...

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