Author: Karel Křivanec
The 34th World Fly Fishing Championship took place in South Bohemia between 27th May and 1st June. While 19 teams took part at the previous championship in 1996, this year there were 26 teams and 8 individuals from 4 other countries. The home team was quite a clear favourite of this championship and another medal was expected from the individual competition. The World Championship was done on the basis of the 2011 European Championship, and all fish species were eligible (from the size of 180 mm).
Sector I was marked in the old riverbed downstream from the Lipno reservoir as a small river with bouldered riverbed and a quick river flow and predominating wild brownies. During a three-hour session competitors swapped two neighbouring beats, thus they had 400m of a swift river at disposal. Sector II was marked on the equalizing reservoir Lipno II, where boat fishing was applied and in the half of the session competitors swapped the boat captain´s role, where the captain decided what instructions shall be given to the boatman, who was also acting as a controller. Stocked rainbow trout in the size from 0.5 to 3 kg was the main fished species. The third sector was a big river – meaning famous fishery Vltava 28 between municipalities of Vyšší Brod and Rožmberk, with many brown and rainbow trout, but also dace and chub. The fourth sector was marked at a small reservoir Květoňov near Kaplice (6 hectares), where bank fishing with four rotations was applied and stocked rainbow trout was the fished species. And finally, the fifth sector was again on the big river Vltava 27 downstream from Rožmberk, where rainbow trout predominated, but also brown trout and also chub with dace and sometimes grayling were caught.
The weather partly influenced the competition, because there was a strong rain at night before the first session and the level of a small river called Vltavice rose high and the sector III was muddy from the half of the sector downstream as well as the entire Sector V.
After the first round the team of the Czech Republic was first with sum of placings 24, second was Belgium (27) and third USA (29). The English were fifth (42) and French team was on the ninth (57), and in the end, it proved that just this first round was decisive for the final total ranking of favoured teams.
Piotr Armatys (Poland) won the morning session in the individual competition in the Sector I., he was lucky with a draw and he got the best beats 1 and 2, where he caught 60 fish after three hours of nymphing. As the second finished Jamagne (Belgium), who was swapping with the Polish guy on beats 2 and 1 and he caught 58 trout. From the Czechs, Antonín Pešek finished fifth (43 fish), seventh was Andrew Scott from England (33) and one place behind was Delcor from France (35).
In the Sector II in the first round, there were in a boat Mathieu from France with Roza from the Czech Republic and they finished on the first and second place with a difference in score of only one fish (16 : 15), third was Egan from the US (14) and Tyzack from England was seventh (7). In the Sector III on the big river, surprisingly Elberse from the Netherlands won with 56 fish just before Bazane, a young boy from Belgium (51 fish), third was Huhtaniska from Finland (45), fourth Phil Dixon (England) – 38 fish. While all aforementioned competitors were fishing in the upper part of the sector with clean water, competitors from favoured teams were fishing in muddy water and it was visible. Chlumský from the Czech team finished on the 14th place with 9 fish and this unlucky draw cost him a silver medal in the end and Daguillanes from France was the twentieth (7 fish).
On the Květoňov reservoir, the first bank session was won by Banner (Wales) with 27 fish, second was Chyba (CZE) – 24 fish, third was Nieminen from Finland (20), eighth Jacquemin (FRA) - 13 fish and on the twentieth place finished Croston from England (10). In the muddy river downstream of Rožmberk, the best finished Cieslar (CZ), who caught there 11 fish, second was Pretorius (ZAF) with 9 fish and the third Toivonen from Finland (7). The famous English competitor John Horsey finished sixth with six fish and another from the French, Juglaret, who struggled with muddy water that morning was twentieth with only one fish and three competitors were blank.
However, in the afternoon - second round, the results were completely different, when the French team won (sum of placings 14) and reduced the lead of the home Czech team (25) and the third was England (33). A young South-African competitor Pretorius won with a record catch of this championship 67 fish from beats 10 and 11, before the famous Spanish dry fly expert Castro (62 pcs) and the third was Norman Maktima from USA with 54 fish. The fourth was Cieslar (CZE) with the catch of 51 fish, seventh was Juglaret from France – 49 fish and Horsey from England had 29 fish on the 16th place.
Boat competition of the second round was won by Delcor from France with 10 catches before Armatys from Poland (9 pcs), Scott from England was third with 9 fish and domestic competitor Pešek finished as the sixth with six fish. The French sailed on a victorious wave even in Sector III, where Mathieu won (42 fish) before Suominen from Finland (34 pcs), Berik from Slovakia (34 fish) and Roza was fourth (CZE) with 33 fish, Tyzack from England was seventh with 27 fish.
At the Květonov reservoir, P. Dixon was dominating with 27 rainbow trout, 2nd place was for Daguillanes from France (23 fish) and immediately behind them was Chlumský (CR) with 18 recorded fish. And finally the Sector V. was slowly getting clearing up from mud and it meant a victory for Nieminen from Finland with 24 catches, second was Hobst from Australia with the same amount of fish and third was Jacquemin from France (16 pcs), Croston from England was sixth (17) and Chyba (CZE) on the eighth place (16 fish).
England won the third round on Saturday morning with the sum of placing 24 for 120 fish, second finished the Czech team (30/111), and third was Belgium (31/101) and fourth France (32/113) which lost two placings against the Czechs in this round. Němčík from Slovakia won Sector I (40 pcs), behind him finished Olsen from the USA (35) and Rich from South Africa (31), Croston from England was fifth (33), Chyba (CR) seventh with 31 fish and Jacquemin (FRA) sixteenth with 19 fish. This French failure in the placings was deleted by a still water expert Guilpain who substituted Juglaret in this group in Sector II at the equalizing reservoir and he recorded 17 fish. Second was Koops from the Netherlands (17 fish), third was Horsey (ENG) – 15 pcs and Cieslar (CZE) finished on the eight place - 12 rainbows.
Delcor from France won Sector III with 45 fish, second finished Scott from England (41) and third was Alexovič from Slovakia (35), Armatys (POL) was eighth and Pešek from the Czech team was tenth when he caught 24 fish from a bad and still-muddy beat. At the Květonov dominated Luboš Roza (CZE) with 16 rainbows, second was Charlier from Belgium (13), third Egan from the USA (11), Tyzack from England was seventh (9 fish) and Mathieu from France finished on the tenth place (7 pcs).
And finally in the Sector V on the Vltava downstream of Rožmberk, the winner was Elberse from the Netherlands (32 pcs), second was Chilean competitor Antunes (30) and third was Australian competitor Barby (29), 4. Chlumský (CZE) – 28 pcs, 5. Daguillanes (FRA) – 27 and seventh finished Dixon from England (22).
The afternoon fourth round was again dominated by France which had the sum of placings 23 (137 fish) and reduced the lead of the second Czech team (30/124) when pulled seven placings. Third finished the team of Finland (30/114), led by a famous Italian Sandro Soldarini and fourth was England (35/130). It was a starring time of Chilean competitor Antunes again, because he won the Sector I with 51 fish, second Polish competitor Szlachetka (47) and third Chlumský (CZE) – 46 fish, sixth finished English competitor Dixon (39) and finally eight finished Daguillanes from France (36). The French were dominating the boat competitions, when Jacquemin, who won, caught 10 fish, second was Banner (WAL) with 9 rainbows and the third was a Portuguese competitor Martins (9) and Chyba (CZE) was elevenths (7) and Croston from England fifteenth (5).
Polish competitor Konieczny (53 pcs) won the afternoon session in the Sector III, second was Rocker from Scotland and third was Lorquet from Belgium (47 pcs), 5. Cieslar (CZE) – 39, sixth Juglaret (FRA) returned back into the competition, after being substituted on the lake, with 45 fish and Horsey (ENG) was ninth – 34 fish. In the lower section downstream of Rožmberk, the best was Tyzack from England (41 fish), second place was for Dukic from Bosnia and Herzegovina (41 pcs), third was a French competitor Mathieu (36) and Roza (CZE) was fifth with 23 catches.
On Saturday evening the team results after four rounds were as follows: 1. Czech Republic - 109, 2. France 125, 3. England – 134, 4. Finland - 152, 5. Belgium – 173 and it was quite clear that medals can get even the Fins and Belgium team was off the game. The management of the Czech team was very nervous, because the difference of 17 placings before France did not seem to be sufficient. I had to calm them down by saying that the Czechs were always better in the morning rounds, when nymphs and streamers were the best for fishing, while the French were better in the afternoon, when they could use a dry fly. A sure question were both lake contests, where the French were always clearly dominating over the Czechs.
On Sunday morning there was sunny weather and all started on the Sectors III and V, when the competition started already at 7 a.m. In the sector finally showed that beat 2 was wrongly marked, because it was 100m long and on the other hand beat 3 was 300m long. The manager of the Czech team started being mad of it, because just this beat was assigned to the Czech competitor Pavel Chyba and thus I had to calm the manager down before he realized that nothing can be done. My trust in abilities of a young Czech, who in recent history has won trophies of the European and the World Champion, was really high. The American Olsen won this sector with 36 fish, second was Rich from South Africa (38 pcs) and the third place was for Nieminen from Finland (33). Pavel Chyba was fifth (31), Jacquemin from France was eighth (27) and Croston from England seventeenth (18).
At the same time there was a competition downstream of Rožmberk and the Polish competitor Armatys was dominating here again (32 fish) and just this victory finally brought him to the total second place in individuals. Second finished there Pedroso from Portugal (25) and the third was Antonín Pešek (CZE) with 23 catches. Scott from England was sixth (22 pcs) and this meant finally the total bronze medal. Delcor from France did not succeed well, when he caught only 7 fish which meant 22nd place in the sector and he lost the medal which was very close before the last round. After two river contests Czechs increased their lead to 38 placings.
Now there were two still water competitions, where dominated the French again. Deguillanes won boat competition with 13 catches, second was Barby from Australia (10) and the third finished Bazan from Belgium (10). Water surface was very calm and the Czechs were not doing well in these conditions at all, when David Chlumský had only one catch after 2.5 hours of fishing. Fortunately, at that time he was a captain on the boat and decided to take a risk, when he ordered the boatman to go to the upper part of the reservoir, where there were no boats and he managed to catch nine more fish and totally he finished on the eighth place before the ninth Dixon from England (5 pcs). This can be regarded as a great success of this Czech young competitor.
On the Květoňov, Tomáš Cieslar was doing very badly, when he had only one rainbow at the first swap and then he was only whipping water without success to finish on the 22nd place. The American Maktima won the Sector with 11 catches, second was again fishing the French substitute Gulpain (10), who substituted Juglaret again and we can say that this tactics paid off to the French team very much. Also Bachleda from Slovakia was doing very well, when he was third with 9 catches, John Horsey from England was fifth (7 pcs). A promising difference between the Czechs and the French after four competitions of the last fifth round shrank by 27 points to only 9 points.
All was finally decided in streams under the Devil´s Wall about which a famous Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák, composed the opera of the same name and by coincidence the French and the Czechs were fishing there one next to another. After half of competition, the French guy was leading by 2 fish, but then he moved to the beat 22, where Luboš Roza was fishing before him and Roza went to beat 23 after the Portuguese competitor and just this number brought him a great success. In the last competition finally also a famous Italian competitor and a doubled World Champion Valerio Santi Amanti broke through, when he was fishing on beats 1 – 2 and he won here with 43 fish. The second finished Luboš Roza (CZE) with 48 fish and the third was Quevedo from Spain with 39 fish on beats 2– 1. The Frenchman Mathieu was eighth (33 pcs) and Tyzack from England fifteenth (20 pcs).
Luboš Roza brought Czechs to the tenth trophy of the World Champions with the total sum of placings 149 for 573 fish. Second was France with sum of placings 166 for 553 fish. The difference was finally 17 placings (11.4 %). Bronze medals reached finally the team of England with the sum of placings 184 for 530 fish, 4th Finland (192/510), 5th USA (226/513), 6th Slovakia (227/492), 7th Belgium (252/488), 8th Poland (259/479), 9th Italy (287/407) and 10th Spain (306/428).
In the individual competition, Luboš Roza added to his two youth World Champion trophies and European Champion trophy now finally also the main World Champion´s trophy. His sum of placings was 14 for 135 fish, second was Piotr Armatys (POL) 22/136 and third Andrew Scott (ENG) 22/116, 4th Peter Alexovič (SVK) – 22/121, 5th Jean Guillame Mathieu (FRA) – 23/132, 6th Saku Nieminen (FIN) – 23/134, 7th Phil Dixon (ENG) 27/132, 8th Jani Huktaniska (FIN) 30/135. From other Czech competitors Antonín Pešek (30/105) finished on the 9th place and in the last six years he finished six times among the - Top 10. David Chlumský was 11th (32/111), Pavel Chyba 13th (33/108) and Tomáš Cieslar 27th (40/114).
Besides the competitor´s art also a draw of beats plays an important role in the final competitor´s result. We failed to make a better analysis of success rate of beats this time, because this year´s draw was not well done by FIPS-Mouche representatives and even the officially published draw of competitors to individual beats was not the same what sector controllers had in their sealed envelopes which were opened on the bus after the departure to particular sectors. After their opening we had many negative reactions, but this was not a mistake of organizers of the championship, because the draw and counting of results was completely in hands of the President and the Vice-president.
I was personally very surprised that both gentlemen of my age had the power to record more than 10,000 fish caught. Instead of enjoying the Championship and supervision of fair-play, they were in permanent stress. This was also caused by the fact that competitors were not allowed to use micro-rings and even finding a tiny loop on the leader, the sector judges had to use scissors and the affected fishermen did not like it at all. This all is a result of very ill-considered changes in rules having been made in recent years for which the entire Presidential Board of FIPS-Mouche is responsible, because there was no rationally-thinking person who would be able to stop old ideas about the fact what a leader or a fly should look like. Otherwise, the Championship could have been without a mistake.
The Czechs won the trophy for the World Champions for the tenth time in their 29 participations (meaning the success rate 34.5%) and now it is a hat-trick and if there was no very strange “victory” of the Italians at home, it could have been for the fifth time in a line and this expresses all. Also in the individual competition, it was the seventh trophy for the seventh Czech individual and in the long-term medal tables from the World Championships, the Czechs have taken a clear lead before France and Italy.
A very pleasant surprise for me was the performance of the English team which won the last medal (gold) five years ago in Scotland (2009). It is possible to say that the result was strongly supported by their week-long training camp led by an experienced guide and former competitor Vit Misar. The fourth Fins had three very strong competitors, but two remaining ones were not so good, when they were somewhere in the middle of the competitors group.
Also the US team showed themselves in the best light and at the World Championship in 2016 in home waters it will be among favourites. Only by on placing behind remained the Slovak team on the sixth place and it could have been much better if they had been able to improve their mutual relationships, which do not seem to be the best to me. The Polish did not manage to play more important role in the team competition, but their reputation was at least saved by a silver medal in the individual competition.
This Championship was a big disappointment for the Italians, who arrived with the highest ambitions and they finished as the ninth. And I do not remember such a fall of a team with medal ambitions. They may improve the team for the next year and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they could be among the best again, because they know these waters very well and they will definitely have good guides and supporters who they were very missing this year.