Author: Slavoj Svoboda

 Slavoj Svoboda The team of Czechoslovakia left for its second championship in fly fishing on 16 September 1986 by train from Prague via Nürnberg, Koblenz and Luxembourg to Belgium town of Libramont Bastogne, where the driver was waiting for us with the car, which we had through all the championship at disposal. Miroslav Zilka was a team leader, coach was Pavel Janicek and competitors were following: Jaroslav Eisner, Jan Šebestyen, Pavol Gavura, Miroslav Sýkora and Slavoj Svoboda.

The centre of the championship was the town of Houffalize, which our team reached on 17 September and we were accommodated about 10 km far from here at the old castle Chateau de Tavigny. On 17 September in the morning there was an official practice in La Roche, where we had about 2 km of the stream on the river Ourth at disposal, and there we stated tactics of the next fishing (Shrimphs and Sedges). The river, which flows through the Ardenes, started to clear up after previous rains, mainly due to flooding of the river bed with clean water from the upstream lying reservoir. I liked Ourth very much, because it reminded me of my home river the Dyje below the Vranov Reservoir.

 Ourth River The river was between 25 – 40 meters in width and its depth ranged between 40 – 120 cm, but in some parts wading was absolutely out of the question. The river flew through the forested valley, partly through the meadows with many camps. Weather during the competitions was sunny, however, with high differences in temperature. In the morning it was frosty, but during the day it was so warm that it was possible to walk in the shirt. These temperature differences had the influence on the insect occurrence. In the morning hours there was almost none, however, in the afternoon' s competition suddenly many light upwings and brown sedges hatched. However, there were no fish at the top so it was possible to fish in the water column and at the bottom. Our tactics was based on the trust and tipped flies, which changed during the competition very little only.

 Ourth After practice there was immediately opening ceremony of the Championship in Houffalize, where 13 countries were presented. After this opening ceremony our team had left for dinner to Tavigny and the team leaders participated in the captain´s meeting. The rules were different from today´s ones. In the team competition placings were calculated and in the individual competition total amount of caught fish was decisive. Grayling was taken as an eligible fish from 30 cm up and trout had a minimum length of 22 cm. For every fish other 20 points were added to the length. The length was rounded for whole centimetre up. The competition took place in the three rounds 4 hours each, so the event itself took 1.5 day only. At this championship it was allowed to change its place within the sector after certain time.

Another day there was breakfast at 6:30 AM and immediately after we were taken to the place called Belveder, which was in the middle of the venue and from here the competitors were taken to their beats. In the first round I was drawn for the sector A. After the time limit I risked that and changed my beat, because we learned that before the competition trouts were stocked in here and my idea came out of the fact that the stocked fish will be at the access point. This tactics brought me 5 catches for dry sedges, which ment the second place in sector and I was the sixth in total. After the first round the Polish competitor Frasik took the lead with 8 fish.

In the afternoon's second round I had the place B 9. I caught relatively many fish, but only four trouts were over minimum length and again they were caught for dry sedges. This was enough for the fifth place in sector only and in the individual competition I fell to the ninth place together. After two competitions the Belgians took the lead with total sum of 36, only two places behind them were the Italians and the third was our team with sum of placings 43. In the individual competition the Belgian Jacobi with 15 catches got on the top and behind him there was another Belgian Gilbert and Polish Sasula was the third.

 The best teams Morning, 20 September was full of questions, because it was needed to fish even in the third round and so all was opened. The draw gave me the place D1, where there was the deep stream, where you could fish with nymphs. In the second round the Rumenian Lungu caught 7 fish, however, the Spanish Ezkurdia was blank in the first round, because he was fishing with dry flies. I put two nymphs of Hare´s Ear and between them I put heavy lead grain, which was allowed at that time. I got the nymphs to the river bed and then I started my fishing concert, which eliminated all my rivals.

I was taking one big grayling over 35 cm in length after another from the deep stream. When the competition finished after four hours, I had eight fish written in the scoring card. I won in my sector and in the last round I was fourth in total with result of 402 points. Behind me there was fifth the French Terrier with the same number of fish, but his sum of points was only 366, which shows how big my fish were.

As a winner of the sector I was supposed to pay for the drink for all my colleagues when the coach stopped at a village pub. This was such an unwritten law which I had tested twice in the role of a guest, but now I had to be a host. I could not pay even if I wanted, because at that time we had no Belgian Francs and so Albert Bindels from Luxembourg saved me because he exactly knew what is our situation like.

 World Champion 1986 After three rounds in the team competition the best were the Italians who had sum of placings 61, behind them finished the home team of Belgium (71) and the third place finished the team of Czechoslovakia (73). Behind the medal positions the following order was as follows: 4. Poland (77), 5. Luxembourg (101) 6. France (108), 7. Wales (127), 8. England (134) etc. The start of the first four teams before the rest of the world was overwhelming. The Italians won mainly because of not being blank and nor Belgians were blank, so the third place of our team with two blank competitors might have been considered for a great success, because the great Polish were blank only once and despite this they finished behind our team.

In the individual competition I was awarded as the World Champion with 17 eligible catches and 829 points. The very young Italian Angelo Ferrari reached the second place with 18 fish but only with 782 points and bronze medal got Andre Terrier from France for 18 fish and 764 points. The order on the next positions was as follows: 4. Walter Jacobi (Belgium) – 17 / 733, 5. Leslaw Frasik (Poland) 15 / 682, 6. Juha Pusa (Finland) – 15 / 678.

Celebrations of the victory were great and even a high official of CIPS Mr. Kleinbauer, who remembered me from June when I was in Liege at the World Championship of club teams in fresh water fishing with the Czech team of Znojmo, joined us. Even if our coach Janicek prohibited me to drink in Belgium it was not possible to keep it completely. Even after our comeback home it was great fame and also many invitations from various parts of the country for lectures about World Championship and even at the end I got the official award of Master of Sports.