Author: Martin Drož

New Zealand, a very distant and very interesting country, was chosen for this year's world championship in fly-fishing. For all of us the championship started long before the departure itself as we needed to find out as much as possible about fishing in these geographical locations. The championship took place from 22nd to 30th March in the city of Rotorua on North Island from where we set out for moreless distant trails. For competition sections lakes Rotoraira and Otamangakau were chosen where the fishing was held from drifting boats, and also three rivers: the Whanganui river, the Waihou stream and the Waimakariri river.

 The date of our departure was set to 13th March. External worker from company True Travel Petr Skarka was already waiting for us at the Auckland airport. He did a great job here because one week before our arrival he drove around all the practice and competition venues and found for us access ways which he put in GPS thus saving us a lot of valuable time and wasted kilometers travelled in search for these ways. After picking up cars from the rentals we headed off right for our preparation seat in the town of Tokaanu.

We planned our first training on the Tongariro river, the most watered tributary to lake Taupo, the largest lake of New Zealand, where practically only trouts live.Like always we tried different methods of fishing in different parts of the rivers, but sooner or later we all finished with the classic nymph, which was reliably the most effective We caught mostly rainbow trouts and from time to time some brownies. The size of the fish ranged from the smallest ones up to trouts over 60cm even though there must have been bigger pieces in the river.

During the following days of our preparation we visited all practice waters one by one where we mostly caught on nymphs again which worked practically on all streamy waters.

It was mostly the Hares Ear Nymph sized 12 or 14 with a black tungsten bead which was in these crystal-clear waters much more efficient than the golden bead used predominantly in our country. Another highly efficient fly was a Red Tag Nymph with a silver bead. At times a fish would catch on a Pheasant Tail Nymph with an orange bead which may remind the fish of freshly spawned trout roes and even though the trouts weren't spawning that time, they instinctively went for these orange beads. When catching on practice lakes we mainly used various olive-coloured Damsels while one of the variants also had an orange bead. With these Damsels we would fish in places with occurence of water grass where quite a great plenty of fish occured.

 After moving to Rotorua and the start of the championship, two days of official trainings followed when we only participated in the lake part and focused more on tying efficient flies. Then the draw came and I was to be on both lakes right on the first day, which didn't make me happy at all. I caught on the smaller of the two lakes, Otamangakau, in the morning, and in the afternoon on Rotoaira.Before the competition we agreed that we would try to catch more in the deeper part of the lake, which confirmed our information that fish momentarily occured in depth of 5 metres.

I didn't understand why my NZ boat partner Aron West was pulling through the eyes of his rod a floating line and I calmly prepared my well-tried Damsels and used a no. 4 sinking line. Right during the first short drifts in the direction to one of the islands we experienced a couple of strikes and I understood why Aaron had used the floating line. He was catching on three flies, where the top dropper functioned as a strike indicator under which in the middle there was an Olive Damsel Nymph with a black tungsten bead and the tippet consisted of a Blood Worm also with a black tungsten bead. It got the leader into the demanded depth and Aaron could so catch even in a very close vicinity to underwater grass.

Our pulled Damsels were good to catch with, but mainly small fish would take on them, while Aaron was taking only big rainbow trouts. The overall result of this period favoured me 5 : 4, but I only had one big fish and so Aaron beat me even with his four pieces. My position after this period was 5, which wasn't so bad when Lucjan Burda from Poland finished first with 6 quarries.

On Rotoaira lake the Italian competitor Luca Papandrea made me partner in the boat. After a mutual agreement we went to a distant island and tried to catch in the depth of up to 6 metres. As it turned out soon, all attempts to catch a fish had gone in vain, though in the following days some fish would catch in this place.

 So we tried other places where, according to different information, fish were to occur, but it was only after the first half of the competition when after drifting into one of the big bays among huge bunches of water grass reaching to the surface from a 5-meter depth, the first strike came. Unfortunately, the luckier one was Luca with his Black Streamer. My moment came about twenty minutes before the end of this period when I managed to persuade one of the local trouts on my big Red Glass Buzzer. The score of our boat was balanced 1:1 and this fish only sufficed for 11th place. The first was Donald Thom from Canada with 5 quarries.

Our group was for both lakes moreless an experimental group because during the following days the experience rose and more and more fish caught on the lakes. On Rotoaira lake it was the best to catch with a relatively short and strong leader. The situation needed short-ditance casts into a place between bunches of grass and then lifting the nymphs along the grass towards the surface. After the first day of the championship our team took the first place (39) before the local Kiwi team (39) and the third Italy (59).

The second day I only had one competition period on the most distant and biggest of the three competition rivers, the beautiful Whanganui river. This river is only about 30m wide and all types of water mix here. As I soon found out, my number 15 was moved to a another section because the day before an excavator had worked working here.

The organizers along with the management of the International fly-fishing federation prepared for this competition several hard-to-understand limitations among which, besides others, there was that we weren't allowed to have prepared another rod on the bank. But this, in a way, made the selection of different methods easier because to put up another rod during the competition would be a waste of time and so the choice was clearly the nymphing set.

I started the period with an honest catch in all suitable places because smaller fish occured here too and they stayed in the shallower parts of the river while the big fish could be expected practically anywhere. As it soon turned out, the competitors who had been catching in the place before me did it very carefully and I managed to only get a few fish very close to the bank, mainly in places right under the branches of the trees.

I gradually got upstream where a long flat section with a deep current was finishing. I started to catch fish among stones on the edge of this stream and there were moments that I had strikes with each new cast. In these places I caught both small and big trouts and the biggest one measured 54 cm. My overall score in this period was 24 quarries which was good for second place after the French competitor Eric Lelouviere who had caught 28 fish. Our group had a free afternoon and so I tied some flies for the remaining day, prepared the rod and the leader and waited for what our guys would bring from their sectors. After the second day of the competition our team dropper to the second place (91) after the locals (85), but we were still well ahead of the well fishing team of England (116).

 Team Czech Republic - N.Z. 2008 Both small rivers were waiting for me on the last day of the competition. The first one was the Waihou and our captain Jiri Klima went there with me because there was a chance that he could find for me some rising fish on the twisting flow. I started with the fishing from the bottom of my section in deeper pools where I expected a higher number of fish. But I only got here a few small trouts under 20 cm and so I obeyed to my couch and moved a bit upstream the current to shallower parts. Here I began to catch good fish. I went through these several tens of metres a few times and added more quarries each time. We made good experience fishing repeatedly in places where we raised the sediments during wading, which made the fish move. I managed to catch 24 fish here, which brought me the first place in the sector. Our team returned after this period to the first place (109) before New Zealand (123) and France (139).

For the last period of this championship the Waimakariri was waiting for me. This little river was of the same character as the Waihou. Before the competition the controlor told me that my section is very short, which didn't help me get calm, as well as the information that only two fish had been caught there in the morning. I felt that Sweden 2005 or Finland 2007 would repeat, where I was to get a medal before the last period and a bad draw did me out of it. But when I caught a trout on the first cast, my nervousness was gone right away. I saw a couple of fish in the water and so I could calmly continue proceeding against the water and catching through my section carefully.

The fish took pretty well, and again the Hares Ear Nymphs with a black tungsten, Red-Tags and when I walked this short section for the third time I caught more on a Pheasant Tail Nymph with an orange bead. My score on the Waimakariri was 24 fish again which made for no. 1 of the sector again. A certain curiosity here was also the fact that I caught here more fish than all the four fishers before me together.

I managed to beat all top competitors and couldn't do else but to wait what the guys would come with from the more distant islands. After finding out that none of us had a zero in this last period, it was clear that it should pan out. It was impossible to do the counts in individuals because with some competitors the halfday when they weren't catching was not still evaluated, they had got a full number of penalties which was finally erased according to the last fifth result. So I had to wait for the official results.

At about eleven in the evening we finally lived to see it. The Czech team was first (125) before New Zealand (148) and France (164) and I was in the results all the way on top with 20 total placings. I had my second medal for individuals from a world championship and this time it was the most valued one - the gold!

It was my seventh world championship and finally it panned out. The French fisher Julien Daguillanes finished second with the same number of total placings, but five fish fewer than me. My joy was even better because on the bronze position stood another Czech who was our most experienced competitor Tomas Starychfojtu (total placings 22) who had the most quarries of all of us (98) and from whom it was a beautiful ending of his career during which he, in world championships, got four individual medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) and several times all team medals.