By Jiří Pejchar
We set out to this year´s Youth World Championship in Poland a week before as usually to be able to tune up all needed during trainings in local rivers - Ciarny Dunajec, Bialy Dunajec, Bialka and Dunajec “Catch and Release“ section just under the reservoir. Compared to the last year, in the Czech team there was only one change in one member. A newbie was only Vojta Vondruška and other team members were Eliška Marková, Lukáš Starýchfojtů, Filip Svašek, Libor Marienka and Martin Vlk, who took part in the World Fly Fishing Championship last year. The team coach was Martin Grün and team manager Jiří Pejchar.
As an unofficial practice camp, we chose the village of Debno, lying not far from the place, where the Bialka River meets the reservoir. The first training was just on this river, which was quite high after recent floods. We were using heavy nymphs tied with tungsten bodies. We were complementing these weights with the head tungsten and this was the only way how to get nymphs to the very bottom. During the week, however, the level of the Bialka was going down, thus later we could have reduced the weight. In all these mountain rivers, where the contest took place, there is a strong stream. In our rivers, we need much smaller weights than in the Polish competitive rivers with the same depth. Stones on the bottom were really sharp and thus we needed lots of nymphs. Because all tungstens were brushed like by the sandpaper. Other days we were training on the Bialy Dunajec, where the brown trout heavily prevailed. Just on the first training day, we caught a nice fish over 40 cm long.
All rivers were higher after the floods. The Bialka river was going down step by step, Bialy Dunajec looked to go down with water at the beginning, but then there were some rains in Zakopané and water in this river was very variable also during the competition. The Ciarny Dunajec River was quite muddy during our first visit, however, other days water was rising on, until it was impossible to fish there. We were still watching the water level under the reservoir on the Dunajec, where over 100 cubic metres per second was released and this was really impossible to fish there. Organizers were promised to reduce water level to 25-30 cubic meters for the competition, but neither for the official training this water level was achieved and water was still quite muddy and high.
On Sunday 27th July, we moved to the official hotel called Natanael and at the opening ceremony in Nowy Sacz, we heard traditionally in Poland endless speeches. After that we could finally move to the local restaurant for the reception, where we got the first dose of pork meat. A sponsor of this championship was a butchery producing pork in BIO quality and thus the organizers were feeding us with pork three times a day without exception for the entire championship! In the evening, there was a meeting with the draw, where the main organizer introduced us a new way of fishing on the Bialka River with more backwaters. The fisherman fishing in the first round should have specified which of the backwaters is the main stream and where the controlor will be and this should have remained the same for the entire competition. The problem was that in those waters which were from the judge behind the main stream, it was prohibited to fish.
During the long discussion, where all captains were against this system, he finally asked us if we want freedom in angling! After a unanimous reply: “Yes“, he was clearly disappointed. In the last three years, from the Youth World Championship in Italy, when France is not led by Jean Astier, all captains create the great team and this year it was especially great. After the captains meeting, there was a meeting of our team, where we have noted down all necessary and divided tasks and repeated tactics for particular rivers. I should have taken care for the Bialka River. The coach Grün should have taken care for both sectors on the big Dunajec river and from the present members of our “Fan Club“, Radek Svašek should have taken care for the beats along the Bialy Dunajec and Michal Krebs was responsible for the Ciarny Dunajec.
Martin Vlk went as the first one to the Bialka. On the bus, the sector judge told him to fish in beat No. 1. It was a beautiful place and long enough for Martin to succeed there. He caught the first eligible fish after catching 10 other ones, however, just under the minimum limit. The minimum size was set for 25 cm. After this first fish, he was O.K. again and he started adding one after another. Altogether he caught 8 eligible fish there and he was the second in the sector, when he was beaten only by an American competitor with 13 fish. During the training, we found that the fish is mostly in streams with wrinkles, and of course in various back streams. In normal flow streams, where in Czech rivers you would find fish, in the Bialka there was nor a fish scale. Such places were attractive here, but none of us was successful there.
Libor Marienka went as the second to the Bialka. The draw assigned him beat No. 4, where the home competitor was fishing in the morning before him and caught only 3 fish and he was the last in the sector. After the arrival to the place, I was sure that this will be a very bad beat, because it was full of flowing streams. Libor was fishing there all what was possible, but he was fishing only outside the main stream in various “pockets” along the bank. He recorded his first eligible fish after catching 16 small ones. Altogether he caught 4 brown trout there and it resulted in the 7th place in the sector. Libor had the worst place also in the first round and thus after this session he was substituted by the substitute (V. Vondruška). It´s a pity that organizers did not use the usual minimum size of fish, which is normally 20cm, because then the total results would probably look differently.
As the third one, Eliška Marková arrived in the Bialka on the second day. The draw assigned her the beat No. 3, where an American competitor won the sector with 13 fish before her, then there was also a Polish competitor before her and he finished on the 6th pace with 5 fish. At first sight, it looked beautiful here and Eliška confirmed it immediately in the first minutes when her first fish was the brown trout 28.5cm long. During the first 20 minutes, she had 6 fish and it looked great. She was not fishing any small fish at all. Martin and Libor had to wait for their first eligible fish before for a long time! After half an hour of the competition, I went to see the American competitor, who was fishing upstream from Eliška in beat No. 2. He had only 4 fish and I was happy that Eliška was having a better time. During my visit, however, the sky cleared up and there was no cloud and full of sunshine. Fish stopped taking and Eliška as well as the American did not catch anything. Eliška finished fourth in the sector and the American was on the fifth place.
As the next our competitor here, Filip Svašek was fishing in the Bialka. He was assigned No. 7 by the draw, where as the first one, the Spanish was fishing and finished third, then South-African finished fourth with six fish and last before him was a Slovak fisherman on the sixth place with two fish. Filip was fishing all small fish again and he was waiting for a long time to get the eligible one. The weather was so “good for fishing” with mild showers for the entire period of the session. Filip was fighting like a lion and he was fishing every single piece of the river and it was a great second place with eight fish.
As the last one, Lukáš Starýchfojtů arrived in the Bialka River and he was assigned the beat 6. The beat looked well. Lukáš started his contest in the middle of the beat and he was walking upstream. He was fishing a big number of small fish again. Until the cloud arrived and some shade was casted, Lukáš caught two good trout in a few minutes. Then a storm arrived, which was just on the next hill, but the rain totally froze the fish. Half an hour before the end it stopped raining and he managed to catch four more fish with a dry fly. Altogether he had 6 fish and he finished as the 4th in the sector.
This Championship was the struggle with the results which were up and down. After the second round, where we failed, and we were outside the medal positions. In the third round we got to the third place behind the home team of Poland. In the fourth round we reduced the lead of the home team to only 12 placings and we were determined to erase this difference in the last round. However, the Polish won the last round and they managed to increase the difference. The final ranking of teams was as follows: 1. USA (53), 2. Poland (79), 3. Czech Republic (100), 4. France (129), 5. Spain (130).
The victory of young Americans was crushing and it is also supported by the fact that all five members of their team were among the top seven individuals and nobody managed it before. Definitely, it could not have been a coincidence, but a knack of the American coach Paul Bourge who told his competitors to fish with Squirmy Wormies and they were an exceptionally efficient artificial bait in these Polish conditions and much better than traditional Polish Earthworm, which we were trying and it was not as good.
Final Results (PDF, 155 kB)