Anglian Water Airflo International Fly Fishing Final 2016

The prestigious Anglian Water Airflo International Final was held at Rutland Water last week on the 4th and 5th of October. 23 of fly fishing’s most successful teams, representing all the Home Nations,Belgium and France, fished the two day event. From Ireland there were the Emerald Islanders and the Corrib Hoppers, from Wales, the Welsh Hawks and Nymph-O-Maniacs, Scotland had Change AC, Menteith Ospreys while England included  RAF Fish Hawks, Bristol Reservoir FF, with the Belgian Fly Fishing Forever and French Froggies Flyfishers to name but a few.

Norman, Ken, Stu, Sandy, Ian and Neil

The OTFA team made the long journey down to Rutland on the Friday and fished the next three days as practise, trying to cover all parts of the lake in that time. The wind direction was very variable, coming from a completely different ert each day, this made it difficult to put a plan together as areas of the lake seemed to switch on and off with the wind changes. Bright sunshine didn’t help the cause, but to be fair, it did not put the fish off, as they seemed to remain in the top foot of the water whatever, but you did feel burnt to a crisp coming off the water some days.
Match Day One.
All the preparations complete, flies tied, and plans made, the first match day dawned and with the weather forecast to be a similar wind directions for two days, albeit a lot stronger for day two, and some cloud cover, the fishing should improve. Each of the six team members are drawn with someone from an opposing team, with three having control of the boat for the first two hours and then alternating control for each 2 hour spell in the 8 hour competition, fishing 10am to 6pm, with an 8 fish limit with time bonus added for finishing early.
Following the shotgun start, the boats split into three main groups, with a few heading up the South Arm, a similar amount to the North Arm but the bulk of the fleet headed to the main basin. Sport was fast and furious for some of the anglers with a few catching there 8 fish before 1 pm, especially at the Dam and P buoy in the South Arm. The brilliant sunshine put the fish off for part of the day but they came back on the feed late on especially at 11-12 buoy and the Church.
The weigh in found OTFA had struggled a bit with a combined total of 20 fish for the team but still in the hunt for the Overseas Trophy, which was firmly in the grasp of the Belgian team with 38 fish. Top on Day One were Scotland’s Change AC on 43 fish with the Welsh Nymph-O-Maniacs in second on 38. Shetland Anglers were propping up the table with 14 fish.
Match Day Two
Similar conditions overhead but a much stronger wind were to make it none easier for the anglers on the second day. The start found a surprisingly large number of boats heading down the South Arm, with even less going to the North Arm and a good number going to the Dam which had been so prolific the previous day.
The wind increased in strength all day and being easterly, there were no real sheltered areas and it was a case of just sticking at it where you thought the fish were, Orkney anglers are well used to fishing in a good wind, the trouble was convincing your boat partner to stay out in the open water.
The weigh in saw a much improved performance from the OTFA boys, finishing 6th on the day with 27 fish, a result gained through working hard for each other in preparation and great team work over the piece.
The presentation was held at Greetham Valley Country Club, where all the anglers gathered for a meal and presentation of the prizes. Anglian Airflo International Champions for 2016 were Change AC from Scotland, a team very deserving of the top prize in team fly fishing, runners up were the Welsh Nymphos and third after a tremendous second day were Menteith Ospreys whose team member Ronnie Gilbert was awarded the top individual prize. The dreaded Wooden Spoon was awarded to previous winners, Weald of Kent.OTFA also had a prize winner with their very own Norman Irvine receiving the prize for heaviest Rainbow Trout of Day One. OTFA’s catch on Day 2 had brought them up a few places to finish 16th overall, a very creditable performance and proof that we deserve our position at the top table of fly fishing competition.
Tactics for the match were probably very similar for all the teams concerned, with location critical at certain times. Fast Glass, Slow Glass, Sink Tip and everything in between accounted for the line choice with a combination of Blobs, Fabs, Boobies, Hoppers, Daddies and Nymphs the flies employed by most.
All in all, and most importantly, a very enjoyable trip to compete with the best in our sport, where I think OTFA came ahead and raised their game in what is the most prestigious fly fishing event out there. We also count ourselves very fortunate and greatly appreciate the help through sponsorship we receive from local businesses interested in our sport and what it brings to Orkney as a whole. Northlink Ferries, Orkney Tool Hire and Orkney Builders combine to make it all possible.