A total of 98 anglers contested this year’s Lexus European Flyfishing Championship Final held at Chew Valley on Thursday August 18.
Lexus Individual Final
Practice on Wednesday was amazing with fish being caught almost at will, so the prospects for the final on the following day was sky high.
Again we have to use that word, “challenging”, summing up the reaction of many competitors at the end of a particularly difficult finals day. Most of the fleet were concentrated off the fishery’s boat pontoons leading to several ‘close encounters’ of the bumping variety.
A flight back from Spain just to take part in the final was an inspired decision for eventual winner Dave Lang, who walked away with a Lexus RX 450 hybrid for a year, the Lexus Individual Trophy, winners medal, a bottle of Champagne and prizes from Butcombe Brewery.
Dave’s plan was simple, a floating line and four flies. A small-eyed black Booby went on the point, two sparsely tied size 12 red Holographic Diawl Bach’s in the middle and a Tequila Blob Booby on the top dropper. The lot was then cast out before being figure of eighted back slowly, while waiting for the lock up.
“Most of the fish took the Diawl Bach’s but some went for the Black Booby”, Dave explained.
Equaling Dave’s nine fish was England Youth International Kieran Bonas. The Bedfordshire ace lost out by just over a pound in weight, but nonetheless it was a staggering performance from a youngster who is obviously destined for great things in competition flyfishing. It would hoever, have been interesting to see what would have happened had Kieran actually won. As he’s only sixteen and not allowed a car licence yet that could surely have proved a little tricky conundrum for the organisers.
Another great performance from third place came from David Currie who took eight fish for 16lb 1oz. Andrew Esplin caught the biggest fish of the day, a cracking brownie tipping the scales at 4lb 7oz and earning the captor a fishing holiday in Norway.
The hog roast gala dinner in the Lexus hospitality marquee was a highlight of the event, washed down with local beer provided by sponsor Butcombe Brewery, with event organiser John Horsey thanking all the sponsors and anglers for a highly competitive final.
John was keen to point out in his speech that, from his perspective, a slightly tricky day was better than one with a field full of bag limits. However, fishery manager Bob Handford disagreed and would have liked to see a higher rod average.
And the anglers? With many traveling from great distances the general consensus, in this respect, was firmly with Bob’s opinion. The top ten anglers received medals and prizes from event sponsors Hardy Greys and Butcombe Brewery.
1. David Lang 9 fish for 18lb 2oz
2. Kieran Bonas 9 fish for 16lb 14oz
3. David Currie 8 fish for 16lb 1oz
4. David Hoppe 7 fish for 16lb 0oz
5. James Bews 6 fish for 13lb 9oz
6. Tony George 6 fish for 12lb 15oz
7. Neil Thomas 7 fish for 12lb 10oz
8. Mark Harrison 5 fish for 11lb 11oz
9. Mark Thomas 6 fish for 11lb 2oz
10. Charlie Mitchell 5 fish for 10lb 13oz
11. Andre Gysler 5 fish for 10lb 12oz
12. Dave Johns 5 fish for 10lb 10oz
13. John Humphry 4 fish for 10lb 5oz
14. Andrew Scott 5 fish for 9lb 14oz
15. Ian Gaskell 5 fish for 9lb 8oz
16. Chris Guthrie 3 fish for 9lb 4oz
17. Chris Webster 4 fish for 8lb 14oz
18. Andrew Esplin 3 fish for 8lb 9oz
19. Bart Farmer 3 fish for 8lb 5oz
20. Dave Franklin 4 fish for 8lb 2oz
21. Ray McKeeman 3 fish for 7lb 15oz
22. Ed Foster 3 fish for 7lb 14oz
23. Rob Wheeldon 4 fish for 7lb 8oz
24. Merv Amos 3 fish for 7lb 7oz
25. Gerallt Hughes 3 fish for 7lb 5oz
19 following anglers caught 3 fish each,
15 caught 2 fish each,
23 caught 1 fish each. There were 15 blanks.
Biggest fish: Andrew Asplin brown trout 4lb 7oz
Rod Average: 2.44
Average Fish Weight: 2lb 1oz