Kevin Porteous reports back on the Anglian Water International Final at Rutland Water on the 2nd/3rd October 2018 that saw 24 teams from across the UK battle it out to be the 2018 champions.
The journey to the 2018 Anglian Water Airflo International final started for many teams earlier in the season when the qualifying rounds for this six-man team competition got underway. Making it to the superb International Final at the end of the competition year is something that every team aspires too, and after our success earlier in the year in the Airflo Invitational, our team the FNF Falcon’s were keen to ensure we were there!
So, fast-forward to October 2018 and all the qualifying finalists (24 teams) gathered at Rutland Water to battle it out for the honour of becoming the 2018 Anglian Water Airflo International Champions.
This competition attracts a large entry with qualification to the final a challenge in itself. Once all the qualification heats were completed it was clear to see the 2018 final would boast a very strong field.
Competition Day One
There was a real buzz in the air as teams went through final preparations for day one. This buzz was soon to be severely challenged by a building northwest wind that was sure to make conditions very challenging. The start of the competition saw a nice spread of boats with the majority of the fleet turning left out of the boat berth. Packs of boats could be seen to be building at the Sailing Club, Yellow Stone and Church areas. The Main Basin hadn’t produced as well as anticipated over the practice days so only a handful of boats ventured to it, which was quite unusual.
With huge rolling waves and a gusting wind a lot of the anglers were only too happy to see the end on day one! After the weigh-in the top three teams were the Welsh Hawks, BRFFA Team Cortland and FNF Falcons, with only 7ib separating the top three it was all to play for on day two…
Competition Day Two
The strong winds had abated for day two much to the relief of the anglers. The wind direction had stayed pretty much consistent blowing from the northwest. As you can imagine there was a huge transfer of information after day one and a lot of teams received information of how day one had played out. Teams sitting just off the top three decided to gamble a bit and send a couple of rods down to the bottom of the Arms to try and pick up some heavier fish. The top teams after day one however tended not to gamble so much and it was a case of more of the same. Again the boat split was good with teams venturing to all the corners of the reservoir. Personally I was a little surprised to see so many shoot up the North Arm but there had been bag-ups from the North Arm on day one. Come the end of day two there were still a lot of rods fishing indicating bag-ups were not to easy to come by.
All the teams gathered at the Greetham Valley Golf Course for a prize giving ceremony with a lot of speculating on who had managed to get into the top three. After a nice dinner the results were read out and as suspected the Welsh Hawks had managed to hold on to first place; a fantastic achievement and huge congratulations to them. FNF Falcons had jumped into second place with Northern Drifters taking third. Top individual rod went to James Bews (FNF Falcons) who ‘bagged-up’ quickly on both days. This was a fantastic effort from James who fished a Jelly FAB, Cruncher, Hopper and Jelly FAB on his cast. A special mention must also go to Iain Earl (Leven Fly Casters) for catching a huge 8ib brownie that would secure him heaviest fish for the two-day competition.
Rutland proved the perfect venue providing reasonably consistent sport; teams did start to fear a tough competition as practice days were not as prolific as previous years however a rod average of 4.33 (day one) and 4.83 (day two) was very good considering the challenging conditions. Eight anglers managed to bag-up both days so a very well done to them. Unusually the day two-rod average went up slightly but I assume this was due to the severe weather of day one.
A big thanks has to go to all the supporting venues and particularly Anglian Water/Rutland who hosted a fantastic event. A very special thanks to Airflo for their continued support of this event and competition fishing in general.
|1st Welsh Hawks A||80 fish 152lb 9oz|
|2nd FNF Falcons||74 fish 140lb 12oz|
|3rd Northern Drifters||67 fish 133lb 12oz|
|1st James Bews, FNF Falcons||16 fish 37lb 9oz|
|2nd Russell Owen, Welsh Hawks A||16 fish 35lb 14oz|
|3rd Gareth Jones, Welsh Hawks A||16 fish 32lb 2oz|
Kevin Porteous is a multi-capped Scottish International angler having represented his country at both junior and senior level. He started fly fishing at the age of nine and spends most of his fishing time on still waters in pursuit of trout. He has recently developed many modern synthetic fly tying materials and is the man behind the Frozen North Fly Fishing brand.