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Competition Fly Fishing – Why Do We Need It?

Competition Fly Fishing – Why Do We Need It?

Lindsay Simpson takes a closer look at the world of competition fly fishing and asks why do we need it?

It’s loved by some and loathed by others the world over, competition brings out the very worst traits in some people. Cheating and underhandedness is par for the course in any sport and fly fishing is no different. That said I have witnessed some extraordinary selfless acts by anglers in competition. So back to the question at hand why do we need competition fly fishing?

Fishing for your country in the Home International is the pinnacle of many fly anglers aspirations.
Fishing for your country in the Home International is the pinnacle of many fly anglers aspirations.

Accomplished Anglers

It’s a complex and interesting question, which I have pondered often. I had a recent social media conversation about what is an accomplished angler, the chap I was conversing with is without doubt one of the most accomplished fly fishing anglers in the country. He insisted that to show ‘accomplishment’ you had to compete. I however do not agree with this you would not look at Charles Jardine or Paul Proctor and say those anglers were not accomplished just because they don’t regularly compete or have a collection of badges, would you?

Heading out for eight hours on the water. You can’t pick the conditions so therefore you need to adapt your methods to catch.
Heading out for eight hours on the water. You can’t pick the conditions so therefore you need to adapt your methods to catch.

It’s not answering the question though, is there large prize funds for the anglers choosing to enter these competitions? Well no, not really. Taking the loch style matches for example and one of the premier competitions the Anglian Water if you add up entry fees, travel expenses and accommodation, even if you win your lucky to cover your costs. In other competitions you may be lucky enough to win a new fishing rod or some other item of tackle. It just doesn’t make sense, why on earth would we do this?

If you do really well, you could represent your country in the sport. Now this takes a huge amount of dedication, time and money but in the end its all worthwhile because after you qualify its all paid for.

A Complete Waste Of Time?

If you do really well, you could represent your country in the sport. Now this takes a huge amount of dedication, time and money but in the end its all worthwhile because after you qualify its all paid for. No, not really you will need to take holidays from work and get a leave pass from the significant other. This will cost you believe me and of course there will be a financial burden. As I read back on what I have written so far it all looks like a bit of a no brainer, we don’t need competition in fly fishing it’s just a complete waste of time, money and effort, or is it?

Competition fishing has a great social aspect where friends for life are made.
Competition fishing has a great social aspect where friends for life are made.

Taking The Sport Forward

Competition is without doubt the vehicle that drives fly fishing forward. New fly patterns, techniques and innovations are all brought to the wider audience mostly by competition anglers. Through their dedication and hard work, they push the boundaries of the possible. Without competition progress would indeed be slow, take the Czechs for example. They took the world by storm using a short line technique borrowed from the Polish competitors in the mid 80s. There is most likely not a river angler drawing breath that has not heard of Czech nymphing.

You’ll learn a lot on the competition circuit- it’s an opportunity to fish with some of the best UK anglers.
You’ll learn a lot on the competition circuit- it’s an opportunity to fish with some of the best UK anglers.

There is no quicker way of becoming a competent angler than through competition. You will learn so much quicker by being part of a fishing club/team. The opportunity to control anglers on the rivers or to be sat at the other end of the boat from internationally capped anglers is there for the taking. All you have to do is take part, there will no doubt be disappointments because no one likes failing. You have to fish to the conditions whether favourable or not. It can be a hard and ruthless road but along the way you will make lifelong friends and undoubtedly become a better angler for the journey. We definitely need competition fly fishing!

Lindsay Simpson

Lindsay Simpson in an avid fly tyer who spends many hours each day tying stillwater and river patterns. He has several England caps and has fished across Europe. Lindsay is part of Team Wychwood and is the man behind the fly fishing blog www.iflyfish.info

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