River Earn Charity Fly Fishing Competition For The Strathcarron Hospice
Stan Moore reports back on the recent river competition on the River Earn in aid of the Strathcarron Hospice.
Sunday the 5th of August saw 26 anglers get together to fish a friendly, charity competition in aid of Strathcarron Hospice at Kinkell Bridge on the River Earn. Most rivers were on their bare bones in the week’s prior and it was looking sceptical whether it would go ahead. There would have been little water for the anglers to fish and the warm water would have meant it might have been quite stressful on the fish too. Luckily, for us all, prior to this charitable event in aid of a worthy cause taking place, the heavens eventually opened and the weather cooled.
Two Angling Sessions
On the day, the water was at a good height, there was some cloud cover with occasional sunshine. There was a fairly strong breeze however but we couldn’t really complain about it. The field were split into two, an AM group and a PM group, allowing the AM anglers to fish whilst the PM anglers acted as controllers (measurers). These roles were reversed in the afternoon. They all fished for two, 1hr 45 min sessions equalling to a total of 3.5hrs. This allowed for a fairer scoring system, as results would be carried out on place points. Some of the anglers knew the water, yet others had not even set eyes on it and it was obvious to see who had fished it before, as they marched to what they thought would be, the prime spot.
Avoiding The Double Blank
The morning session anglers came back for lunch and handed in the scorecards, surprisingly the numbers of fish caught were pretty low. Perhaps the fish hadn’t quite settled and adjusted themselves to the decent conditions and were only too used to the trickle that the river had been for such a long time prior. Who knows, but what we did know, was that the trout and grayling were reluctant to take. Only a few anglers managed to avoid the dreaded blank in both sessions and with this in mind the afternoon anglers knew it was certainly all to fish for. The person that could avoid the double blank in the afternoon would certainly be in contention of winning it, and this did prove to be the case.
Michael Ward bagged himself first place with the best score possible scoring only two place points. He managed to catch three nice fish, with two of them coming in his second session and his best fish being a brown trout measuring 39cm. Craig McDonald from the morning group came second with five place points along with Robin Brazier also from the morning group in third with eight place points. The biggest fish went to Robert Maxwell with a 39cm grayling, just piping Michael to this, as his total length tally was slightly greater.
The results did have a slight ore of happiness and sadness about them. Happiness in the sense that everyone had a great day and that a fantastic £815 was raised but sadness in that the memory of last years first winner of this competition Jordan Black, tragically passed away a few weeks before hand.
Prior to the results there was a small raffle not forgetting the main objective of the day was to raise funds. With the kind donation of many anglers, it meant the majority of the people taking part went home with something. The results did have a slight ore of happiness and sadness about them. Happiness in the sense that everyone had a great day and that a fantastic £815 was raised but sadness in that the memory of last years first winner of this competition Jordan Black, tragically passed away a few weeks before hand. It was only fitting that a small trophy should be awarded to Michael who deservedly took first place, to be in memory of Jordan.
The Winning Tactics
I spoke with Michael afterwards about the competition and asked him how he felt in winning it and more importantly what tactics he used.
He said, “I’m delighted to win this competition; one it’s for a great cause and two the trophy is named after a legend of a guy. I started above the bridge on the Duo only because I noticed the morning anglers had walked past it. This allowed the stretch below the bridge that had been fished in the morning to settle for a while longer. Below the bridge I French Nymphed. I picked up a few small fish that didn’t quite make the 20cm measure and unfortunately dropped a couple of good sized fish too, but I did manage to catch fish in both sessions. I used a 3.3mm silver bead, orange collar, Hare’s Ear and a 4.6 gold bead, Red Tag Variant on the nymphing setup and on the Duo setup a 3.3mm copper beaded PTN with a purple collar under my size 14 Klinkhamer with visible pink post.”
I had watched Michael fish for a while and he fished hard and well, even doing some difficult wading to get to some untouched water. It sometimes pays off going out of the comfort zone to reach those lies that are difficult to get to. With that in mind Michael wasn’t the only angler who fished hard, many others did but it just wasn’t meant to be their day.
All in all it was a successful day, the rain stayed off and a good amount of money was raised for the hospice. It was good to see everyone fish the competition in the manner that it should be fished and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who kindly sponsored the event, Loop Tackle, Sanction Gin, Angling Active, Carron valley and the Newtyle Beat of the Tay and not to forget of course my mother for the halftime “sannies” and those who fished and donated on the day.
England born Stan Moore is a Loop Ambassador. He currently resides in Scotland and fishes extensively across the UK and Ireland targeting trout, grayling, salmon and sea trout. Rivers and loch-style are his favourite disciplines competing nationally south of the border. Like most, presenting a dry fly to a wild fish, is his preferred method of fishing.