Monday, December 5, 2011

Hanak European Grayling Festival - River Dee

This was my first time fishing this team event which is held over two days (3 sessions) on the River Dee around Llangollen. The rain that had fallen before our arrival on Friday had pushed the river up high but as we peered over the bridge in the town we could see that the clarity was still good.

Friday was to be our practice session so we headed on to the river to try out methods and flies for the match. It was to prove tough as expected but we all caught fish in the 20cm and above class (minimum size counted in the competition) with lots of smaller grayling also showing.

Overnight rain had pushed the level up even higher for the Saturday as the 21 teams headed off to their designated beats to fish the first of the two sessions scheduled for day one. The river was still rising during the day and starting to colour up somewhat, but the first day ended well for us and we were lying in fourth place with all of us catching some fish when many teams had blanked!

Martin and Phil Dixon (England Black Gnats) on their way to 3rd place
Our first beat
We guessed day two was going to be even tougher when the rain was falling hard as we made our way to the local curry house on the evening...guaranteed to give the waders some rear end abuse the next day!

Sunday came and it was a grey, damp, cold start as we set off, our beat was further upstream so we hoped it may escape the worst of the rainfall but again the river was ripping through.

A combination of  heavy beaded tungsten nymphs fished through the slower runs and a good dose of steely grit and determination saw us finish with 3 fish which was as good as we could have hoped for.

The final results were read out back at the Hand Hotel in Llangollen and we learned that we had finished in 4th place overall. When taking into consideration that many anglers here were of international standard and this had been our first attempt in this competition we were more than happy with the outcome with many lessons learned for our return next year.

Overall Winners - Italy Caddis
A total of 92 fish caught of the two days proves how tough it was...last year this event saw 321 fish caught in sub-zero temperatures!

Top 10 teams:

1, Italy Caddis
2, Wales Dragonflies
3, England Black Gnats
4, England Damsel Flies
5, Wales Adams
6, Czech Coachmen
7, England Dunkeld
8, England Corixa
9, Wales Grey Dusters
10,Wales Red Spinners

Total Fish Caught: 92
Top Individual: Martin Dixon 12 Fish (England Black Gnats)
Biggest Fish Caught: 47cms - Olivier Dupont (Belgium Stoneflies)