river international’s 2013

4 08 2013

Hi everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of months. Life has been really hectic! What with the run up, practice and fly tying for the 2013 Rivers International on the River Taff at Merthyr Tydfil, I’ve also moved house, been on a training course and started a new job! So I really haven’t had time to sit down and do a blog post. I was all booked up to fish the River Usk today to fish for salmon but at the sound of the alarm clock, I took a quick peek out of the window only to discover it raining heavily. Back to bed for a little while I thought. So, because I haven’t gone fishing I decided to finally do a blog post and let you know about my experience at the recent 2013 Rivers International. FINALLY!!!!!! I hear you say….at last more like!

The run up to the 2013 River Internationals got the team together to get some practice in ready for the big day. Fishing with the team members was a pleasure.  It was just nice relaxed practice sessions and the fishing was good. We all knew that could change on the day of the International and the pressure the River was put under with all the other teams practicing on it would make fishing a bit harder.  The  summer low conditions would make it hard to approach fish. Below is one of the fish taken on a small dry fly on one of the practice days.

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With all the practicing out of the way it was time to pack my bags and head to the hotel and relax; well try to relax anyway, and meet up with the other team members. With all the excitement and nerves, it being my first International Competition it was pretty hard to relax, but the lads in the team sorted that out. They made it all sound good and also talked me through what to expect on the day. So the first day at the Internationals we were all at the bar with the meals ordered and the drinks flowing and plenty of banter. Some of the team members had drinks flowing a bit too quick and I soon saw one of the team members heading off to bed to get his head down! Well done mate! I told him to have something to eat but he wouldn’t listen.  Anyway they say eating is cheating so you did well there.

With the drinks flowing and good banter the team manager Paul Jenkins and team Captain Allen Hughes went to a meeting to get the draw which would tell us all what beats we were to fish on the day of the International. So after a little while Paul and Allen returned with the results and the chatting commenced about who had what beats and then the tactics started to flow and so did the drinks. The next morning we were all feeling a little worse for wear; I  don’t now what the lads were thinking but I was definitely thinking to myself ‘ Why the hell I did I drink so much!’ The same morning, we all had a team photos and then set off to walk the beats to work out strategies ready for the big day.

welsh iternational team 2013-001

On the morning of the Internationals we were all up nice and early.  Well,  I can’t remember having any sleep to be honest with you! I was in the shower around 5.30 in the morning and at breakfast around 6.00 am. It wasn’t as if I ate anything with the nerves and all that but the lads were supportive especially the team members that have done this before and knew what to expect.  My Team Captain,  Allen Hughes was really supportive. Thanks mate; it really did me  a world of good. After breakfast,  the waders were on and off to my beat I went.  We were all at our pegs about an hour before the International started so I had plenty of time to tackle up and think about my approach to the beat I had been drawn on.

The time came and the International started. Fishing started slowly for me with no fish to measure. I don’t think the nerves helped at all but I battled on working through my water. Then I had a take and landed my first fish!  It was only a tiddler and didn’t measure.  The fish had to be 20cm to count and I think my first fish was around the  eighteen and half centimetre mark. I was gutted!  All I wanted was one fish to measure and then I probably would have relaxed a bit. I fished through my first beat pretty quickly trying to pick up fish in the likely places they would be but nothing. So my plan was to work through the water that I was allocated; it  wasn’t my favourite stretch. I needed to get to a stretch were I have had a lot of success in the past. I got to that water just before the second session so my first session was a wash out with fish being caught but no measures. A blank went down for my fist session.

The second session started a little better with more fish being caught but yet again all fish were under size! I thought to my self this can’t be happening to me! I then  finally landed a fish that measured! I’m not religious but I thought ‘Thank God for that!’ After that I went on to catch another and lost two more which were better fish. The two I caught were enough for me to win my session and I also went on to win all my session’s after that.

I  took 3rd place overall, with Wales taking the gold medal!  A big congratulations to my mucker Terry Bromwell who won the Top Rod and also won the biggest fish trophy. Well done mate! You deserve it. Finally, a big congratulations to the Welsh team for winning gold and making it an experience that I will never forget, thanks lads! You are a bunch top guys.

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Below you can see from left to right, Terry Bromwell (Individual 1st, top rod and winner of the best fish), Kieron Jenkins 2nd, Lewis Hendrie (England) 4th and me, 3rd.

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The gold medal

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The experience I had that day was like no other.  The nerves, then the excitement of coming third and being in  a team that took gold is just indescribable. More so, I really enjoyed the presentation in the night and also met up with some cracking people, made new friends and finished with really good memories that will last a life time; an experience that I will never forget. Thanks lads for sharing it and being there!

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