Fly fishing should be fun! And that is what I’m going to be trying to focus on as the Canadian Fly Fishing Championships rapidly approaches.Â Every so often, when I think about it, I get a bit of a case of “nervousness.”
Competing last year for my very first time was indeed fun! At the same time, it was a bit disappointing for me to say the least, at placing so poorly.Â On the other hand, I gained a lot from the experience through more knowledge as well as the making of new valuable friends and acquaintances.
I know some of the reasons why I did so poorly last year, the biggest being that I was poorly organized and hadn’t made the time to understand the philosophy and rules behind the event.Â And I put a lot of pressure on myself to “not blank.”Â That pressure actually lead to the fact I “blanked” during the majority of the sessions.Â Â Hooking a fishÂ and then not playing it correctly as I was so nervous about losing the fish – it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy.Â I lost fish that I should not have.
Another reason was being poorly prepared in my fly selection. In this, I have a bit of an excuse as the morning of the first day, I did have a selection of flies that I had confidence in and that had been working for me.Â However, there was some miscommunication in regard to the legality of some flies – which meant that based on my new understanding (which later turned out to be incorrect), IÂ had to abandon what I had been planning to use and often wasted time on my beats wondering what to try next.
This year, the “nerves” are about the fact that this year’s competition is all on lakes and ponds – something I have not done a lot of in my fly fishing experience.
But, there are some things about this year’s competition that I’m really happy about.Â First and foremost includes the guys on the team that I’m fishing with.Â This year, as opposed to last year when the event was held in June, our team has had time to get to know each other better, fish together, and really have a great time! We’ve learned together, taught each other some things, and we’ve got a fantastic Captain in Ernie Kalwa.
Ernie has been able to draw upon his own experiences with the Canadian national team competing in Finland this year.Â That’s been very beneficial to all of us.
Last year, it was the first competition for four out of five of us.Â This year, two of the members from last year sadly had to withdraw from the teamÂ this year.Â But that made room for a search for replacements, and two great anglers with previous competition experience in Graham Murfitt and Ivo Balinov have been added.Â Ivo is without a doubt the most skilled caster on our team – watching him shoot in excess of 100 foot casts effortlessly while sitting on a thwart board in a rowboat is something to see!
Meeting Graham was a real boost for me – as he talked to me about making sure that no matter what, to have fun, stick to the game plan, and learn something more about a sport I love. Â We spent three hours together in a boat fishing, learned we both could laugh at our own selves, and although we’re going to do our best and aim for a team medal, we’re also going to not lose sight of the ability to laugh, have fun – and well – fly fishing for three days in a row?!? Sheesh, there’s a LOT of people that would love to have that opportunity, regardless of whether it’s a competition or not!
And of course Arron, whose acquaintance I made last year and am quite proud to now call him a good friend who has been selfless in providing materials, hooks, ideas, suggestions, and is an all round great guy to fish with.
But still, every so often I get a case of the “nerves” and have to remember that this is not just about my own individual performance but how we all support and help each other to do well will be a key to not only doing well as a team, but to our enjoyment of the event.