Final Day of the World Fly Fishing Masters Championships in Spain

by | Apr 27, 2018 | world fly fishing championships | 4 comments

I apologize for the lack of photos but when competing there’s little time for pictures.


The jetlag, exhaustion and all that challenging stuff I experienced because of arriving the day the World Fly Fishing Masters Championship are gone after the full day of rest yesterday.  That’s why 5:30 am coffee and breakfast didn’t come early enough today here in Asturias Spain. I simply couldn’t wait to get Sessions 3 and 4 and the final day of competition underway.


One of the reasons for my excitement was that I was ready for Team USA to make the move for the podium.  We began today in 5th place but only two placing points from 3rd and not too far from 2nd.  I like medals and I wanted our team to earn one before the day ended.


After the 45 minute bus ride to the La Roca Restaurant where we picked up our controllers, my group headed for Sector 3 on the Piloña River.  I drew Beat 5.  It was a gorgeous stretch of water with a slow moving lower section and a fast moving upper.  Because it was early and too cool for a hatch, my strategy was nymph the top first and cross my fingers for some dry fly action on the bottom the last hour before my three hour session came to an end.


At 9 am when the session began it was mostly sunny.  I worked my way upstream with my dry dropper set up.  My Elk Hair Caddis danced on the surface while my custom tied Mike Sexton nymph dredged about 30” below.  I was fishing a short line and ready for the strike with my hand on the net.  These little browns have a nasty tendency to fall off the hook if you’re not quick with the net.


Unlike Sessions 1 and 2 where I sweat a little before getting that first fish, this morning, only 30 minutes in, my caddis dove and I set.  A 25 cm brown flew towards me and I netted him from midair.  It was a no stress catch and my controller Pablo was as excited as I.  NO BLANK!


I continued my way up the fast water methodically covering every inch of wild Spanish brown trout water.  I caught more browns but each was too small to measure.  It seemed impossible that I couldn’t catch another measurable brown trout but it was a reality.  I reached the top end boundary of my beat without catching another fish.


These next two pics (taken by the competition photographer)


I had a little more than an hour to go.  I ran back to the bottom of my beat to dry fly fish my slow water.  I hoped desperately that there would be some rising trout.  When I arrived there was screaming and hollering from the beat below.  The competitor fishing there was Isai Manuel Ferreras of Team Spain.  He had a fish in the net and he was headed for his controller.


I thought to myself, “It must be his first of the session because of the excitement”.  But it was the opposite.  Isai was rolling and that fish must have been his fourth.  Because minutes later he landed another and I now know he got a total of 5.


Although Isai’s success was distracting I had to tend to my own business.  I eased my way into position to make blind casts on my slow water.  Just like covering water blind with my nymph above, I did the same with the dry.


My efforts with the CDC PMD dry went unanswered and time was blazing by.  I was considering taking off the dry and swinging two nymphs through my slow water when suddenly a tiny splash broke the surface on my fly.  I struck and the fish was on.  Five strips and I had my second measurable fish to the net.


The two fish would be all I caught for Session 3.  This scored me a 4.  Isai the Spaniard scored a 1 with his five fish in the beat below me.  There were only two blanks.


When I arrived at the La Roca and met up with the rest of Team USA there was good news.  None of us blanked.  Sam fished for Scott this morning and scored a 4.  Mike scored a 3 and Pete a 6.  Most importantly, Team USA moved into a placing points tie with Team France for 3rd Place.


There have been so many blanks in this competition that at lunch we agreed – all we must do is make it through Session 4 without a blank.  The pressure was on each of us not to let the others down.  I was headed to Sector 2 – the smallest fastest part of the Piloña.  The nymphing section.  I’d have to pull out all my old skills.


I drew Beat 8.  While most the beats of Sector 2 flowed through a small town with easy access, mine was above town and through a jungle of forest and in a steep canyon.  I’ll admit it was intimidating but I knew what I had to do.


I had to put the dries and the dry dropper away and get deep and dirty with two nymphs.  Just in case I got this type of beat, at lunch Mike gave me a heavy size 12 nymph for my point fly and a smaller lighter nymph for my dropper.  I knew that if over the next three hours I hit every single fishy-looking spot of my gushing beat I’d get a fish.


These pics (taken by the competition photographer) are of my friend Jannie Bornman of Team South Africa.  Jannie fished Sector 2 on the first day.  Not sure what beat Jannie had but it may well have been 8.  This gives you an idea of how my Session 4 went down!



Things didn’t start well.  Ten minutes before the 4 pm start time I finished my assessment of how to go about fishing my beat.  I had to get to the other side of the Piloña.  I told my controller my plan and went to the other side of the river before the tourney started so I’d be ready.  On my wade over I learned that these rocks were different than those in the beats I’d been in.  Each rock was like ice – the most slippery part of the river.  I fell in before the session even got started!


My waders were full of water with five minutes before start time.  I was cold but decided there was no time to try to fix my uncomfortable situation.  At 4 pm I went for it and began my systematic covering of water with my nymphs.  It was a wise move not to empty the waders because in the first five minutes I fell in again.  The wading was BRUTAL!


I fished so hard and thoroughly for the entire three hours that I forgot I was cold and wet.  I was in a trance.  In fact, when my first fish struck 55 minutes in it took a second for me to realize it wasn’t time for the next cast but rather it was time to fight a fish.  And that first one fought hard.  He was my biggest brown of the trip and he shot down the rapid.  One step after him and I slipped and was swimming.  Three times I tried to get him in my net and missed.  Finally, with my head literally half underwater I got him in.  I stumbled and fell and swam my way to my controller.  By miracle I made it and the fish measured 31.7 cm!  NO BLANK!


I didn’t feel the cold or care about my Simms waders full of water.  I didn’t notice my banged knees or other wounds that came.  The only thing I noticed it was significantly harder to move.  But I didn’t let any of it stop me.  It was time for a second fish and knowing these browns share the good spots I went back to where I got the first and got another almost immediately.  Once again I stumbled and swam to my controller. Two fish!


I knew right then my score was sitting pretty but also that if we were going to steal 3rd place from the French I may need another.  There was plenty of competition left and back to my focus I went.


A good hour and a half passed.  It was 20 minutes till 7 and I was stuck on two fish.  I couldn’t believe I didn’t find another.  There was a very deep pool with a trickle of murky water entering from the far bank.  To get there I’d have to take on more water over my waders which at this point didn’t matter.  Off I went and on my first cast I caught a 20.6 cm trout!  Yes!


By the time I got that fish to my controller and measured him there were 10 minutes left.  You know it – I went right back over but no such luck again.  Mid cast my controller waved his hands and yelled, “Finito!”


I was glad it was over.  That was the most demanding beat I can remember.  By 7:05 the cold crept into my body.  The water in my waders felt disgusting.  And aches and pains began to ring from head to toe.  But my brain, what was left of it after the three hour spell, was so relieved.


It was a long bus ride soaked and sore to the bone.  Again however, my success made it easily tolerable.  I was the last of Team USA to return to the hotel.  I couldn’t wait to tell them I didn’t blank and crossed my fingers to hear back the same.  And I did.  All four of us on Team USA avoided the blank!


The problem however was that we were wrong thinking if we didn’t blank we’d get 3rd.  What if the French didn’t blank either?  They didn’t and in fact three of them scored perfect 1’s.  Dang!  We got the wooden medal – 4th Place.


We’re definitely disappointed.  We thought we made a great comeback like we did in Portugal last year but we didn’t.  Nonetheless it was a great effort and I’m proud of my team.  I’m also pleased that Mike and I made the top ten for individuals.  Mike led the way at 7th overall and I got 8th.  I’ve made the top ten all three years that I’ve been in the Masters.  Isai is the new World Champion Masters.





Exhausted.  Banged up.  But ready to join the team across the street at the local pub.  Tomorrow it’s the medal ceremony and closure to this great event.  I’ll have one more blog from Spain tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Rick

    Hey Jeff, well written and very exciting! Congrats to the team for 4th and to you for your personal accomplishment. I’m going to Portugal in June and have scheduled a guide in Braga. He asked if I’ve ever fly fished in Portugal or Europe, which I thought was a funny question, but maybe he’s planning to take me to some rough water like you endured! I prefer the calm slow waters where you can cast a dry.
    Take care, be safe,

  2. Jeff

    Thanks Rick! So glad you enjoyed and I hope your Portugal trip goes excellent. I do love fly fishing in Europe and I’m certain you’ll have a fantastic time. Thanks for reading and the comment!

  3. Kristen Sorensen

    Your story put a smile on my face! Woods not so bad. Congrats!

  4. Jeff

    Thanks Kristen. We are stoked!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!