Today was the first day of the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships here in Covilha, Portugal. This is a weeklong event so the break down is like this: today opening ceremonies – tomorrow official practice – Wednesday official competition Day 1 – Thursday relaxation day – Friday official competition Day 2 and Saturday the award ceremony and event closing dinner.
The opening ceremony was scheduled late today giving us time for some morning fishing. Me and the team headed out for three hours to the practice section of the upper Zezere River. Not only was this nice to get the gear out and organized but also to have an actual look at what’s hatching on the river with a fly rod in hand.
While I was rigging my new 4-weight Winston Air I spotted some stonefly shucks on some of the rocks. During further examination I stumbled into an adult stonefly hiding under a rock. He’s remarkably similar to our golden stones back home so I tied on a yellow Parachute Madam X.
As I mentioned yesterday, the trout here are mostly a unique strain of brown trout nick named the “zebra browns”. I’ve fished them twice before – in Spain in 2003 and again here in Portugal in 2006. What I remember most is how incredibly small and wild and how spooky they are. Hands down, my best success came from literally crawling up the river on my hands and knees casting straight upstream so they couldn’t see me.
Because it was just practice, today I didn’t try any crawling. Those crawling days I mention were 20 years back. Its gonna hurt when I have to do it in the competition later this week so I saved the body for now. Instead I watched the other guys crawl. This was fun for me but unfortunately there still were very few fish caught.
I’m not worried. I casted from stand-up position and spent most my time observing and preparing my plan of attack for when my time comes. I saw several of those stoneflies scurry across the river and made note of that. I also caught a bunch of chubs reminding me that during tournament I need to up the size of my flies in order not to be burdened with a fish that doesn’t score for me.
Tonight all Teams and competitors kicked off the Worlds with a parade through the streets of Covilha. The parade is similar to in the real Olympics where teams wear their uniforms and carry their flag. It was a blast and my first chance to catch up with my European friends from other teams.
Should be a good tournament. Stay tuned for more!