Grit, Perseverance and Perfection but Still Short of Podium

by | Oct 8, 2021 | world fly fishing championships | 3 comments

Team-USAMorning comes early when you need to be up at 4:30.  But me and the USA Masters Fly Fishing Team headed out on the final day of the competition here in the Czech Republic.  We had work to do.  After the first two sessions our team sat at 4th place.  Unfortunately, there was distance between us and 3rd place Italy.  But we were confident we could make points up.


Morava-RiverI headed for Sector 3 which is the lower part of the Morava River.  Though last week I practice fished similar Morava sections, I was anxious to see my beat.  The results on Sector 3 from Day 1 were all over the board ranging from 5 fish to 20 fish.  There’s a rumor that some beats were stocked with as many as 30 rainbows.  To me this takes the fun out of it.  I’d prefer seeking out a few wild fish as this is a much better measure of fishing skill.  But nonetheless, those results definitely lean towards some beats being stocked.  A quick search for them my first 30 minutes of competition would be wise.


World-ChampionshipsI drew Beat 5.  When I got there my judge was waiting with a smile and a steaming hot cup of coffee from his thermos.  The folks here in the Czech Republic have been amazingly hospitable to us since Jerry and I arrived ten days ago.  I gave him one of my extra Team USA hats and a pin.


There was time to check out my water before the start of 8 AM.  It was 7:15 and not nearly as dark as when I arrived at my first beat two days ago.  That day it was raining.  Today was shaping up to be a gorgeous fall day.  There was fresh frost on the ground but I knew that would melt off once the sun rose.


Fish-Czech-RepublicMy beat was really nice water but super hard to access.  The river was covered in overhanging trees, bushes and vines.  I picked out my deepest pool and run and made a decision to hunt it with my double streamer rig immediately to start the tourney. Regardless of my disliking of stocked fish, if they were here I may as well rack them up and try to win this thing.  Once my double rig was set up I rigged up my Czech nymphing set up and a dry fly rod.


flyfishingThe bell rang at 8 AM and I went to work with my streamers.  It wasn’t easy to launch two flies through my jungle setting but I managed with some sidearms carefully placed.  The hole looked so good I expected to hook up on the first cast but no – one cast, two cast, five cast, ten casts – nothing.  Ten minutes went by and I was half way down this pool.  I was losing confidence in my approach.  After twenty minutes I was sure there were no easy stockies for me to catch.  Bad deal.


There was another hole worthy of a stockie check so I reeled in and ran to it.  I hit it hard for ten minutes but nada.  My beat did not have much in the way of stockies.  I’d wasted about 35 minutes and had a big fat zero to show for it.  I kept my cool but deep inside I needed a fish.


Czech-nymphingI had some good looking nymphing water.  I went to work on it.  I had one of David Chlumsky’s heavy nymphs on the point and a lighter version of his as the dropper.  They were about 55 cm’s apart on 6X.  It’s a risky set up with so many overhanging trees but ten days of practice has my short casts up to par.  Fish still weren’t jumping on the line but I managed a scorable brown trout then on my very next cast a grayling.  Ahh – relief!


Czech-brown-troutI knew I was still way behind other competitors.  Especially those fortunate to have stockies in their beats.  At 9 AM I had the two fish.  But about every 20 minutes or so afterwards I picked up another.  Slowly but surely, I was adding countable fish.  It was hard work.  I had a bad hang up on an invisible wire crossing the river above my head that cost me my entire rig and valuable repair time, but I kept at it.  I fished hard.  **** happens and you can’t let it phase you in competition.


graylingI won’t go on and on but in the end I scored a mere seven fish.  It was terrible and out of my group it scored me a heartbreaking 9.  I knew it was a devastating blow for our team to move to medal contention.  A huge slice of humble pie.


flyfishingThe bus picked everyone up one by one and then we headed for lunch.  The fish catch numbers were low.  The most was 12 by the Italian and most others had between 5 and 10 fish.  There were three of us with 7 and the length of mine were smaller.  Not one big stockie to help me out.  Just a handful of little 25 cm browns and grayling.


flyfishingJerry, who doesn’t fish the comp by the way, he’s our team manager and sponsor, met both Mike and I.  While I was deflated, I was surprised to find Mike more disappointed.  Mike fished the lake and scored dead last with one fish – a miserable 12.  Its crazy.  Over the years Mike and I usually lead the team and here we were crushed at lunch sharing substandard scores with Jerry.  Such a great meal but it didn’t taste all that good.



But there was good news.  Far upstream the results of Pete and Bret were outstanding.  Pete scored a 3 and Bret won his session.  This means he scored a 1.  There were two ways to look at this:  First – “Great we are still in it thanks to Pete and Bret!” or 2 – “Dang it!  If only I had done better also!  We’d be there!” It was a tough one for Mike and I to swallow but we finished lunch and headed to session 4.  It was my turn for the lake and Mike to Sector 3.  Perhaps we could both redeem ourselves.


flyfishingI had two feelings about the lake.  One, I was worried.  Mike is one of our top lake guys and he only caught one.  No doubt the fish were feeling the pressure after 3 sessions from really excellent anglers.  The other feeling however was good.  I thought, this will be hard on most contestants and I’m going to kick some butt.  And that’s the groove I went with.


Jeff-CurrierI had the pleasure of sharing the boat with Polish angler, Józef Lach.  Though Józef doesn’t speak any English, we are friends and have competed against each other going way back to 1998 when I made my first trip to Europe.


lake-fliesWe each fished three flies at the same time.  Mine were about what I’ve pictured here.  I fish lake flies about 5 feet apart, normally on a level stretch of 0X Fluorocarbon.  Being it was session 4 and the fish were beaten down, I went with 2X.  Every contestant had a similar rig.  It was now all about finding fish and then catching them.


rainbow-troutI’d go on to land five rainbows in three hours.  It may not sound like much but the lead scorer got eight.  Józef landed only two.  I finally made it above the middle of the pack. Still dissatisfactory in my mind because I wanted a 1, but in this tourney I took it happily.  It’s been a challenge.


flyfishingThe bus ride home was spectacular.  The lake is furthest away from the Wellness Hotel Diana.  The day remained clear and cool and the low hanging northern sun lit the valleys.  The guys I compete against are great.  They are my European friends and although there’s a language barrier, we somehow get the point across when we talk.  It was a fun ride.  All the way I was crossing my fingers that the other guys did well.


flyfishingWell, they did do well.  It turns out that Mike enjoyed his afternoon on Sector 3 and scored a 2.  Pete got a 10.  And Bret, scored another 1 by landing 59 grayling on Beat 2 of Sector 1.  Thank goodness for Bret!


Bret-BishopIts dinner and pilsner time now.  Unfortunately, we missed the medal podium as a team and must settle for 4th place.  Honestly, it’s a good placing being we competed against entirely European teams.  But the big news is the podium is not completely without the USA.  Bret’s incredible day of scoring back to back 1’s has earned him the bronze medal.  You can’t imagine what an accomplishment it is to come to Europe and take home a medal.  We are stoked and it’s time to party!


More to come in the conclusion of the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships from Czech Republic tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Kristen Sorensen

    Wosh. That sounds tough. You’re right, 4th is a good fight!

  2. Dan Yeast

    Congrats and double congrats to Bret.

  3. Jeff

    Thanks guys!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

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!