Lubin Pfeiffer’s World Fly Fishing Championship Experience

I don’t think too many of us has experienced the World Fly Fishing Championship , but Kaydo Pro Team member Lubin Pfeiffer has , and Kaydo has asked him to share this honour in representing Australia and his experiences in this year’s recent World Fly Fishing Championship. Congratulations to the Australian Team

In September I had the great honour of being part of the Australian Fly Fishing team that competed in the 2016 World Fly Fishing Championships. 25 countries from across the globe competed against the other in order to claim the world title. The competition was held in Vail, Colorado in the USA on 4 river sectors and a lake. Australia’s team was made up of five fishing members, the captain, manager and a reserve. The rivers and lakes of Vail were simply amazing places to fish and it was a very tightly contested competition. We arrived in the USA in late August to practice as a team and get a handle on how to catch the fish on the different venues. With only 2 weeks to nut them out, we definitely had our work cut out for us!

A stunning Eagle River brown trout

A stunning Eagle River brown trout

The Location

Vail, Colorado is an absolutely stunning place to fish. Its about 2500 metres above sea level high in the mountains up from the city of Denver. The town is surrounded by the White River national Forrest and is a fly fisherman’s paradise with many rivers and lakes just full of fish. What I really liked about the area is the very diverse fishing. It had everything, from great nymphing water, streamer fishing and sensational dry fly fishing. I particularly enjoyed the very technical tiny dry fly to large rainbow trout. The area had great hatches during the day and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of fish available to catch. The competition venues were the upper and lower Eagle River, the Colorado River, the Blue River, and Lake Sylvan. These venues provided a great dynamic range of fishing which made for a fantastic championship.

Team member Jon Stagg fighting a fish on the Eagle River

Team member Jon Stagg fighting a fish on the Eagle River

Over the two weeks we practiced in Vail, we spent most of our time on the three competition venues. The organisers allocate areas where it is possible to practise which is not in the competition water which gave us an opportunity to try a get a game plan for the championship. Each day we would pair up with another team member and pick a section of river and use various techniques to find out which would work best and when. The other major component we had to discover was which flies we would be using during the competition. At the end of each day we would have a team meeting to discuss tactics and also compile flies that worked. After the first week we really started to see a pattern that was emerging and we were then able to narrow down a selection of flies. This meant that we could then work on our techniques and what type of water was best for each. Heading in to the championships we had a good feel as to what each team member would be doing depending on what type of water they drew.

The fishing around Vail was incredible!

The fishing around Vail was incredible!

Heading To The Championship

The two weeks of practice went very quickly and it was then time to head to the competition head quarters which was the Evergreen Lodge in Vail. Its awesome to have so many world class fly fishers in the same building and it definitely got the nerves going! The captains meeting and the draw was done which decides which anglers are going to what venues and when. This is one of the most important moments for the anglers. After a debrief by the captain on the meeting it was then time to get ready for the formal part of the competition, the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony began with the parade of nations with each team being lead through town by a flag bearer, these were children from the local school. It really is such a great feeling representing your country at a sport you love and when you’re looking at the Aussie flag along with all the other countries, it really sinks in! The parade of nations is followed by an opening ceremony and the championships were declared open. The next two days are offical practise days before the three days of competition started.

Team Australia during the parade of nations

Team Australia during the parade of nations

Game Day

It was quite surreal standing out the front of the lodge with all the other countries waiting to board the bus to the first venue of the championship. A lot of time and practise had gone into getting to this moment! Each bus would take 25 anglers to fish a venue before moving them to the next. The first day consisted of a morning and afternoon session, the second day just a morning session and the last day had a morning an afternoon session. My draw had me headed to the Colorado River for the first session and then Lake Sylvan. The next day I was fishing the Blue and the last day was the Upper and Lower Eagle River. The fishing and wading was very challenging on my Colorado beat, and I dropped a few fish which I was disappointed about. This place me lower in the field and I was going to have to make it up for the team on the lake. Lucky for us we have lots of lake practise here in Australia and I was able to score a 4th for my session which really helped the team out. The next day on the Blue I drew a good beat and managed eight fish for my three hour session giving me a 6th place. Along with the great effort of the other team members Australia was sitting in the top ten heading in to the last day.

The team on the first morning of the championships

The team on the first morning of the championships

Last Competition Day

Australia was sitting in 7th place as a team heading in to the last day and we were hopeful of either keeping that spot or advancing a little higher. Although I did well on my Eagle River session compared to anglers who had fished it before me it was not enough to place in the top five for that session. My last session was my toughest and I only managed one fish to save the blank. Overall I was really happy and placed 40th from 125 anglers. This had four of the five Aussies in the top 50 (16th,18th,32nd,40th) which held the 7th postion from 25 teams. This was Australia’s best result in the last 15 titles. Spain did an amazing job to claim a consecutive world title (after winning in Bosnia last year) with France taking the silver and USA the bronze.

Final team standings at the 2016 World Fly Fishing Championships

Final team standings at the 2016 World Fly Fishing Championships

Lubin Pfeiffer

About Lubin Pfeiffer

Accomplished angler Lubin Pfeiffer lives in South Australia’s glorious Barossa Valley and is fortunate to have started fishing from a very young age. He enjoys all facets of the sport, targeting the vast majority of inshore species that inhabit waters of the southern states. Lubin holds the honour of representing Australia three times at an international level in competition fly fishing.


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