It was only 13 countries taking part, still all the best were here. So competition was tight all the way to the end. Finland cleaned the table, which was not suprise. Team has been practising for this many summers before event. Finland won team gold and personal gold and silver. There was 4 Finnish in top 5. In teams France got silver, Spain bronze and Slovakia was fourth, marginally out from medal. I had priviledge to guide team Slovakia before competition. It could have something to do on their success.
It was fair competition even there is some parran pärinää (talking afterawards). Finnish team had international supervisors watching during the river beats, lake they had someone from other team. So it was fair from that point. I was bus host to group C and I was able to watch all of them. Satu was bus host for other group so we had good inside look. There was some issues which could effect for England and Slovakia during lake sessions but that it is happening everywhere and you need to have some luck also. So let’s just say shit happens.
There was not big differences about flies competitors were using. So in the end it was all about tactics and reading the water. Fishing technique is mostly nymphing and all of them are really good on that. There is some small things which they do but nothing which I wouldn’t know allready. Like kicking the bottom and feeding the fish like that, it is forbidden during comp so they have made different kind of walking techinics for that. No one used my grayling dance, which would be legal and effective. After comp I got best flies from one competitor. There was one fly which was suprising me, I would never thought to try that one but it was really good for spooky fish, hooked earlier. I’m sorry that I can’t open which fly it was, I think it is secret weapon for Slovakia on coming comps also.
Tactics and reading the water is the thing. Everyone knows that reading the water is how you catch a fish but during the comp, it is also about tactic. There was some competitors who said that they have problems to read water, especially one with no face, deep and fast water, like channels. It is not just those are difficult to read but also difficult to fish. I was able to watch how you beat those challenge and get fish. You really need to push yourself to limit and even be ready to ”swim” for reaching good spots. Or rather swim after reaching good spot, current can make a trick.
I was able to see how Kristian Sveda, bronze medalist from 2019 Tasmania, got 35 fish from beat, where others before him got 17 or less. He got 25 fish from hole where others before him got 1 or two. It was all about efficiency and accuracy, and flies of course. For me it was great see him fishing because that beat is one of my favourite in Kitka. In same session I saw how Jari Heikkinen, coming silver medalist, decided to start with dries. Why? Because there had been 3 competitors before him on beat and graylings had seen all the different nymphs all ready. He got 20 graylings plus little more with nymphs, totally 31 grayling from beat.
All these things what I saw in Kitka just made my thoughts stronger about how I have been guiding and fishing. Dry flies are always good to try, even there is no hatching. Fishing pressure is mostly coming by nymphing so something on surface will work. Graylings love sun, so fishing is mostly better where sun can shine. I got some new ideas also but those I will test first and then share with you.
Lakes were more difficult and there was lot zero catches. I think we will handle that on different FP little bit more later. Now I have to run, guiding is waiting.
Have a nice weekend
Mika the Legend