England secured a convincing victory in the Autumn International on Friday 23rd September, finishing 29 fish in front of second-placed Scotland.
Although the moderate South Westerly wind repeated the pattern seen for much of the week, the promising cloud cover which welcomed competitors at the start of the match rapidly thinned out to give harsh, bright conditions.
Despite covering the whole reservoir intensively during practice, at the gun nearly all boats headed for an area between G Buoy and the Willows to the North end of the Dam.
England’s Nikki Long got off to a good start, boating five fish within the first ninety minutes. Although the deteriorating weather conditions might have favoured pulling, it was noticeable how the numbers of those figure-of-eighting on floater or midge-tip increased during the morning.
Drifts around D Buoy produced fish early, with Iain Barr having two productive drifts there, but in the afternoon G Buoy and the Jetty switched on, where he continued to catch.
Iain finished as top English rod with 16 fish for 37-6-4, later remarking, “It’s the first time I’ve gone out at the start of a major competition with a floating line…The fish wanted it very slowly, almost static, I think many anglers were moving the flies too quickly”.
Iain’s performance was only eclipsed by Wales’ David Hoppe, who took the Brown Bowl with a stunning 18 fish for 39-10-6. Graham Watson, former England loch-style team manager and his boatman for the day, commented, “This was probably the best display of nymph angling I’ve ever seen”.
Team captain Ed Foster, who himself landed a dozen fish, paid glowing tributes to his team for a consistent performance throughout the practice and the match. Nikki Long finished with 13 fish, Mike Cocks had 9, while new caps Carl Nixon and Tom Davis both landed 8 fish, a great start for their first international! Congratulations to the whole squad, and particularly team manager Richard Slater.
1. England (105 fish) 229-6-10
2. Scotland (76) 168-8-6
3. Wales (62) 137-8-10
4. Ireland (34) 79-13-2
Brown Bowl – David Hoppe (Wales) 18 fish for 39-10-6
(Images courtesy of Cliff Waters, Fishypics)
Full results 2011 Autumn International results
England Team Manager Richard Slater’s report (courtesy of Mid-Northants TFA)
Video of the march down to the boats courtesy of Martin Introna. Stirring stuff!