Elite Performance Programme (EPP) 2021 – Event 4, River Annan (River)

EPP Event 4 brought the anglers up to Dumfries (Scotland) to fish on the River Annan. Harry Fox was unable to make the event and was replaced by Peter Clark.

Del Spry took an early lead

The river was low but holding a little colour, as is often the case with freestone rivers. Good numbers of fish were caught from the off, with Del Spry taking an early lead catching 17 fish across his four morning session pegs. The fishing was trickier in the afternoon, Gillaum Vermeulen being the only angler to catch in every one of his sessions.

The fishing was expected to get increasingly tougher on Day 2, however Howard Croston and Scott Nellins both caught good numbers of fish from pegs 2 and 6 early in the day to keep themselves in contention.

Mark Withyman was the only angler to catch on every peg

It was over to the afternoon anglers, with those now acting as controllers trying to figure out where they’d finished and if they’d done enough to make one of the teams. Del Spry continued his Day 1 form to win Group A, just ahead of Mark Withyman who was the only angler to catch on every peg. Howard Croston had done enough to win Group B and take the overall Event 4 victory.

The fishing went right down to the wire, and one more fish caught in the last few seconds of the match would have changed the anglers qualifying in both the World and European teams.

177 fish were caught and released by the anglers over the two days. Tactics largely focused on nymph fishing and dry fly.

The results from Event 4 are below:

2021 EPP League – Final Positions

Event 4 brought the 2021 EPP to a close, the final league positions are as below. As you can see, the results were incredibly close, with only 1 point separating anglers from 4th to 8th. The fishing really did go down to the wire for qualification places.

The anglers finishing in positions 1-5 are eligible to fish in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Spain 2022. The anglers finishing in positions 6-10 are eligible to represent England at the 2023 European Fly Fishing Championships (Venue TBC).

Congratulations to James Atkinson on becoming the 2021 EPP champion, winning the event at his first attempt with solid performances across each of the venues.

The 2022 EPP is currently being scoped, full details to follow. Due to Covid forcing the European Championships to be pushed back an additional year, there is currently a misalignment in the Team England qualification process. Therefore, it is expected that the 2022 EPP will be used as a vehicle to select only one team which will represent England at the 2023 World Fly Fishing Championships.

Report: Terry Phillips

Images: Terry Phillips & AT TEFF Press Officer

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