If you have been following World and European Fly Fishing Championships you have inevitably seen the name Luboš Roza. Usually somewhere high up the rankings. We sat down for a candid interview with Luboš. Enjoy!
Ivo: Luboš, tell us a bit about yourself first. When and how did you start fly fishing? How did you get involved in competitive fly fishing?
Luboš: I started when I was 14. My good friend Milan Cubik was my first teacher. I loved it immediately as I was able to catch a lot of fish in our stream. It was a killer method. I had been fishing since I was 9 but found fly fishing later. Before this I was chasing carp and other species. I always had the passion to fish. Not sure how I managed to graduate university because all that was in my head was fishing. Competing came a year after I started fly fishing. I do different sports and just like opportunity to measure how good one is. Normally, I am not nervous, I enjoy every minute of competition. I take fly fishing as a relaxing activity even when competing. It is important to be successful but anyhow fly fishing competitions are still just fly fishing. Win or loose, nothing will change in your real life. In my first competitive year I was doing well and ended up being nominated for my first youth world champ: I won it and a year later I won again. So I won both youths champs that I took part in. After this my competition "life" got even more intense.
Ivo: Competitive fly fishing remains controversial in the fly fishing world. Even though its popularity is growing substantially each year, many anglers continue to believe that fly fishing should not be a competitive sport. What do you get from competitions? Why is it the right thing for you?
Lubos: Competitions are the only way how to be very happy even when catching very small fish. You can compare your skills with others and then you know how good you really are. I know many good anglers that are not good competitors. During competition you need to keep in your mind a lot more. It is always easy to find a deep hole where you expect to find bigger fish. But during a comp you need to think about how to catch the smaller fish without putting down the big ones so you can catch them later. You need to net your catch fast and still not spook other fish. It is exciting. Most of the time you get a good sense of why you didn't win: too many small details to joggle. Thanks to competitions you grow faster, because after competition you know clearly that your style was not the best. In leisure fishing you don't have this reference point, you are just happy your wife let you spend a day on the water ;) If I am fishing for fun I don't care about loosing some fish, I don't worry about spooking fish and if I catch some all is good, I love it! When I am competing I focus on hooking and landing every fish. Again, I am not nervous and I enjoy the minutes in competition!
Ivo: Your fly-fishing journey is nothing short of impressive: world champion, multiple other medals at the World and European Championships at both the senior and youth level, and a lot more...How do you stay in shape?
Luboš: A friend of mine always says: It is a competition where you can win a bucket of noodles. That's it. I doesn't matter if you win once, twice or ten times. And it will never change nothing important in your life. So either you love competitive fly fishing or not. If yes, you are always happy to win! And every victory is a different story and we say… good stories are never enough! Every competition, even the small local one is a challenge and you want to get the best from you. It is a perfect break for your mind.
Ivo: What is your favourite fly fishing technique and why?
Luboš: Have to say I love all techniques. Every technique is difficult if you want to do it right. I tend to prefer the ones where you get to use the fly line. I think fly fishing is about it. I know that the long nymphing leaders are absolutely killing but I appreciate the fish that I can catch by other methods. If there are a lot of rising fish and one is somewhere where it seems it is impossible to catch, I am willing to stay on it for hours! Don't care about the other fish. I also love sight fishing. It is amazing to be able to see what the fish are doing, how they react, you have to present your fly in the right way…it's just so beautiful! This is what I love!
Ivo: You have fished around the world. What are your favourite places?
Luboš: I love one place…the world…Everywhere I go, I enjoy it. Doesn't matter how many fish you catch as long as its a different experience. Just make your own goal and try to accomplish it… Of course, I like destinations where I can get big fish. I am happy to live in Czech Republic on the border with Slovakia: beautiful country with plenty of rivers full of fish. I love the lakes in England and Ireland, the nature of Yukon in Canada... all nice places in this world.
Ivo: Recently you wrote the book “Flyfishing World”. Its English language edition is coming out soon. I know many people are expecting it. Give us a little teaser. What is it about? New techniques? River fishing, lakes or both?
Luboš: Yes, I tried to share everything I know in this book. You will find a lot of information that I have not read about anywhere. It is not an ordinary fishing book. It shares concrete details on how to be a successful fisherman and at the same time my stories from competitions – real stories. I tried to pack in this book a bit of everything: stories, sketches, important information about lake and river fishing, flies and a lot of great photos. I trust that every fisherman will find something new in it and enjoy reading the book.
Ivo: If you can give one piece of advice to a new fly fisherman, what would be it?
Luboš: Stay in the water. Enjoy the fishing, perceive the nature…fly fishing is about that.
Ivo: And to an experienced fly fisherman?
Luboš: If you are not successful then at least you should look good ;)
The book "Flyfishing World" by Luboš Roza will be available soon in Canada exclusively through Smart Angling.