Finally, the fly fishing competition season kicked off after more than two years of pause, and I was very excited and hungry for it. A week before my first competition in 2022, which was a lake bank two sessions, my friend Adrian Vlasiu called me and proposed to join him in a competition on Dedinky lake in Slovakia.
At the beginning, I was hesitating, but then I remembered the payback I had to this lake from the 2017 World Fly Fishing Championship where I lost too many fish, and I ended up with only four after a three-hour session. But I try to learn from my mistakes otherwise, why are we doing competitions if not to learn. Now I had a chance to prove myself that I'm a better angler.
After two weeks of preparation, tying flies, and thinking about strategies, I finally arrived at the hotel on the 5th of May, which happened to be my birthday. It was time to celebrate but Adrian and I were to tired, so we just discussed the schedule and got to bed.
The schedule was quite simple: Friday was the training day, Saturday was the competition, and Sunday morning was the return home. So we set up the alarm clock for the following day around 7h30 am. Next day weere supposed to meet with our competition host Peter Bienek to get fishing licenses and a boat for our training day.
After a good sleep, I could feel the excitement of going fishing on Friday morning. Around 9h30 am we get to the lake where we meet with Peter, we get all the preparation done: boat, rods, motor, fishing licenses, and I was finally ready to make my first cast on Dedinky lake in 2022. After a short discussion with Peter about the lake, I realized it's not going to be easy. The lake had mostly wild fish or holdovers from previous stocking. For this event they stocked only 450 fish: a low number for the size of the water. My courage came back when I saw lots of rises in the middle of the lake, giving me hope that will catch a few fish. We had a flat calm, no wind at all: that's pretty bad because it's impossible to cover it by doing natural drifts. We had to use the electric motor and constantly move to cover new water and find the fish. After we watched a few locals we understood that everybody is chasing the rises, a tactic that provides us at the end of the day with 8-9 fish for each of us: a good results for the fishing conditions. I got all my fish using a slow intermediate, and a floating line, a long leader with three flies, some leach patterns and chironomids. I tried faster-sinking lines like di3 and di5 and also dries but with no success. The fish were on the surface feeding on buzzers.
Saturday, the competition was to start around 7h30 am. We arrived at the competition site and I was pleased to see so many competitors getting ready to fish and organizers working out last minute details. The atmosphere was amicable, peaceful, and people were very welcoming.
The competition format was quite different from what I already experienced, but I liked it. We were three people in a boat, two competitors and one controller fishing for 2h30 then one of the competitors and the controller switched roles. We were three groups of 18 anglers which made a total of fifty four. The lake was divided into sectors A and B, so each competitor fished 2 sessions and controlled one.
After the draw, I was lucky enough to get in the boat with Peter Bienek and Zdenek Marek, starting the first session in sector A with Peter as a boat partner and Zdenek as a controller. In the second session Peter controlled me and Zdenek fishing in sector B.
Finally we heard the gunshot, and the first session started. We decided to fish around the bank: apparently the fresh stoked fish liked to stay 5-6 meters from the shore and what we did in practice was good but not for getting good numbers of fish. The only problem with fishing close to the bank is that the lake has a good population of chub. I set up my 7wt rod with a fast intermediate line, a long leader, 3 flies with 3 feet apart. The top dropper was a pink salmon leach, middle dropper was a Tristan leach and the point a simple black leach with orange bead. Peter used a slow intermediate line with 3 leach patterns but with a bit less distance between them.
In about 10 minutes Peter landed a wild brown trout and two minutes after I landed a wild brook trout. In another 45 minutes close to the bank Peter got another brown and I had a few inquiries. Then we decided to move towards the middle of the lake where Peter got a wild rainbow.
With only 30 minutes left to the session, at that point we decided to try one more time near the bank, but closer to the docks. On my first cast I landed my second fish: a rainbow. And in the last 5 minutes of the session I landed my third: a nice 38 cm rainbow. My first two fish took the flies on the hang and the last one came on figure-eight retrieve.
Our three fish each would got us good placing points. Only eight anglers got fish, and the other ten blanked. Peter placed second with 101cm and I placed 3rd with 95cm.
After 30 minutes break, the gunshot announced the start of the second session. I fished sector B with Zdenek Marek as a boat partner and Peter Bienek as a controller. After a short discussion with Zdenek we decided to start once again closer to the bank targeting the freshly stocked fish.
First cast: Zdenek landed a rainbow. The wind picked up then and we actually had drifts towards the shore, which gave us the possibility to cover more water. As soon as we reached our targeted zone about to five meters from the shore, Zdenek landed another fish and I got my first of the second session. That gave me a huge relief for saving the blank.
Another drift and Zdenek landed his third fish and I got broken off. On the the next cast I landed my second fish, then we moved towards the middle of the lake. Right at the start of our drift, while retrieving I got a hard hit, we saw a big splash and my point fly was missing…another fish broke me off… I have to mention that during the first session, some monster 50+ cm wild brown got caught. Slowly we drifted close to shore and Zdenek landed his 4th fish. With only 20 m left, we decided to try a short drift towards the bank wich gave me my 3rd fish and Zdenek landed his 5th.
I ended up with 3 fish and 4 placing. Zdenek got 2 placing points with 5 fish.
I used slow intermediate line with 12 foot long leader and 3 flies. Once again the salmon leach gave me two fish and one fish came on a small wet fly. A retrieve with long strips and stops worked well, the fish took on the pause.
At the end, I placed 6th with 7 placing points from a total of 54 competitors: a very satisfying result for me. But more satisfying was that I made a lot of new friends and I had the opportunity to fish with very good anglers.
Thank you to the organizers and all the competitors for this great event. I am very grateful for the positive experience I had on Dedinky lake.