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The former world cham­pion's 2018 World Bank Mas­ters com­pe­ti­tion proved a great suc­cess. Even the fish got the memo…

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

Iain Barr re­ports on his World Bank Mas­ters event

COM­PETI­TORS came from as far away as Aberdeen and it re­mains the UK’s big­gest cash prize com­pe­ti­tion, yet still the World Bank Mas­ters re­fuses to go the way of other matches. There’s a re­laxed at­mos­phere, in which an­glers en­joy ban­ter and laughs as much as the com­pe­ti­tion, while ro­tat­ing around the catch and re­lease venue of Far­moor 1. That Aber­do­nian, by the way – she’s 11 years old… She and the other en­trants had to do with­out a Fri­day prac­tice on Far­moor 1, a mea­sure de­signed to en­sure that fish­ing was at its finest when it mat­tered, over the next two days. Stocked on the Mon­day be­fore, fish there­fore had time to spread and ‘nat­u­ralise’.

“Fewer than 30 fish clinched the 2017 Pairs ti­tle but it took more than dou­ble that to win this year’s event.”

Satur­day’s sin­gles event saw 80 an­glers brave cold con­di­tions, and Snakes and other lures claimed most of the deep-ly­ing fish. With shoot­ing heads pro­hib­ited, many opted for the Air­flo Booby Basher line which casts in­cred­i­ble dis­tances with ease. Air­flo Di-7s and Di-5s were also pop­u­lar. Go­ing against this grain was the ever-con­sis­tent Pete Ap­pleby, who used a float­ing line with a heavy Dam­sel lure and fished the ledge with pre­ci­sion; cast­ing over it at about 15 yards and fish­ing the drop to good ef­fect. When the first five pegs were fished, the score­cards re­vealed a three-way tie for the lead. With cash prizes down to 10th place, plenty of an­glers were within range of a pay­day. As tem­per­a­tures rose, the fish re­sponded and, as last year, more fish were caught in the af­ter­noon, even though it usu­ally slows as the day pro­gresses. In the thick of it was the afore­men­tioned pre-teen, Jas­mine McPhee, who had trav­elled down from Aberdeen with her dad and brother. She net­ted three fish to beat both of them, one trout a Far­moor spe­cial of over 4lb. Not only did the re­turn jour­ney to Scot­land prob­a­bly feel shorter, but the smile on her face alone made my run­ning the event feel to­tally worth­while! With a few pegs re­main­ing, it was very tight: Eng­land in­ter­na­tional An­drew Scott push­ing last year’s win­ner Matt Grif­fiths all the way. Pete Ap­pleby and his two sons were up there again but qui­etly tick­ing over were Eng­land and Air­flo Costa Team’s Ben Race and the ‘Nor­we­gian Army’ - Er­lend Nilsen and Terje Hau­gen Lie - all in the hunt. There would be no stop­ping this year’s World Bank Mas­ters Cham­pion, though - An­drew Scott net­ted a whop­ping 24 fish, catch­ing off ev­ery peg, for a to­tal of 34 points. Sec­ond was last year’s cham­pion, Matt Grif­fiths, whose su­perb morn­ing pace could not be sus­tained, al­low­ing An­drew through in the af­ter­noon. Matt to­talled 20 fish off nine pegs, for 29 points. Ben Race had 16 fish from eight pegs for third place, and Er­lend Nilsen and Terje Hau­gen Lie fin­ished fourth and sev­enth re­spec­tively. With Nor­way iced over, the lat­ter two come here for a short break ev­ery year and are al­ways very wel­come. All told, the com­pe­ti­tion pro­duced an im­pres­sive rod av­er­age of 5.7 fish.

Far­moor's fa­mous buzzer hatches

Day two saw the pairs event; this is al­ways a re­laxed af­fair as mates team up for a fun day’s fish­ing, and fun it cer­tainly was, as the wind light­ened and tem­per­a­tures nearly dou­bled after a cold start, prompt­ing a favourable re­sponse from the trout. As tem­per­a­tures rose, trout emerged from all ar­eas, and mar­shals were kept busy mark­ing score­cards. There were very few fast sinkers on show, as fish were mov­ing: many an­glers opted for in­ter­me­di­ate lines or Di-3s. Some an­glers caught well us­ing float­ing lines and Buzzers. Fewer than 30 fish clinched the 2017 Pairs ti­tle but it took more than dou­ble that to win this year’s event; you needed 39 fish just to make the top-five! Rods were bent ev­ery­where as Far­moor’s fa­mous buzzer hatches stoked an ex­cit­ing feed­ing frenzy. When the spray set­tled, Rob Ed­munds’ 29 fish made him the top in­di­vid­ual, and en­sured con­so­la­tion for boat part­ner Matt Grif­fiths, whose 25 fish made the duo run­away win­ners. They fished a mix of sink­ing lines, work­ing up the layers as the fish rose. Many fish were taken just a few yards out, as flies were hung static un­der the rod tip be­fore re-cast­ing. In sec­ond place were Air­flo’s Gareth Jones and Keith Tan­ner, with 48 fish. They, too, care­fully fol­lowed the fish through the layers, tak­ing many fish on the hang. Snakes and lures, in black and green-and-olive, claimed many of the top pairs’ fish. Third was the con­sis­tent Nor­we­gian duo, Er­lend and Terje with 45 fish. An over­all 13.7 rod av­er­age told the story of an in­cred­i­ble day, and those who didn’t win cash prizes still had a shot at cash and tackle prizes worth over £4,000. Tagged fish were in­tro­duced to the lake and for those not caught, their as­so­ci­ated prizes - rods, reels, lines, ty­ing ma­te­ri­als and cloth­ing - were given away in a score­card draw. Even the event’s se­ri­ous side was well-re­ceived – “I’ve only been fish­ing for nine months and I think I gained 20 years’ knowl­edge in two days,” one en­trant told me. I must thank Thames Wa­ter and the Far­moor team for help­ing make the week­end a huge suc­cess. Thanks also to spon­sors Air­flo, Snow­bee, FNF, Fasna Fly­fish­ing, Craghop­pers, Costa Glasses and, of course, to the an­glers for mak­ing this event pos­si­ble at all. I’m already look­ing for­ward to 2019…

Iain Barr: Has fished for Eng­land 24 times across World, Euro­pean, Loch-style and Rivers In­ter­na­tional Teams.

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