Last Saturday, our young friend Doug fished in his first mini-competition up on New York's 9 Mile Creek. It was a one day event with 20 anglers entered, two of them in the youth category, that was full of challenges for young and old alike. At the 6:00AM start, the river level was up some from recent rains and lightly stained. By the afternoon sessions, heavy rains came and stained it further and increased the flows. Doug was undaunted by the conditions and met the challenge head on.
(Click photo to enlarge)
The format is fairly straightforward; each angler fishes two, two-hour sessions on two different beats. One session in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. When the angler is not fishing, he is controlling another angler that is fishing - controlling is simply watching an angler to make sure they are following the rules and to measure and tally the fish that are caught. The system works quite well.
Here's how the day went in some of Doug's words:
Well, the thing started at 6am so everyone was pretty tired and groggy. I controlled an angler during the first session. He had on absolutely incredible beat and he landed 13 fish bouncing at least 6 more. The water was high and quite stained for most of the day, but the fish had no problem seeing duller flies.
(Then) I fished a fairy short beat (8) with a lot of nice runs (I fished sessions two and four). I landed 15 - about 8 of them on sexy walts, but about 4 more were on a 16 ginger tungsten torpedo, 2 on a 16 frenchie, and 1 on my quill jig nymph.
Then I controlled Andy K who is one of the nicest, funniest guys I have ever meet. He caught 11 in the pouring rain. And then I fished beat 4 in session 4, and I landed 10, mostly on frenchies and sexy walts, along with a few on san juans. The sessions were two hours long. Most of the fish were browns, but I landed two wild rainbows and saw some brookies. This is a great creek......it's right up my ally.
At the end of the day when the points were tallied, Doug's points landed him in 5th place overall out of the 20 anglers. He caught a total of 25 fish - 15 in one session, and 10 in the other! Considering this was his first comp ever and the less than ideal conditions on a river he had never fished, he did fantastic! In the photo above he had just netted his only double of the day - his smile says it all.
When Doug emailed me to let me know he caught 25 fish, I asked him in fun,"Why didn't you catch 26 fish?!
His response, "Well, I actually bounced/lost around ten more fish sooo..... But on a bright note I landed a double!
I'd say the whole experience was a bright note - way to go, Doug!