Team USA Southwest Regional Comp – Loch Style Fly Fishing
This past weekend some of the best sticks in the west gathered for a qualifying competition for Team USA Fly Fishing. Spread out on two reservoirs just outside of Durango, Valliceto and Lemon, this much can be said…a great time was had by all.
This was my first ever comp and first ever time loch style fishing, so needless to say there was a steep learning curve set in place. Lucky for me in my corner I had seasoned comp fishers Rob Kolanda and Jay Alipit who were willing to talk me through the intricate details that is the comp scene and loch style.We arrived two days early to do some recon on the lakes that we would be fishing and it gave me a chance to dial in the little experience that I have loch style. Let me say that this style of fishing can be deadly when done properly. The use of sinking lines, long rods, and a drogue make life easier and drastically increases your catch rate. The basic idea is that you set a drift with the wind at your back, throw the drogue overboard to slow you down, and cast your flies out using different fly lines depending of fish depth, and play with different retrieves. Fly selection usually centers around stripping pimped out buggers a great bottom anchor fly, and then a combination of natural bugs and other leaches makes up your two point flies. The 10 foot rods help with control and casting the 15-20 foot leaders.
After a plate of enchiladas and a beer the afternoon beat started, again fishing seemed to be very stagnate until the last hour or so where our boat picked up four fish before the buzzer all on egg sucking leaches. The winning count for the afternoon beat was four fish, not a bad three hours. By the end of the first day Kolanda was in the top four and Jay and I were sitting middle of the pack. That evening was spent tying up heat for the next day over at Lemon Res and getting a good nights rest.
That afternoon we ran laps on a pod of fish and we were knocking them down, until I busted my rod mid cast…I opted for a 9′ 4wt super soft Scott G2. The rod was great except for the fact that it was too short. The long rods allow you to leave your long leader outside of the guides while landing, the shorties must be stripped in to the guides and caused me to loose 5 fish in a row, killing me!!!
Overall Kolanda took 5th and I finished towards the end of the pack, but hey thats fishing and I broke my cherry in the comp scene. Many more to come…