19 Teams of 6 anglers gathered at Rutland Water for the inaugural Grand Final of the 2016 Sportfish Team Championship. All had qualified from Regional Heats and following days of practice, the competitors were facing bizarre weather conditions featuring strong winds and rain during the middle of what should normally be Summertime!
Following the briefing, where the normal limit of 8 fish was reduced to 4 and then unlimited Catch & Release, the 57 boats headed out onto a rather choppy Rutland Water. All released fish would count as 2lbs, which was the average weight of trout on Rutland water immediately prior to the Event.
Most boats headed for the main basin, as the windy conditions had churned up the water at the bottom of both Arms. Those areas had been producing some quality grown on trout, but sadly the competitors felt they had a better chance fishing the clearer water near to the Dam.
Carrot Creek proved to be a key area and was out of the wind. Several boats headed there and did very well. Others braved the rough water along Whitwell Shore and those anglers also caught decent numbers of fish.
At the end of Day 1, Fulling Mill Nymphomaniacs had stormed into top place with a team total of 45 trout, weighing 89lbs 8ozs. 2nd were Greenwell Persuaders with 31 fish for 64lbs 13ozs, with Elinor also on 31 fish for 63lbs and 3rd place, while RAF Fish Hawks were 4th, having the same number of fish weighing 62lbs 13ozs.
Kieron Jenkins of the “Nympho’s” was Top Individual Rod with 12 trout weighing 24lbs 1oz, while Sean Jones of BRFFA Drifters had the biggest trout at exactly 5lbs.
In the calmer conditions earlier in the day, Kieron fished with a Fast Intermediate fly line and a team of three flies, casting short ensuring to keep the flies close to the surface. A Biscuit FAB fished on the top dropper accounted for 7 of his 12 fish, whilst a Sparkler Booby fished deeper on a Di 3 was favoured in the afternoon as the wind picked up – The heavier line gave more control in the fierce wind.
Day 2 saw the winds switch direction from SSW to a Westerly and also drop in strength to about 17mph. This encouraged a few boats to venture up the Arms, as the dirty water would now be blown away from these areas.
RAF Fish Hawks had an incredible team total of 46 fish weighing 98lbs 9ozs to take top spot on Day 2, aided by a cracking 7lb 14oz rainbow and total bag of 10 fish weighing 26lb 4ozs for their star man Dave Eames. Welsh Hawks came 2nd with 43 fish for 87lbs 13ozs, thanks to a Captain’s performance from Russell Owen who was Top Rod on the day with 13 trout weighing 26lbs 9ozs.
Fulling Mill Nymphomaniacs came 3rd on the day with 43 fish for 86lbs 3ozs and thereby secured the title of 2016 Sportfish Team Championship champions and with it a cheque for £1500, plus Gold Medals and the Champions Trophy.
RAF Fish Hawks were the Silver Medal Winners and claimed the £1000 prize, while the Welsh Hawks collected the Bronze Medals and a cheque for £500 for finishing in 3rd place.
Kieron Jenkins won an Orvis Reel for being Top Rod on Day 1, as did Russell Owen on Day 2. Sean Jones and Dave Eames also won Costa Sunglasses for their Biggest Fish Awards each day and the Fulling Mill £250 Prize for Top Overall Rod went to Kieron Jenkins, who caught 22 trout over the 2 days for a total weight of 43lbs 14ozs. 2016 Sportfish Team Championship 2016 Sportfish Team Championship 2016 Sportfish Team Champio