Scierra Pairs 2019 Final Overview
There are many different types of competition that cater for the individual angler, pairs, teams of 4 and teams of 6 on the fly fishing scene, here we talk about one of the biggest, the Scierra Pairs 2019. The number of competitions means that there is something for everyone and anyone can get started on the competition circuit. Simply “team up” with friends and simply have a go… you will undoubtedly learn from the whole experience.
The Scierra Pairs 2019 National Final was recently held on Grafham Water on September 8th, with 63 pairs battling it out for the £1,500 top prise. Entry to the final was by means of qualification via one of the many heats, held literally all over the UK.
The Scierra Pairs is a great way to gain an introduction into competitive fishing, you fish with your partner, and you can use any fly within the fishers rules included weighted patterns, you are not restricted to international rules, barbless hooks etc… it’s just a case of try and catch the biggest bag of fish whilst competing against other anglers.
For this match I teamed up with my fellow Fulling Mill Nymphomaniac Matthew Griffiths, our fishing styles and preferred methods are very similar and it’s fair to say we complement each other well. Plus we relish the chance to use flies that are outside the international gauge.
Practicing is essential before any match and we fished the preceding 2 days, basically fishing the whole reservoir on a variety of methods. We tried to identify the fish-holding areas, the size of the fish in each area and the best method to consistently catch. For us it’s just as important to rule out methods and area’s as it is to find them.
Following the 2 day practice, we had a “match plan” with a distinct idea of the best areas, flies, and methods and the time of day that’s most productive.
We had found the recent stock fish around G Bouy area but concluded they were varying in size from 1.5lb to around 2.5lb. For us long drifts through the open water provided a better opportunity of winning, these fish were distinctly larger from 2.5lb to 3lb and spread over a larger area meaning you wouldn’t be jostling for position with other competitors.
With the water showing signs of algae we opted like many others to fish one bright pattern and one dark pattern, on the dropper we had a 5cm White & Green Snake, and on the point a large Black & Green Snake. These patterns have a large silhouette and unbelievable movement, we found in practice that a fast roly-poly would induce aggressive takes from these silvered up fish.
Our first drift from Q buoy to the Tower on the Dam was uneventful, 3 follows and one half-hearted take on the hang. We knew these open water fish move about a lot, and they are not always easy to locate. We motored further into Gaynes Cove and started our second drift and were instantly into fish, I took three on the drift and Matthew had lost 2. We triangulated our position and basically repeated the drift time and time again. Our bag was building nicely and we had 11 fish in the first 2 hours of the competition.
Other boats were also in the same area catching well and we were most concerned with Gareth Jones and Wayne Jones of the Fish Hawks, 2 extremely good anglers who we often compete against on the circuit.
The increased boat pressure had spooked the fish and knocked them off the feed (why boats motor over fish when they are in the top 5ft of water mystifies me) and Matthew made a call and insisted we fish freshwater. I motored us some 400m out into the center of the reservoir. We then had a purple patch landing 4 fish in literally 10 minutes – we were thinking of a 1 o clock finish.
I hooked our 16th fish and played it out, it had gone belly up and was inches from the net when the hook slipped, Matthew then did exactly the same on 2 occasions, time was ticking away and we were 1 fish short of our limit.
I decided to slow down my retrieve and fish slightly deeper, Matthew speeded up, we were trying everything to get that last fish. Thankfully Matthew finally nailed a 2.5lb rainbow just 20ft from the dam… “Finished at 13:32”. We now had to get back to the boat jetty before our “time bonus” could officially start. With a national sailing race also going on it was going to be difficult navigating back to the lodge past the sailing club. I just gunned the engine and charged straight through a fleet of sailors (who were taking up literally ¾ of the reservoir)… this was not the time for a faint heart, we had literally 28 minutes to get back if we wanted to maximise our time bonus.
We arrived back at the jetty at 13:59 with seconds to spare, we were surprised to find 2 other boats already back, although they too had only just finished. We learned they had fished the Seat area and knew the fish would be significantly smaller.
At the weigh in it was typically tense, with other competitors trying to see each other’s fish in an effort to weigh up their chances. The scales recorded our first weighing of 19lb a great start, our second bag of fish also weighed 19lb making our total bag without time bonus 38 lb. We knew we would be in the frame.
With Wayne Jones and Gareth Jones finishing approximately an hour later than us we knew it would be close, they had fished the same area on the same method and had caught similar sized fish to us – this match was going to be decided on the time bonus element.
Looking at their fish on the scales, both Matthew and I thought we were beaten, the fish were all of a good quality like ours, and we thought bigger.
Following a great meal provided by the lodge the results were read out, Wayne and Gareth were announced as “Runners Up” at that point we knew we had won the Scierra Pairs 2019 final by the slenderest of margins, in this case just 1 lb separated us.
We were relieved as we thought those lost 3 fish at the end would come back to haunt us, we didn’t feel we fished to our potential and there was defiantly room for improvement in our performance.