Lake fly fishing competition – pictures&interviews part 2

In the second part of this article we have more pictures and another interview/feedback with Rob Cesta, a young guide and a formidable fly fisherman. You can find him at . This is his feedback:

1. Could you give us a few words about yourself?

I am an independent fly fishing guide who has been fly fishing since his teen years. My love for the sport has lead me to pursue a career where i can spend as much time on rivers and lakes that I can, and can take me around the world fishing.


2. When did you start doing fly-fishing competitions? Why?

This was my first competition! I had always followed competitive fly fishing news and used the techniques, in rivers, that were popularized by competitive anglers and when I saw the chance to compete myself I jumped right at it! Competition leads to innovation and refinement of skills, what a better way to progress as an fly angler and step up your game!


3. How do you prepare for a competition? (techniques, fly tying, training, gear, etc.)

For this, my first, competition I solicited advice from my friends and contacts who have competed before. While their advice was invaluable I still used online resources and picked up a phone to ask some questions about the venue and the fish we were to angle for. Tying wise, I had a selection of commonly used still water patters that are known to produce, some in naturals and some in wilds. Because it was a still water competition the gear i selected was based on the ability to fish different depths of water. If the fish were suspending and feeding at a certain depth, getting my flies into the appropriate position is key! As for training, I wish I had a chance to get onto the body of water previous to the competition and practice, but unfortunately that was not possible. Know your water!!


4. How was the fishing in this competition?

The fishing in the competition was slightly more difficult than expected. Being a stocked pond I thought the fish would have struck anything in their path out of curiosity or hunger, while this was fairly true positioning on the water body played a massive part for success.


5.A few words about the strategy/flies/rods/lines?

The strategy I used in the first session didn’t pay off, I blanked!!! I quickly changed my set up in the second session, and a better position in the pond allowed me to be very successful, 7 landed and many more hooked! For equipment, having rods with different a floating line and three others with different sink rates allowed me to explore what produced most effectively, when i found what worked, I stuck with it! Mind you, you don’t need 4 rods rigged and on hand, having a reel with different spools that have different sink rates of lines on each one would be handy for your average angler.



6. How would you describe the general atmosphere?

The atmosphere was one of general camaraderie. We are all anglers who are of like minds, how could we not all get along!? There was a feeling of competition in the air, but that did not stop the competitors from offering tips to each other on how to better achieve success and get fish in their nets!


7. How would you rate the organization part on a scale from 1 to 10?

The organization was 10/10! It ran very smooth and seamlessly! I was very impressed.


8. What suggestions would you have for the same competition in the following years?

The only thing about the competition I would change was the physical layout of the individual placements of the pond. The end towards, what I can only assume, where the fish are fed was unbelievable productive, where as positions towards the other side of the pond were not nearly as productive. I would, next year, to even the field by omitting A5, B1, B2, and B3 as positions, and also, C4 (?) the position with the tree in the middle i would have used the tree as the divider between positions instead of having it right in the middle… casting was a B*$CH!


9. What advice would you give to those who participated for the first time?

Advice i would give to a first time competitor is have the ability to adapt! If something is not producing, have a way of changing up quickly and find something that does work! Have a variety of lines, or sink tips and flies to suit the scenario.


10. Will you come to this event next year?

I will absolutely, 100%, be attending the even next year! Hopefully there will be another competition organized sooner, it will be tough to wait an entire year!! If there was one organized once a month, I’d attend every one.


New pictures, enjoy!


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Lake fly fishing competition – pictures&interviews part 1

We have some pictures from the competition, but more to come. We want to thank all of you for being there, I am glad to hear that everyone had a great time.

We have some interviews/feedbacks from the competitors and tonight we will post the first one.

Keefer Pitfield had the courtesy to answer our questions. He is the winner of this year competition, congrats again Keefer!


1. Could you give us a few words about yourself?

I first started fly fishing when I was a very young boy on the Credit River but lacked the patience to stick with it. Around the age of 18 I went to school in London Ontario where I eventually hooked up with Ian Colin James. Ian got me back into fly fishing and taught me much of what I know today. Ian is the one who really pushed me to competitive fishing. My passion is on the river, in quiet settings, fishing for resident trout. The Credit and Grand rivers are where I call home. I have had the great and honorable pleasure of learning from Ian James but also from internationally successful competitors such as Jiri Klima, Karel Krivanec and Milan Hladik in the Czech Republic.


2. When did you start doing fly-fishing competitions? Why?

My first comp was I think back in 2009 at the Canadian National Fly Fishing Championships in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. Ian James and a few other London people put together a great team of guys on the woodlot penguins. Many of the same competitors are still on the original team, but now under the team name of the dredgehogs. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned more in the week of preparations and competition than I had learned during the year that led up to that event. The culture and steep learning curve that is often associated with large competitions is an experience that I advise anyone who has an interest in competitive fishing to give a shot. National events are like nothing else and the people you meet are spectacular.


3. How do you prepare for a competition? (techniques, fly tying, training, gear, etc.)

I am not really the ideal person to discuss preparation methods for a comp. I am often unorganized and have not prepared as well as I should. That said, it is hugely important to do your research, get as much tying out of the way as possible and be as organized as possible as it relates to understanding the venues, strategy and having all the gear in place. I have been hugely fortunate to have some very organized team members throughout the years — Ian Troup and Dave Forgeron!

With all that said, the main reason I have had some success is simply by fishing. A lot!


4. How was the fishing in this competition?

The fishing in the Sotto Fly Fishing Club comp was great. It was a great example of how comp fishing really works. Just because there are lots of fish everywhere and certain spots that have a disproportionately large number of fish, results can really vary. Truly, the most important thing to remember is that every cast can produce a fish and with that in mind, it is important to fish as much as possible and to the very last second as one never knows what will happen. Persistence is what leads to consistency across sessions. For those that watched some of my sessions, you will have noticed that I try to bring a hooked fish to the net as fast as possible, measure/score the fish, release and get your flies out as fast as possible. You are only fishing when you have your flies in the water and every second counts. The other thing that I found important was identifying the most productive fly and sticking with it. Confidence in a fly and strategy is one of the most important factors in toughing it out through difficult sessions. I identified my fly for the day after the first two fish. After that, I rarely changed flies.


5.A few words about the strategy/flies/rods/lines?

My strategy was simple. I started with a ‘slime’ line (essentially an intermediate sinking line) as it was clear upon arriving that the fish were near the surface. My cast consisted of three flies tossed as far as possible and then retrieving them in using varying retrieve speeds. In the morning it was largely pulling the flies back fast with some twitching. In the afternoon, it was a very slow and controlled retrieve with less twitching. When it completely shut down, particularly at the slower beats, I would cast as close as possible to a rising fish (they were too far to reach), once the flies landed, I would give two or three really hard, fast and long strips so the fish would feel the water pushing on their lateral sensors on their cheeks, notice the fly and approach. After the fast strips, I would slow it right down to a figure of eight crawl and eventually they would take. Flies were relatively simple. I started with a sunburst blob on the top dropper, a small cormorant on the middle dropper and a black leech on the point. After hooking most of all the mornings fish on the sunburst blob, I switched to two of the same blobs on the point and middle dropper and changed out the top dropper between a black cormorant booby / another blob. Most of all the fish were caught on the sunburst blob and nearly all on the slime line. I took a few fish on a full sink Di7 line, but that was only because I broke my leader on the slime line and had the sinking line all rigged up — a decision based on time, not lines.



6. How would you describe the general atmosphere?

I think the atmosphere at the comp was great. Everyone got along and there were a lot of different skill levels, which is great to see. I was very pleased to see so many people out to compete and hope that they all had fun and continue competing.


7. How would you rate the organization part on a scale from 1 to 10?

The organization was somewhere around a 9 out of 10 – just incredible.


8. What suggestions would you have for the same competition in the following years?

For the same comp, next year, Im not sure I would change much of anything.


9. What advice would you give to those who participated for the first time?

For first timers, I would suggest asking guys who are successful around you what they are doing and whats working. Not everyone will share, but most will. I was happy to share what fly was working with anyone who asked. If you dont ask, you wont know! If a passion for competitive fishing has been recently developed, I would strongly suggest attending nationals.



10. Will you come to this event next year?

I am available next year, I will 100% be there.

Thanks again Cosmin and Friends,

Keefer Pitfield


And now some pictures:

The tension before the beginning:







Sector C


Sector A


Sector B



Coffee table preparations


…and everybody looks more happy



Main sponsor




Maps for orientation


we had a small store:


…warming up







…and game on







first fish











brake time




the first big score


gathering the results









Final speech





Frank Zacharias got the biggest fish 65 cm




Keefer Pitfield the winner of the competition


…holding the big prize Sage 99


The second place John Warner


… Corey Cabral the third place


Top 3


Dave Harris the forth one



Top 10DSC02775


Stay tuned more pictures and interviews to come…







FF Competition – April 18th – Statistics

Before I  start with the statistics I would like to tell you that this competition  had very much the same caracteristics with the competition on Kvetonov Lake in Czech Republic, were this year the World Fly Fishing Championships will have it as a venue.

The only diference was that we came up with the score boards not having enough volunteers as controllers.

Now in the statistics you can see in the first columns(from left to right)  the rank and the names. Then it’s a separate column for Sessions ranking and the Sum of them. This is the key in a Fly Fishing competition. I noticed at the competition when I was posting the results after every session many of the competitors were  not too familiar with the marking system, although we posted this in the Rules. I tried to explain them there but for more clarity I will try to explain here again:

Everybody knows that you win if you catch the most fish. True, but this is happening only in a session and only in your group. So basically there is a small/short comp in every session but only between the competitors in the same group. At the end of the session according to the number of the fish caught we will have a ranking. This session ranking becomes points and at the end of the comp we will make the sum of them. That means less points means the competitor had achieved a higher position in the previous sessions. So whoever has the least points is the winner.

In case of session placings sum leads to a tie the first tie breaker used is the total number of the fish caught during the whole competition, in case the tie persists the biggest fish is the second tie breaker used. If the tie is still there the competitors will be awarded with the same placing and the next place will be empty.

For more details you can send me an email or shoot a question on our Facebook page or if you are an avid reader I would like to invite you to check out the forum. You can find there all the competitions from Canada, US and more. We posted our comp here:

These are the final results:






More questions more answers

We got another set of questions from our competitors, which prompted us to come with some more clarifications regarding the rules, in a FAQ format:

1. Q: can you use bingo bugs?
A: you cannot use bingo bugs because those are not flies. they are not commonly fished with a fly rod and fly line. The only thing they have in common with a fly is the feather, but this is also true for some spinning lures.

2. Q: are stomach pumps allowed?
A: No. As a competitor you are supposed to limit the contact with the fish to a minimum. If you catch a fish that you want to have measured, the official will handle the fish, including removing the hook, reviving and releasing the fish. If the fish is not measured, you have to show it to your controller in the net, then remove the hook and release the fish, without getting it out of the net while out of the water. using a stomach pump can harm the fish and increases the risk of killing it.

3. Q: can we have barbed hooks on the premises and debarb them as needed?
A: you can, although is not advisable. First you will lose time trying to debarb the hook, and being in a hurry you might not do a very good job removing the barb. The hooks WILL be tested at random times and during every measurement of a fish. If your hook does not pass the test, you will lose all the points you have achieved until that moment. The test consists in passing the hook through a piece of clothing. Any snag and all your points are gone. This rule will be STRICTLY enforced. That’s why we recommend that you have all the hooks debarbed and tested at home prior to the competition, unless you are tying on barbless hooks.

4. Q: what happens if a fish is badly injured?
A: Per Lyndon Fish Hatchery rules, any badly injured fish has to be removed from the water an purchased at a rate of $6.50/pound. you do not get points for a fish in this situation

5 Q: Do I have to measure every fish?
A: No, you only need to measure one fish per session, and this is done by your controller. You can have more than one fish measured, but because there is going to be only one controller per sector, you might need to wait until he gets to your position, which equals time spent not fishing. If you catch a smaller fish than the one you already had measured, all you need to do is show it to the score keeper (while the fish is still in the net), then remove the hook and release the fish as soon as you got your point. at the end of each session, what counts is the number of fish caught and the length of the biggest fish.

Feel free to ask more questions. We will try to keep the info coming for the next 2 days, also make sure you get to the location in time ( 8 AM) because you will have the chance to ask questions in the morning before the competition starts. Happy tyin’!

Safety rules

Hello to all the contestants for Angling Sports Spring Fly Fishing competition! We want to have an uneventful contest and we put together some very important safety rules.

1. Eye protection is MANDATORY for safety, not just helpful
2. A hat would be strongly indicated, if you ever received a conehead fly in the back of your head you know why
3. Make sure you are not venturing within the casting range when the competitors are fishing;
4. We mentioned this before: no alcohol or any drugs/medication that would impair your ability to stay safe. Lyndon Fish Hatchery is a NON SMOKING facility, if you need to smoke you need to be off the property.
5. Wading is strictly prohibited. Please observe this rule carefully since the penalty for getting in the water for any reason is losing ALL your previous points.
6. If you are on any medication such as inhalers, epi pen, nitroglycerin, make sure you have them with you; also if you have an emergency contact we will ask you to provide it at the check in.
7. In case of a thunderstorm we reserve the right to pause or stop the competition. Check this video if wondering why.

Newsletter – Competition equipment

In this newsletter we will focus on the equipment.
Fly rod
First of all you need one or more fly rods. Only one rod can be used at any time, but each competitor can have multiple rods assembled, with the flies attached and ready to be used. That way you can use valuable time to fish instead of changing setups. According to the FIPS Mouche rules, the rods have to be fly rods, and they need to be fitted with a fly reel and fly line. One more thing: no floating or sinking devices can be attached to the line or the leader, unless they are incorporated into the fly. So sorry, but your split shots, tungsten putty, thingamabobbers, and so on are not welcome to the competition.
Waders are optional to our derby since we are going to fish from the shore. You are not allowed wade or dive in for the fish per our host’s requirements.
The net
The net is a very important piece of equipment. There are a few details regarding the net that can make or break a champion. Have you ever had the impression that you are playing tennis with a fish that you are trying to land??? If you did, that is not a net you want to use in a competition. Every second you fight the fish is a second that can cost you points. That’s why you want a net large enough to scoop the fish in one quick move.

One more important detail regarding the net is the length of the handle. Here is another question: how many times you got the fish really close to your net and right before getting it in, it somehow found more energy to take another run. Competitors use long handles for their nets to get to the fish faster and avoid the extra run. The reason is pretty obvious. You are not in the competition to enjoy the fight with a strong fish. You goal is to get it into the net as quick as possible so you can receive your points and get back to fishing.
We discussed about the flies, so I will not get into too many details. What was not discussed so far is the setup: you can use up to 3 flies, and the distance between them has to be at least 50 cm (roughly 20 inches), measured hanging. The reason for this distance is to decrease the risk of snagging the fish. As a parenthesis, the fish counts only if it’s hooked in the area between the opercle and the mouth (and obviously inside the mouth). FIPS forbids use of coneheads or dumbbells in the construction of the fly, but they will be accepted at our competition.
We’ll stop here with the discussion about equipment. Some other details such as use of pliers may be discussed in another newsletter dedicated to landing, handling and releasing the fish. Stay tuned, we have more news coming for you.

Sebastian Sabadis