Draycote Water hosted the Greys 2017 England Youth Loch Style National on Sunday 10th September 2017 bringing together 20 young anglers from around the country with the ambition of becoming National Champion and securing a place in the England Youth Fly Fishing Squad for 2018.
Changeable conditions leading up to the event resulted in mixed fortunes for many anglers during practice days with blustery winds from the west bringing squally showers and warm temperatures. Practice days proved that mornings would be more challenging, with fish more active during the afternoon.
Conditions on match day mirrored those on the previous two days with wind picking up testing young anglers to the limit. Practice days, especially, had yielded good results from areas around X and F buoys and a number of anglers headed to these areas on match day in search of early fish. However, fish feeding on the surface were few and far between, the increasing wave making spotting fish even more difficult only a few competitors that persevered were rewarded. As the day wore on, news travelled that current England International Ryan Campbell was catching consistently and he would be the angler to beat. In search of feeding fish, a number of boats headed to the Draycote Bank to drift into, and beyond B and Z buoys, the bank provided some shelter from the wind giving anglers some respite. Despite the darkening cloud overhead, the rain that was forecast did not materialise. Fishing picked up as the day progressed, news of anglers catching the odd fish spread, but it was clear that it had been a tough day and it wouldn’t be a high scoring match.
The match was fished to a 3 fish kill then catch and release, the 3 fish weight would be supplemented by 2lb for each fish that was successfully caught and released. Parents and officials began to speculate about the number of fish that would be required to secure a place in the England squad for 2018. As 5pm arrived the anglers returned to the jetty and began to make their way to the weigh-in, anticipation grew.
Ryan Campbell’s fantastic performance had finally yielded 11 fish. It was clear that no one would get close to his total weight of 22lb 11oz, Ryan was duly awarded the honour of National Champion for 2017 and won the top prize of a 10’ 7# Greys GR70 Comp Special supplied by Greys. Experienced International Harry Upton landed 5 fish giving him a total of 10lb 7oz and second place overall, his performance was rewarded with a GTS700 7/8/9 fly reel also supplied by competition sponsor Greys Fishing. Oscar Hill, fishing his first Loch Style National had a day to remember as he weighed in the biggest fish of the day at 3lb 7oz and his total weight of 10lb meant he finished in third place, securing his place in the England team and in the process won the prize for finishing third, a Platinum Drogue and Telescopic Landing Net, and biggest fish prize, a Platinum Stealth fly line. 20 anglers caught 52 fish giving a rod average of 2.6.
Charles Jardine, England Youth Manager said “it was a difficult day, but each and every angler gave it their all from start to finish. My congratulations to Ryan on his achievement for a fantastic performance and well deserved top place. But recognition must also go to the anglers who qualified to represent England in the 2018 Youth International. I really look forward to working with the new team over the coming months. To the anglers who didn’t quite make it, I really hope you enjoyed the experience: importantly that we see you again in the very near future. Furthermore, I would actively encourage all young anglers to get involved in the Angling Trust’s England Talent Pathway programme; there are some excellent coaches involved who are ready to pass on their vast knowledge and expertise.”
The England squad to compete in the 2018 Youth International is;
1. Ryan Campbell
2. William Crawford
3. Elliot Fawdington
4. Felix Gould
5. Aiden Grieves
6. Luke Hill
7. Oscar Hill
8. Alex Jaffrey
9. Jake Leake
10. James Mockridge
11. Issac Slack
12. Luca Sutton
13. Seth Tuson
14. Harry Upton
1. Daniel Vine
2. Thomas Crawford
Full results are available HERE
The Angling Trust would like to thank all of the boat handlers who gave up their day to support the youngsters and the event, to the fishery and the staff at Draycote Water for their excellent hospitality and finally, to partners Greys Fishing for their continued support for youth fly fishing in England.