England Youth Fly Fishing
WELCOME TO TEAM ENGLAND YOUTH FLY FISHING
Lisa Isles. Carl Malpass. Scott Nellins. Simon Robinson. What do they all have in common? The answer might seem obvious – they are all highly-accomplished, high-profile fly fishers who have represented their country at various levels (Home International, Commonwealth, European and World) as adults, and are often featured in the pages of our game angling magazines. However, there is something else that binds these hotshots together; something that lies at the heart of their journey towards becoming the very best anglers they can be…
They have all been members of the England Youth Fly Fishing Team.
Ambition, teamwork and sportsmanship
Competitive fly fishing is an ideal environment in which young people can extend their involvement in the sport and hone their skills, within an atmosphere of honesty, integrity, responsibility, good sportsmanship and respect for the environment. Gaining an England Youth Team cap, and participating in Home International Championships against Scotland, Wales and Ireland, is the pinnacle of achievement for youngsters between the ages of twelve and seventeen, who are keen to pursue their passion to a much higher level. Qualification for and competing within the team requires the very best, not just in terms of ambition, but also attitude, motivation, teamwork, sportsmanship and respect for angling’s core values. Ever since Home International fly fishing became available at youth level in the 1980s, all who have made the grade and gone on to represent England have been excellent ambassadors for themselves, their families, schools, angling clubs, the sport of fly fishing, and of course their country.
Represent your country
Each year we run the England Youth National to select those young anglers to represent England. This is a loch-style competition where anglers fish in pairs from a boat with a boatman. This National is open to young fly anglers between the age of twelve and seventeen with the top fourteen on the day including those who “rolled over” from the previous youth international representing England the following year in the Home International.
So, if you fancy representing your country or would like to know more about what is involved then please contact the England Youth Manager Craig Barr or Daniel Williams Competition Development Manager on the email addresses below.
Craig Barr (England Youth Manager): [email protected]
Daniel Williams (Competition Development Manager): [email protected]
Angling Trust Youth Loch Style National Championship 2023
Grafham Water, Sunday 17th September 2023
Open to all young Fly Anglers between the ages of 12 & 18*
Tickets on sale from 4:00pm Tuesday 17th August BOOK HERE
We are pleased to announce the Angling Trust EYFF Loch Style Youth National for 2023, is open for ticket sales.
This year’s event is hosted at the ever-popular Grafham Water, W Perry, Huntingdon PE28 0BX and will be fished on Sunday 17th September.
This is a wonderful opportunity for young male and female anglers between the ages of 12-18* to fish for the coveted English Youth National Champion Trophy and to fish against their peers in Loch Style fishing from boats.
There will also be the usual qualification for next year’s EYFF team, and a number of finalists will have the opportunity to represent England Youth Fly Fishing in 2023. We are able to relax the maximum age of participants for this year only, as long as you are between 12 – 18 years of age on 1st August 2024 you are eligible to fish. If your Angler is under the age of 12, and you believe they are able to complete please contact Daniel Williams, Competition Development Manger for details.
Permits and boats for practice day on Saturday 16th September are available on a full catch and release basis. To book a boat for practice day please contact the fishery direct on 01480 810531 and inform staff you are practicing for the Youth National.
Wednesday 27th July saw Lough Lene in Eire host the 36th Youth Loch Style Fly Fishing International. The first time the four nations of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have been able to field teams since Scotland hosted the 2019 champions, due to Covid restrictions.
The squad had two practice days on the water, figuring the best areas to target and most consistent tactics to employ. On day one the squad were confronted by a very brisk wind, this stopped the guys exploring a third of the lough, due to nature of the venue drogues aren’t permitted making it impractical to drift with the full force pushing. Despite that the guys did get to cover plenty of water off the leeward shores and find enough fish to start making calculated assumptions. They didn’t take long to figuring the lough was not in good form, later confirmed by local Anglers and Boatmen, saying fish had gone off the feed a week earlier during the unusually high 30 degree plus heat wave. This saw fish becoming both hard to locate as well as tempt into feeding.
Our young anglers were sent out with specific individual tasks on each practice, to report back their findings in detail. After going through feedback each evening, our squad and coaches eventually fine-tuned their tactics for the match down to a twin approach tactically.
Our young anglers were sent out with specific individual tasks on each practice, to report back their findings in detail. After going through feedback each evening, our squad and coaches eventually fine-tuned their tactics for the match down to a twin approach tactically. Basically, either fishing an attracter originally identified by squad member George Clark, this Sparkle Booby variant proved well during practice, attached to a Di 5, Ghost tip or Slime line acquiring real confidence within the squad. Along with a well-known emerger pattern the Yellow Owl, this had been picking out both identified feeders as well a rising fish that had not shown near the surface.
Much calmer conditions greeted our anglers on match day, as well as the tangible buzz of anticipation and nerves. As tradition dictates, the teams were led down by a Piper to the Lough setting building more atmosphere as the competitors met their boat partners and boatman before setting out for the seven-hour match. Fished to catch and release rules with a 33cm size limit and boatmen adjudicating the angler’s cards.
The boats moved off the landing beach ten minutes before the start awaiting the sound of a klaxon, the longest ten-minute wait doesn’t help to settle the nerves, but once it sounded and the boats all roared off in different destinations, possibly due to no real hotspot being found during practice. The match fished to full time, with no worries of thunder and lightning as the teams faced back in 2019 at Menteith.
On the competitors return, catch cards were signed by both Anglers and Boatmen then handed to team captains, in turn handed back to the host nation for processing. It’s hard to judge how the match has gone as each Nation has only their Anglers reporting back to measure by. Our manger Craig was confident the squad had put on a great performance however, as six of our Anglers had more than one fish and the game plan was to aim for one fish per Angler, would eleven fish be enough?
After checking with each nations manager and ratifying the final results Noel Farrar I. T. F. F. A’s Youth Officer then read out the results in reverse order. This was nail biting as each Nation knew there would be low catches and very little in it in to separate the teams the end.
Scotland were followed by Wales and the anticipation grew, then the air was filled by cheers of both England and Eire as England was named runners up. The Irish team were quick to celebrate as once Noel had concluded, they ran off at full speed to jump in the lough, quite a sight in itself! Congratulations Eire on a solid performance.
Congratulations on EYFF Silver medal too, this was an excellent performance after such a long hiatus since 2019. Especially for such a young squad with so many new caps too, just three fish adrift of the home nation buy just two fish.
Team Captain Jake Leake lead his team from the front too, with both England’s best basket of fish for 136 points and joint best fish with Ireland’s Eanna O Leary with a 50cm specimen each.
Craig Barr England Youth Manager said: “What a fantastic time we all had in Ireland. The squad is quite new with only a few old hands and many new caps. The overall result shows how the boys worked very well as a team and showed superb unity. It is an exciting prospect for Team England with the talent we have throughout the team. I’m really looking forward to seeing them fish again in 2023”
Daniel Williams Competition Support Officer said: The lads did extremely well in very tough fishing conditions. The squad has lots of new members and limited time to practice together. When they have, it’s been fantastic to watch them progress and share, supporting each other as a great squad should. I would like to thank the support we’ve had from Turrall who have been helping with the squad’s development as well as during the competition. Upavon flies for their support with fly-tying products along with Ellerdine Lakes, Draycote Water & Grafham (Anglian Water) too. The biggest thank you must go to Craig Barr, Tim Joyce for their mentoring and knowledge sharing. Including Tim tying flies for the squad last minute and both their pre-event input and Coached training sessions. The Squad themselves for working so hard together, real commitment. Not forgetting our lead casting coach Alan Punnell and the parents and grandparents who made the long journey to support the lads.”
England Youth International Harrison Douds shares his favourite stillwater flies with Today’s Fly Fisher magazine (Issue 7). England Youth Coach Dan Tranter and England International team members James Mockridge and Elliot Guthrie also shared their favourite flies on the EYF Facebook page and below.
Favourite Fly And Why
England Youth Coach and former Youth International Daniel Tranter shares his favourite stillwater pattern and explains why it is so good!
The Candy Split Blob
“The Candy Blob is the one fly that everybody should have within their fly box. Whether its targeting those freshly stocked fish or the wiser residents, no fish can resist it. Got to remember though the Candy Blob is always best fished static!”
Hook: Fasna B500, size 10
Thread: Red 140 UTC
Body Rear: FNF Jelly Fritz, Atomic Yellow
Body Front: FNF Jelly Fritz, Iain Barr Candy
Favourite Fly And Why
England Youth International James Mockridge shares his favourite fly, the Tequila Blob and explains why the pattern is so good…
“This will come as no surprise to my England Team mates but my favourite fly is the Tequila Blob! It is so universal you can use it on the point or with a set of buzzers as a washing-line set-up. I have caught fish as it just sits on the top of the water without moving it, fished on a slow retrieve or by stripping it back really fast through the water. I have had fish as it drops through the water column and use it as an attractor on a dropper. This is my go-to fly for competitions!”
Hook: Hanak H260, size 10
Thread: Textreme 35, fluorescent hot orange
Tail: Maraflash Moonlight, fine
Rear Body: Fluorescent yellow Fritz, three turns
Front Body: Fluorescent orange Fritz, four or five turns
Head: Hot orange thread with a little drop of varnish
Favourite Fly And Why
England Youth Vice Captain Elliot Guthrie shares his favourite fly and explains why it’s so good.
“The Crisp Packet Buzzer is a fly that never seems to let me down. The cheeks stand out and it work wonders in the water. It fishes well using the straight-line method with a team of buzzers. Also, a washing line can be used with a Booby or FAB on the point of the tippet to slow the rate of decent of the buzzers. This is best used if the fish are high in the water.”
Hook: Kamasan S10
Body: Black thread
Rib: Striped peacock hearl
Cheek: Orange goose biots
Saturday 3rd November brought the first England Youth get together since the Youth National at Grafham Water. Members of the 2019 team and the new 2020 team met at Shropshire’s Ellerdine Lakes for Captains Day. The squad had the chance to meet new team members, say farewell to those who now move on to compete at senior level and had the opportunity to catch a few of the quality trout in the lakes at Ellerdine.
The morning was spent fishing and it wasn’t long before the team were into fish with Albert Coales and Jamie Potts catching quickly on Meadow Lake. Throughout the morning the team caught steadily with fish to 8lb coming to the net. Lunch was kindly provided by the fishery before the team completed the necessary paperwork!
Elliot Fawdington, the 2019 team captain, said a few words about his time as captain. Elliot has been part of the youth team for four years and wished the new team every success on Lough Lene in 2020. England Youth Manager Craig Barr announced the captain and vice-captain for 2020. 2017 National Champion Felix Gould, who has already represented England on three occasions, will be the captain for Lough Lene and the top English rod at Menteith in the 2019 Home International, Elliot Guthrie will be his vice-captain.
The afternoon saw a ‘roving pairs match’ with pairings based on the positions at the 2019 National. The pairs had to catch as many fish as they could in a two-hour session, with only one fish being allowed off a peg before they had to move. In first place with three fish were current National Champion Harrison Douds and newbie William Gardner, the pair won luggage items courtesy of Wychwood Game.
The Angling Trust would like to thank Ellerdine Lakes for hosting the day and Wychwood Game for the prizes. The team will now train together for Lough Lene with practice sessions at Chew Valley Lake, Blithfield Reservoir and Grafham Water.
If you are aged 12-17 and fancy finding out what is involved with fishing for England Youth then please feel free to email Competitions Support Officer, Andy Taylor at [email protected].
Grafham Water hosted the 2019 England Youth Fly Fishing National where twenty young anglers were fishing for the title of England Youth National Champion and a place in the 2020 England Youth Team.
The fishing at Grafham leading up to the event had been good with the fish high in the water and keen to take when there was cloud cover. Fish location, as always, was going to be a major part of the winner’s success and as the wind direction changed in the days leading up to the match, so too did the hot spots. As always drifts onto the north shore and in open water were successful along with A Buoy to the Dam.
Many of the young anglers practiced the day before and had found the fishing tricky in the bright, almost flat calm conditions. On match day the wind had changed slightly coming from the west and when the boats left the jetty some headed to G Buoy whilst others made their way to A Buoy and the Dam.
The match was fished to full catch and release with a boatman in each boat with the two anglers. The fish were measured with the lengths recorded on the score cards. There were two sessions with a short lunch break. The angler with the greatest combined length of fish would win the sessions fished and allocated a place point on where they finished in each session e.g. the angler who won was given one place point and so on. The place points for the two sessions were to be added together to determine the overall winner, the objective being to find the most consistent anglers.
Session one started at 9.30am and at the end of this first period at 1.00pm, 43 trout had been caught with several 50cm plus fish. Out in front was Alex Jaffrey who had taken eight fish from A Buoy with Harrison Douds in second with six fish, Isaac Slack in third with four fish and Albert Coales fourth with four fish with just 11 centimetres separating these two anglers.
Session two started at 1.30pm and with the anglers refreshed it was all to fish for before the 5.00pm finish. The sun was now having a negative impact with the temperatures hitting 24C and the young anglers were struggling for takes. However, the late afternoon cloud cover changed things and the fish came on the feed in the last hour and 37 fish were caught. Jamie Potts took first place with five fish in this session, with Harrison Douds second with four fish pipping Isaac Slack who also had four fish by 9cm Albert Coales was fourth.
The place points for each session were added together to determine the final placings. The twenty young anglers had caught 80 fish for a rod average of four. Twelve fish measured over 50cm in length with many resident fish being brought to the boat. This clearly showed the talent these young anglers have.
In first place, retaining the title he won in 2018, was Harrison Douds with four place points – exceptional fishing with two seconds in the sessions fished. Runner-up was Isaac Slack with six place points having been third in both sessions. Third was Albert Coales who had eight place points with two fourth positions displaying good consistent fishing. The longest fish went to Albert Coales with a trout of 55.5cm.
The weather made for some difficult fishing conditions, but all the anglers fished well in both sessions with all of them having takes and fish on throughout the day.
The Angling Trust would like to thank Greys Fishing for sponsoring the event and providing the prizes for the top four and biggest fish. In addition they would like to thank the following; Invicta Fly Fishers who provided most of the boatman for the day and kindly made a contribution to a gift voucher for each angler to use at Anglian Water, Ifor Jones from Fishery Mgt Ltd for providing the measuring troughs and being a boatman for the day, Trevor Gibson for being boatman, Kirsty Marshall for her work behind the scenes at the Angling Trust and Anglian Water and its team at Grafham for hosting the event and providing a gift voucher and goody bag for each angler and finally Airflo for providing caps for the goody bag.
Craig Barr England Youth Manager said: “What a fantastic day’s fishing at Grafham Water, with twenty young anglers battling it out for the 2020 Youth Team. It was brilliant to see such enthusiasm amongst the young anglers, many of whom displayed incredible ability.”
Harrison Douds 2019 Youth National Fly Fishing Champion said: I’m looking forward to a second year in the England team with some cracking young anglers all of which I would like to congratulate for fishing so well on such a challenging day. I’d like to thank the organisers and coaches, the parents and sponsors, my sponsors Fulling Mill and Chatton Trout Fishery who have helped me massively with my fishing. Roll on Ireland.”
Andy Taylor Competitions Support Officer said: “It is a credit to these young anglers who fished exceptionally well in some tough fishing conditions. A rod average of four fish, with 12 fish over 50cm, displays the talent these anglers have and the superb fishing there is at Grafham. Well done to all those who took part.”
1st: Harrison Douds 10 fish, 4 places points. Prize – Greys GR60 fly rod.
2nd: Isaac Slack 8 fish, 6 place points. Prize – Greys QRS fly reel.
3rd: Albert Coales 7 fish, 8 place points. Prize – Greys Platinum Extreme fly line and fly box.
Longest Fish: Albert Coales 55.5cm. Prize – Greys GS net.
The England Youth Team for Ireland in 2020 based on the roll over from the International in 2019 and the results at Grafham are: Harrison Douds, Isaac Slack, Albert Coales, Henry Smith, Alex Jaffrey, Jamie Potts, Felix Gould, James Penwright, Oscar Hill, Jake Leake, Corey Russell, Elliot Guthrie, Tom Crawford and James Mockridge. The travelling reserve is George Clarke. William Gardner is second reserve. The squad will now attend the captain’s day later in the year before undertaking training weekends in preparation for the international in Ireland.
The 2020 International in Ireland was postponed due to Covid-19. The team will now rollover and compete in Ireland in 2021.
Wednesday 31st July saw the Lake of Menteith host the 35th Youth Loch Style Fly Fishing International. The four home nations England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales fielded teams of fourteen young anglers who were to battle it out to be the 2019 champions.
In the days leading up to the match day the teams spent their time on the water practising to find the best areas and most consistent tactics. It soon became clear that the majority of the trout were in the deep water around the cages at Gateside Bay and the Rookery, and off Inchmahome Island. The young anglers fine-tuned their tactics in the final practice days with Di7 and Di8 lines being the main line of attack, teamed with nymphs or buzzers with either a booby or FAB on the point, fished slowly.
Bright, flat calm conditions greeted the anglers on match day. The traditional bag piper led march to the Lake set the scene as the competitors met their boatman before setting out for the seven-hour match. The match was fished to a two fish kill with catch and release thereafter with the boatmen marking the angler’s cards.
At the start all the boats headed for the deep water with Gateside Bay being the main destination for many of the teams. Fish were caught from the off as the boats jostled for position in the flat calm conditions. As the threat of thunder storms loomed the young anglers made their way back to the lodge for the 5.00pm finish and weigh in.
Ireland were first to weigh in and rumours were that the Irish lads had done well. They weighed in several 4lb fish and had caught 77 trout for 177lb 2.6oz. Scotland weighed in second with 64 fish for 152lb 7.2oz. Wales were next with 52 trout for 123lb 15.5oz and England were last to the scales with 54 fish for 121lb 13.3oz. In total 247 trout were caught for a rod average of just over four fish per angler.
Ireland were the 2019 winners with Chris Fehilly top rod with an amazing 15 fish to complete an outstanding Irish double. Team England fished with one angler less an hour into the event as one of the team was taken ill. With the reserve not being able to replace the young angler the team fished on with a man down. England were pipped to the bronze medal position having caught two more fish than Wales, however their overall bag weight was 2lb 2oz behind the Welsh Team.
All the England team caught fish and had caught well on practice. England’s top rod was Elliot Guthrie with seven fish for 14lb 10.2oz.
Next up for the young team is the England Youth National at Grafham Water on Sunday 15th September 2019.
Craig Barr England Youth Manager said: “What a fantastic time we all had in Scotland. Despite the overall result the boys worked very well as a team and showed superb unity. It is an exciting prospect for Team England with the talent we have throughout the team.”
Elliot Fawdington England Youth Captain said: “We all fished hard and well and gelled as a team over the practice days thank to the guidance and support of our manager Craig Barr and coaches Graham Hayward and Chad Russell. Our sponsors made the whole experience more enjoyable and definitely led to us catching more fish.”
Andy Taylor Competition Support Officer said: The lads did extremely well in some very tough fishing conditions. Being an angler down was always going go to against the team, but they carried on and did the team proud. Thankfully the young angler was soon fit and well and will hopefully be back fishing again soon. I would like to thank the main sponsor of the youth team Grey’s Fishing for their continued support, along with Ellerdine Lakes, Hunt’s Original, Magnet_ique and Wychwood Game for the product they sent for the team. A big thank you must go to Craig Barr, Graham Hayward and their team of coaches along with the parents and grandparents who made the long journey to support the lads.”
1st Ireland 77 fish for 117lbs 2.6oz
2nd Scotland 64 fish for 152lbs 7.2oz
3rd Wales 52 fish for 123lb 15.5oz
4th England 54 fish for 121lb 13.3oz
England Youth Squad Weekend at Blithfield Reservoir
The England youth team recently held their second training weekend at Staffordshire’s Blithfield Reservoir. Known for its top-of-the-water sport the lads spent two days under the guidance of manager Craig Barr, competition support officer Andy Taylor and former youth team members Dan Tranter and Graham Hayward developing a range of techniques in preparation for the forthcoming Home International at the Lake of Menteith in July.
These training days start with a short classroom session to talk about the tactics and flies to use in different situations, followed by time out on the water under the guidance of the coaches to put the classroom theory into practice. A short lunch break to regroup and refresh was followed by a group discussion to share the experiences from the morning session before returning to the water to develop and refine their skills. The blend of theory and practical application paid off with a rod average of over seven fish per angler on both days.
A BIG thank you for Blithfield for hosting the training weekend, the coaches that guided the youth team members and the parents for travelling from all corners of England to support the development of the next generation of fly anglers.
Finally, a BIG thank you to Greys Fly Fishing for sponsoring the youth team again this year. It was great to see the team proudly wearing their new embroidered clothing before going afloat for the day.
The third and final training weekend is at Pitsford Reservoir on the 6th/7th July.
England Youth Squad Training Weekend at Pitsford and Rutland Water
The third and final training weekend took place on Anglian Waters Pitsford Reservoir and Rutland Water on the 6/7th July. In bright sunshine and flat calm conditions, the weekend was a big test for those who ventured out. The purpose of these training sessions is to give members of the youth team the opportunity to try out a range of methods at different fisheries in variety of fishing conditions, and Pitsford and Rutland certainly did!
Pitsford proved tricky with an algal bloom and bright sun to contend with and only a handful of fish were caught including a pike for captain Elliot Fawdington! Nymphs and boobies fished deep were the tactics the lads employed.
Sunday saw the team take on the mighty Rutland Water which was kinder than its neighbouring sister, Pitsford. Again, a flat calm and bright conditions made for tricky fishing, however there were fish to be caught high in the water. The team caught over 30 fish including a huge double-figure bream again to Elliot Fawdington.
The team now prepare to head to the Lake of Menteith for the International at the end of July.