Article Written by Simon Jefferies. Learn More About Simon Jefferies / Article Read Time: 5 Minutes
Cortland recently sponsored the World Youth Fly Fishing Championship that was held in Trentino, Italy and I was lucky enough to be there to represent our company, take some photos and present the winners with their prizes. The World Masters was also held at the same time and our pro team member, and twice Individual World Champion, Valerio Santi Amantini was competing for Italy on his home waters. So, what better way to spend the last day of the competition but to follow Valerio, take some photos and videos and get his thoughts on how he approaches a competition day.
Saturday, July 23rd 2022: Final day of the World Masters Fly Fishing Championship:
The day starts at 5.30am with breakfast in the hotel before the buses leave at 6.30am to take the competitors to their sector for the day. We arrive at the river around 7.15am which gives Valerio nearly 2 hours preparation time before the 9am start. This is the lower section of the river Sarca and is stocked with brown trout and rainbows so the fishing will be different from the previous day, which was wild fish only on the upper reaches of the same river.
Valerio has drawn beat #2 so he makes his way upstream with his controller to access the water. He is meticulous with his planning, spending around 45 minutes looking at all the water, spotting fish and discussing the potential with his controller for the day.
“When we arrived at the meeting point, the supervisor opened the envelope and read the beats assigned to the competitors. At that moment I knew I had drawn beat number #2 and they presented me the controller of that beat. We did an inspection of the beat together, to check the length and type of currents or holes. I talked to my controller about where the fish were caught and how the competitors who preceded me caught them, as always, all this information is useful to plan my strategy.” -Valerio
Once Valerio has walked the beat and decided on his strategy, it was time to make his way down to the river to set up. He decides to set up on the rocks that separate the 2 sections of the river. This way his controller will always be close by and it prevents Valerio having to move too far to get the fish recorded.
“As I knew that stocked fish had been caught on that beat, I prepared my strategy on fishing dark nymphs with an orange tungsten bead and plenty of movement. My rod choice for the lower battens was a Cortland Competition MKII 10'5 3 wt. with the solid-tip (the solid-tip is a very thin solid carbon tip that allows you to be more sensitive and dampens the reaction of the fish). On this rod I fished a single nymph and 6x Ultra-Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet. For the deeper holes another Cortland Competition MKII 10.5 3 wt. with two nymphs and 6x Ultra-Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet. This choice of fluorocarbon is key as it gives me the strength I need in the smallest diameter possible.” -Valerio
At 9am the competition starts. Valerio has already spotted a few trout on his earlier walk and has decided to fish a very narrow section of the river, close to the near bank, rather than the main section of river. Many anglers would have ignored this very tiny stretch of water and made their way straight to the main section of the river. The second cast of the day proves that his decision is effective and produces the first fish.
The two things that struck me while watching Valerio are his concentration levels and his finesse when fishing nymphs in small sections of water. By 9:15, he already has 5 fish and shows no signs of slowing.
“When I start, my tension increases but this is normal and this tension is necessary to keep my concentration levels high. Every time I do this type of competition, managing tension or any unexpected events helps to keep fishing performance constant.” -Valerio
One hour into the competition, and I have now lost count of the number of fish that Valerio has caught but it is definitely in excess of 20 brown trout. His speed to get the fish verified, returned safely to the river and the next cast made is quite amazing.
The following video shows just how fast Valerio lands his fish, gets them measured and released:
Valerio continues his catch rate throughout the session which is testament not only to his concentration levels but also to his fitness. He finishes the session with an incredible 57 fish (averaging one every 3 minutes) to win the sector easily. He told me afterwards that he only lost 2 fish in the entire session which more than proves his set up was perfect for the day.
“During the competition I realized that I was fishing the right way because I continued to catch fish regularly. I reached the end of the competition with 57 fish and my real satisfaction was that I used the same set up for the entire session.” -Valerio
This year, Valerio has reached the status of top 10 competitive anglers in the world, and has now won 18 international medals. All while utilizing Cortland products to help him reach this incredible milestone. It was a real privilege to watch this Master at work and I would like to wish Valerio success in his future competitions. Valerio and his competitive adventures can be followed here on facebook or instagram.
About the author
Simon Jefferies is our International Sales Director headquartered out of the United Kingdom. He has been in the fishing tackle industry for over 20 years. He started fishing as a teenager and now lives in Plymouth, UK where he enjoys fishing the rivers and small reservoirs in Dartmoor National Park.
Products Mentioned in this article:Competition MKII Series Fly Rod- Euro Style Nymphing
Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet