STRAY CASTS: Local fly fishers do well in Canadian championships this year

The Ospreys finished third amongst 11 teams in the sixth annual Canadian Fly Fishing Championship this year. They arrived home from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec in the early hours of Sept. 14.

Oddly enough, while they finished third in Canada, The Ospreys did not win the bronze medal.

Team Captain Ernie Kalwa, of Elora, explained that some politics kept the team out of the medals. What happened is last year, Team Canada was invited to compete in the United States. So, Canada reciprocated this year. Fine so far.

The Americans, who out­number Canadians by a handful of people or so, are among the best in the world. Conse­quently, they won the entire team competition, and that left the Osprey’s out in the cold.

Kalwa is convinced if a Canadian team competed in the U.S. and won the title, there would be a gold medal for the top American team, but, alas, not so for Canada. Had that been the case, his team would have won bronze.

The Americans, while eligi­ble for the team trophy, were not allowed to compete for individual honours. Kalwa was pleased, though, with his team’s finish in the personal competition.

The team members, and their finish against 52 competi­tors, are:

– Ivo Balinov (Ottawa): 4th

– Arron Varga (Fergus), 7th;

– Kalwa (Elora), 15th;

– Graham Murfitt (Aylmer, Quebec), 30th; and

– Philip Short (Montreal, Quebec): 32nd.

Considering that these guys are up against some of the best fly anglers in Canada, those are very respectable finishes. Kal­wa noted that Varga has had several top ten finishes, and made the Canadian team that will be competing in the Com­monwealth champion­ships next year, and Kalwa himself is being considered for that team.

He was really pleased with Short’s effort, too. Philip Short had, unlike many of the competitors who used vacation time, to beg off school from his principal in order to compete. He is 15 years old, and Kalwa said he has six years of intense fly fishing behind him, and will be an excellent angler and a ter­rific competitor for many years to come.

As for the competition it­self, it was held in the Pour­voirie Baroux game reserve in Quebec. That reserve has a dozen lakes and the Diable River running through it. And, yes, Diable translates as “devil.” Kalwa said it is fast running, granite based, and deep. And it managed to dump every competitor at least once during the course of the event.

Kalwa said some of the older competitors or those out of shape muttered, “This river is killing us.”

The competition ran Sept. 11 to 13, and featured three five-hour sessions, and there were two practice days on Sept. 8 and 9.

There were 12 teams in total, and Kalwa noted not all of them had a full complement. There were 52 anglers.

The competitors fished three times on the lake, from a boat, with a fellow competitor, and twice on the river, where they fished a 200 metre stretch and shared it with another competitor. Each angler fished 1.5 hours on one section, and then traded with his opponent for the second half.

All fish over 20cm (eight inches) counted. There were bonus points for extra centi­metres of fish, but Kalwa said the way it works, an angler scored higher for two small fish than one big fish.

There are also deductions for failing to catch any fish at all, and he said the lake fishing was really tough. That is the Scottish loch style of angling, and he said competitors rigged three flies to the lines in the 90-foot deep waters. The difficulty was the trout were holding at about 30 feet, and catches were rare. Everyone was skunked at least once on the lakes.

There were also extra points for finishing at the top of a three hour session.

There was other good News for Canadian fly fishing. River Tawdz, Canada’s national  youth team, finished in second place.

Equipe AirFlo got the bronze medal. It has regularly finished near the top in the Canadian championships.

Kalwa noted The Ospreys were only two fish behind the AirFlo team.

It takes a lot of money to compete at the national and international level. Kalwa has his own consulting business, and so he can afford to do it. He noted that some companies do sponsor teams and help pay for equipment. The cost of this year’s trip was about $2,000 per man. Next year, with the contest in British Columbia, Kalwa figures to add another thousand dollars to the cost.

Anyone interested in pro­viding some sponsorship is more than welcome to contact him at 105 Thomas Blvd., El­ora, ON N0B 1S0, or phone or fax: 519-846-9663.

Final cast: This column was started again on the Wellington Advertiser web site because the Stray Caster had a need to find a home for a pile of the rods and reels that people have donated to children through the column. Even two years after it stopped being published in the Newspaper, donations were still coming in. Editor Dave Adsett was gen­erous enough to provide web­space so the Stray Caster was able to create some space in his basement. Mrs. Stray Caster was getting ticked about all the gear. We were soon able to find a home for the tackle, which means people are finding the column on the web site.

The return, though, also kick started more donations. Helen Mor­ri­son, of Guelph, called a few weeks ago to say she had some equipment for the cause. That included several rods and reels, along with two nets.

The Stray Caster thanks Helen and all those who con­tinue to help out kids who have no fishing gear. He will find a home for it all.

To obtain some gear for kids, simply email davepaul­meyer­ and the Stray Caster will get back to you.