Organiser John Horsey reports back from the grand final of the Sportfish-sponsored event, fished on Rutland Water last weekend.
19 Teams of six anglers gathered at Rutland Water for the inaugural grand final of the 2016 Sportfish Team Championship. All had qualified from regional heats and, following days of practice, the competitors were facing bizarre weather conditions with strong winds and rain – typical British summertime!
Following the briefing, where the normal limit of 8 fish was reduced to 4 and then unlimited catch and release, the 57 boats headed out onto a rather choppy Rutland Water. All released fish would count as 2lb, which was the average weight of trout on the venue immediately prior to the event.
Most boats headed for the main basin, as the windy conditions had churned up the water at the bottom of both arms. Those areas had been producing some quality grown-on trout, but sadly the competitors felt they had a better chance fishing the clearer water near to the dam.
Carrot Creek proved to be a key area and was out of the wind, several boats headed there and did very well. Others braved the rough water along Whitwell Shore and those anglers also caught decent numbers of fish.
At the end of day one, Fulling Mill Nymphomaniacs had stormed into top place with a team total of 45 trout, weighing 89lb 8oz. Second were Greenwell Persuaders with 31 fish for 64lb 13oz, with Elinor also on 31 fish for 63lb and third place. RAF Fish Hawks were fourth, having the same number of fish weighing 62lb 13oz.
Kieron Jenkins of Fulling Mill Nymphomaniacs was top individual rod with 12 trout weighing 24lb 1oz, while Sean Jones of BRFFA Drifters had the biggest trout at exactly 5lb.
Day two saw the winds switch direction from SSW to a westerly and also drop in strength to about 17mph. This encouraged a few boats to venture up the arms, as the dirty water would now be blown away from these areas.
RAF Fish Hawks had an incredible team total of 46 fish weighing 98lb 9oz to take top spot, aided by a cracking 7lb 14oz rainbow and total bag of 10 fish weighing 26lb 10oz for their star man Dave Eames. Welsh Hawks were second with 43 fish for 87lb 13oz, thanks to a captain’s performance from Russell Owen who was top rod on the day with 13 trout weighing 26lb 9oz.
Fulling Mill Nymphomaniacs came third on the day with 43 fish for 86lb 3oz and thereby secured the title of Sportfish Team Champions for 2016 and with it a cheque for £1500, plus gold medals and the trophy.
RAF Fish Hawks were the silver medal winners and claimed the £1000 prize, while the Welsh Hawks collected the bronze medals and a cheque for £500 for finishing in third place.
Kieron Jenkins won an Orvis reel for being top rod on day one, as did Russell Owen for his performance on day two. Sean Jones and Dave Eames won Costa sunglasses for the biggest fish each day and the Fulling Mill £250 Prize for top overall rod went to Kieron Jenkins, who caught 22 trout over the two days for a total weight of 43lb 14oz.
To find out more abour Rutland Water visit their website at www.rutlandwater.org.uk