New Zealand's first two youth anglers Geoffrey Berntsen and John Gummer have recently returned from their first taste of the World Youth Fly Fishing Champs held in Vail, Colorado, USA.
Along with Paul Gummer who acted as Team Captain the lads thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are already making plans to attend the event again next year.
The venues which they fished were much similar to those which the Senior Worlds will be held on in 2016 which offered the Worlds Team some in-depth intel, which the organization has never had before heading into a major championships.
Being their first international competition and coming up against many young anglers who were competing in their fourth and fifth Worlds the kiwi lads found the going tough in some of the venues, yet performed exceptionally in the later sessions picking up some great placings in their groups.
With Vail being at an altitude of 2500 metres the lads suffered from altitude sickness for several days and although acclimatized during their stay felt the effects throughout the tournament.
A big part of these events is being able to meet like minded fly fishermen from all over the world and forging friendships that will last for many years to come.
While the world is a big place, the fly fishing fraternity can seem rather small, and the lads made some great friends and contacts that will serve them well in years to come. Fishing new water and to several different species of fish was also exciting with the two landing their first Brook Trout, along with Cutthroat, White Fish and a Salmon.
Light gear and fine tippets and at times very small flies #20+ were necessary to fool the Colorado fish.
With the experience of this Worlds under their belt, the two lads now turn their attention to the Oceania's and the Commonwealth Championships over the next 12 months, which each are a part of.
This World Youth Championships was the first that have been attended by NZ and is it hoped that along with John and Geoff, SFFNZ can nurture several more youth anglers in the coming years with an aim of sending a complete team of five.
If you are a youth angler or know of any youth anglers that would be U19 as of the 1st January in the year of championships, and are interested in exploring what competition fly fishing is all about, then please send us a message through our Facebook: Sport Fly Fishing New Zealand
Sales Manager: Graham Carter P: 07 8551833 M: 021 02600437 E:
W: www.fishingoutdoors.org P.O. Box 10580, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3240 Facebook