FLY into Slovenia and jag a world title.
That is the goal of three Ballarat anglers ahead of the World Fly Fishing Championship in June.
The Ballarat trio of Craig Coltman (team captain), Vern Barby and Brian Hughes are part of a seven-man Australian team that will fly out tomorrow for the three-day event in the Dolomites mountains.
After a string of successes at international level, Coltman said the Australian team had good reason to be confident of bagging the big prize.
“We’re coming off a string of really good results. The Australian team won the Oceania Championships and the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships this season,” he said.
“It all comes down to preparation. We’ve done a lot of work to understand the local conditions. We sent an advance party over to Slovenia at the same time last year, and we’ve engaged local guides to help us as well.
“It is my job as captain to set up strategies, and the fishing techniques we will employ.”
The competition will be fished over five destinations in the area. Anglers rotate within their teams over the course of the three days and five rounds, with each nation having one fisherman per venue with one in reserve. The captain will not fish unless required.
Points are awarded for the number and size of fish caught. The individual angler with the most points wins each session, with team results simply individual results combined.
All competition is catch and release, using barbless hooks.
“Slovenia is a very interesting destination,” Coltman says.
“They have beautiful, clear rivers. and they are very fertile because of the limestone mountains, so there is plenty of rainbow trout, marble trout which is indigenous to the area and greyling.
“In some respect it hinders our cause because we don’t have greyling in Australia, but we have a fair bit of overseas experience in the team.
“This is my 17th international event, Vern has done about 15, and this will be Brian’s third international.
“To be competitive the good anglers will catch 20-30 fish in a session averaging about a pound, up to 25 pound. There is luck but it seems that the same anglers from the same countries tend to do well, so it does average out.”
This will be Coltman’s eighth and last world championship, while Vern has contested it five times.It is Hughes’ first world championship.
The Ballarat Fly Fishers' Club has a strong history of international representation, with members having represented Australia more than 40 times.