Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Jersey’s First Annual NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year Contest

I've have been meaning to put up a post on last weekend's one fly tournament. I'm not big on the whole competitive fishing scene but since this event was for charity I decided to participate. I had a great time but I was a little disappointed in myself. I finished first during the qualifications for the finals, but I was a few inches shy of taking it in the finals. The pisser is I only needed an 8 or 10 inch fish to take first place. I had that opportunity many times throughout the day. In fact I lost over 100 inches of fish before I had the first fish in the net. I lost five fish in the 20" class before in had my first fish officially measured. Including one that was actually in the net but managed to get hooked to the net as well and was able to leverage itself out. During the finals I had a 21" rainbow that was hooked out side of the mouth and could not be scored. In fact in the last seconds of the tournament i missed a fish on my last cast (you can see the missed strike at the end of the video on the Fly and Fin blog). I did however earn the title of "The Most Exciting Fisherman", on account that I definitely had the most fish hooked but my landing game was not up to par. To modify a line from the movie Jaws, "I think I need a bigger net". Rather than recap the whole event I have copied a write up on the event from the new site

"The One-Fly contest took place on November 6, 2010 at the Raritan Inn Bed & Breakfast, Califon, NJ. The Inn showcases nearly a mile of private waters on the South Branch of the Raritan River. A fully restored 1850’s barn housed the Traditional Angler Day and a presentation dinner.

Each NJ Trout Unlimited chapter and three Watershed Associations - Upper Raritan, Musconetcong and So. Branch - were invited to select one member each to participate. The 13 participants had a beautiful day on the river. A tough battle in the qualifying rounds identified three finalists for the afternoon. Bart Lombardo of Central Jersey was the most exciting fisherman of the day working a crayfish pattern with lots of fish on and garnered a slot in the finals. Keith Bologno representing the Uppper Raritan Watershed was a focused and skilled vaccum in the waters catching lots with a crafty selection of an emerger fly pattern. Bill Silvia landed in the finals with an 18" rainbow in the final minutes. After a hearty lunch the three hit the waters with a fanfare and audience on the banks. As the finals wound down Keith Bologno was a clear leader. With one minute to go Bill Silvia tied into a 21" bright rainbow streaming down the river. Bill landed him to lead to an unanticipated and dramatic tie. After consultation of the judges / guides of Jim Holland, Brian Cowden, and Don Tredski a one-fly, first fish final was set and the two leading sportsman headed back to the waters. An epic 2 1/4 hour stretch of catch, hook, land (nearly) drama closed out the afternoon with BILL SILVIA landing an 18" rainbow to capture the honors of 2010 NJ Flyfisherman of the Year. Many thanks to all who supported their contestant, attended Traditional Angler Day, enjoyed the dinner presentations, or plan to attend next year !"

If you want to check out some video from the event visit the Fly and Fin blog. Lou was on hand with his new camera and shot some footage of me in action. Fortunately he did a good job editing and didn't post any of my blunders.

The folks at Hardy North America , Shannon's Fly Shop and the Raritan Inn really did a great job putting this event together. I am looking forward to next year's event!

To wrap up congrats to Bill Silva from the Ken Lockwood Gorge chapter of Trout Unlimited the New Jersey Fly Fisherman Of The Year!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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