National championship 2016.
Many who have followed me for a long time know that I’m a big fan of competition tying especially the live competitions like the Finnish Nationals. The competition has been arranged since 1984 and in the golden years had around 200 participants. Now the numbers have declined mostly due to internet and the ease of getting feedback on your flies by posting photos online but it’s great that we’ve managed to keep the traditional competition alive. I would recommend it to everyone and was happy to see many new faces in the competition this year. It’s a great place to learn and improve your tying and fantastic opportunity to chat with other tyers from all parts of Finland.
This year I participated in the Trout fly -category and was judging the salmon fly competition. I will not go in to much detail about the competition this time, you can read my older posts if you’re not familiar with it yet. This was the first time I took photos of my flies while tying as I usually don’t have time to do so and thought I would reflect on my own tying in yesterdays competition. We had 3 hours to tie the flies from given materials and get to read the patterns as the competition time starts.
First fly was a Greenwell’s Glory dry fly. Haven’t been tying much of these in years so I was a bit afraid that this type of pattern would come. I tied it a bit too fast which resulted in pretty awkward proportions. The biggest mistakes in my mind were that I tied the wings too far back and that resulted in a too short body and too long space for the hackle. Other than that pretty happy with it considering the circumstances. 65/100 points and that’s about what I would’ve given it too.
Then we tied a Kingfisher Butcher wetfly. Not the easiest of wetflies to tie neatly because of the wingmaterial but pretty simple otherwise. My tail is maybe a bit too long, the hackle too dense and the wing could’ve been better. The judges disagreed on this fly pretty much with individual points ranging from 13 to 20p (of 25p/judge) with an overall of 64/100 points. When I tied it I thought it was a bit better fly but looking at the photo I can agree with the judging.
Third fly was a Whitlock’s Sculpin. This was a tricky one because I had a wrong type of image in mind when I saw the pattern and name. I never tie matukas so I had the proportions a bit wrong with a too short tail for this pattern and was afraid to do more sculpin like form for the head because of what I remembered the original to look like. The judges would’ve appreciated a more sculpin like overall form and only one tier had achieved it with his fly. 67/100 points, agreed again.
Last and not least was a freestyle caddis pupa from the given materials. Should’ve been a piece of cake but somehow didn’t get a good shape or proportions for this one. Also realised later I had missed a lot of available materials which resulted in a bit awkward materials choices for some parts. 62/100 points, hard to judge this one myself as it depends a lot on what the others looked like but probably wouldn’t at least have given any higher points.
So pretty steady series that usually gives good results in this competition (although usually you need a bit higher scores) and yesterday it was enough for the 2nd place. Would’ve needed 18 more points to win so it wasn’t even close and big congratulations for Timo Tuuha who deserved the win after tying good flies for many years in the competition. Congratulations to other tyers as well and a big thank you for the organizers who did a great job.