Of the many excuses we invent as to why we don’t convert our casts, few hold as much water as those that account for simple biology.

Carien Kreidemann

Time with a rod in hand gives us perspective of fish behavior, but changing what we do, that has in days past worked, is easier said than done. It’s why, ‘which fly is working’ is almost a direct result of how often we throw that pattern.

It’s what makes festivals like the TOPS Corporate Challenge a key indicator.
The first leg of this benchmark event witnessed some outsanding catches, with 442 Trout landed and measured, many fish making an angler’s personal best! But 4 weeks later the tables turned. Take nothing away from the festivities, always being the mainstay of the TCC, on the fishing front, most Trout were just not interested in coming out to play.

WildFly waters are known for their lack of rod pressure and feral Trout testing your leader strength, but they, like all animals cannot ignore the reproducive cycle that puts their need to feed behind that urge to breed. And if you catch them at the confusing crossover time, where they aren’t chasing food or anothers’ tail, it can have you ferreting through your fly boxes looking for answers.
This last weekend was a real case in point, as it turned into a real horses for courses.
Damsels and Dragons elicited reactions on some waters, whereas on a few dams they would only chase a Minnow and on others, you had to turn to the bright gawdy colors to wake them the %$&# up. Then there were those dams, where no matter what you threw at the problem, you got the middle fin. That said, the spirit of the event prevailed with antics and anecdotes which forever remain on tour and no doubt on some select whatsapp groups.
A underwhelming total of 244 made it to the measuring net over this last weekend, with the biggest fish of 59cm caught by Carrien Kriederman of the Fins and Feathers team, on the infallible WildFly Frosty.
As we’ve come to expect from an event that just doesn’t take the fishing too seriously, the incredible array of prizes were dished out librally for satarical awards like the Tyson Fury nomination, providing some light hearted entertainment on the final evening.
But kudos must deservedly be given to Mike Koller, from the Steinweg Slayers, earning himself the accolade of Top Fly Fisher, with 14 Rainbows, but most importantly catching fish in every session.
And despite a valient effort by the Fish On team and the Fly Beserkers, it was The Zimmers that pipped them all in the final telling session, being duely crowned as the TOPS Corporate Challenge champions of Leg 2.
At the halfway mark of the 2024 TCC, 686 Trout have been tallied, teeing up what aims to be a record breaking year! As always, this gathering is sure to be the start of many great fishing stories.