The world’s fly fishing championship took place in Norway from the 10th to the 17th of August and was extremely difficult.
The particularly shallow waters did not facilitate the task for the 127 fishermen coming from 27 nations. This championship had 5 rounds, 3 on river and 2 on lake: both on boat and on the lakeside.
A young belgian achieved a feat by getting the 3rd place. It’s at 25 that Julien Lorquet defied the biggest names of flyfishing.
Rodtrip interviewed for you this great fisherman.
Could you give us a few words about yourself?
Hi, I’m Julien Lorquet, 25, I’m from Verviers, Belgium. I work at the University of Namur in the study and restoration of rivers and in the field of hydrobiology.
About fishing, when and how did you start doing competitions?
I got started in the summer of 2002, I was 14 or 15. A friend had asked me to try it in the junior league. And I’ve got to tell you, it was a revelation. I got fully seduced. Competition makes you want to perpetually better and question yourself.
You’re forced to catch fish in all sectors, even in those you know there’s no fish in. You can’t stay on a loss, you must master each fishing technique at least a minimum. Some sectors are difficult and you still need to pull it off to be well ranked.
If I remember correctly, it’s not your first world championship, can you explain?
Yes, it’s my third one. The first, it was a big discovery, an immersion into high level competition. On the second one I did quite poorly, my sectors were difficult I and made some strategic mistakes.
The third was the right one, I met all 3 conditions needed to succeed in this world championship.
3 conditions ?
Yes, let me explain myself. They are, in order of importance:
- Technique: It’s for me the main factor when you go to a competition like that. You must be at the peak of your technique, to be trained in good conditions and to have appropriate flies.
You must believe it to two hundreds percent.
- Luck: you must be lucky to find a nice spot. There is where a good fisherman can make the difference with his competitors. He will have the good technique and even if he doesn’t get a good sector, he will still catch fish! See, there’s a reason that the winners are always the same.
- Success: To not unhook or to catch THE fish that will make the difference on the final ranking.
You’re talking about training, but how, according to you, do you prepare a world championship in order to win?
You can’t leave anything to chance. The training is primordial. We’re not allowed to fish in the competition’s areas during the week preceding it, so we do some scouting, we look for similar areas.
We do an analyse by team at the end of the day. And we put a strategy in place.
How was the fishing during the competition?
The fishing was really hard, the rivers have uniform streams and it was hard to find the fish. The level of water had dropped by more than one meter and on one rive the fish took refuge in areas outside of the competition (they swam back up to a lake).
We fished most of the time with wet flies, sometime with streamers or with dries.
Same thing for the lakes, subtle fishing with dries or wet flies and streamers made the difference.
Can you tell us about the flies, or is it top secret?
I can tell you, but you’ll be disappointed, there wasn’t anything remarkable. A goddard sedge, a wet red tag and a supper puppa… That’s what you needed.
On the last day, you’re well ranked and you’re only missing a few points to climb on the podium of this competition.
Could you tell us how that went?
Indeed, I am 11th with 9 points from the first. Knowing my objective was to be ranked in the 20 firsts, I am already satisfied with my performance.
My last round takes place on a lake by boat, ¾ of my competitors go to the small river, called “the dead river” by them.
I know that a single fish is enough, I just have no choice, I can’t fail. I’m fishing with an australian and he starts captain. He gets me in the cove of the lake where most of the fishes were caught, but I’m under a lot of pressure and the fishes are difficult.
When I get captain, I still haven’t catched any fish: I unhooked one and pulled one too small.
I move around I decide to try a big fish in the deep splits but without success, so we get back to the edges. And finally, after fishing 2 hours and 14 minutes (a round lasts 3 hours), I catch THE fish. At this moment, you feel alive, your stress goes away, you’re in nirvana. A billion things go through your head in a split second. Two minutes later, I catch a second fish. So I’m sure to be on the podium.
The final result is on my competitors’ fishing rods now.
On the way back to the hotel, a friend calls me and tells me that I’m third. It’s hard to believe, I only fully realise it when I’m back at the hotel. It’s a spendid result, it’s incredible and way over my expectations.
And then you find yourself on the podium next to two renown fishermen that are V. Santi Amantini and M. Droz and you tell yourself, it’s great, I went for this result and got it. It’s unforgettable.
If you had to change one thing in your championship,
what would it be?
Santi Amantini and Droz are prestigious fishermen. They are technically better than the rest of the world. I couldn’t hope being in front of them.
However, the second round was fatal for me. I lost a lot of points, I had to cross the river with water in my waders to catch my only trout. But the water was super cold, I couldn’t continue fishing and had to get out of the water, I was in hypothermia.
A lot of things, carry on the competition, I still got to improve a lot to reach the level of the first and second. I have to refine my techniques and train intensely.
Thanks for this interview, I wish you the best for the rest of your career.
This guy is going to be a big name. Since he got back from Norway, he got great results: second at the belgian river championship and first at the last round of the Master… Looks like competition ain’t just about luck.
I’ll hold on to one thing from this interview, as you might expect the conversation did not stop there. We discussed about a lot of subject around a good belgian beer. It’s the calm, serenity and modesty of Julien. He did not, in any way, tell me he was the best or put himself in the spotlight.
I remember one part of our discussion:
A few years back I went fishing in the north of Italy with two friends,on a beautiful river, I arrived there sure of myself, of my technique. I would ace it. And indeed, I start fishing and I catch fish… Our italian friend Edgardo Dona followed us, and made the double of catches of us three. There, I told myself I was only at the beginning of fly fishing and that if I wanted to progress I still had a lot to learn, I wasn’t as good as I thought… I stopped fishing, I observed how they did it and learned…
That’s the state of mind of Julien.
I wish him again the best and a good progress.