Local Angler off to World Fly Fishing Champs in Spain

Local Junior Angler heading to World Fly Fishing Champs in Spain.

Richard Bechard

Richard Bechard – Photo: ZENA FOGG 

A local Nottingham Road youngster has been selected to the Youth Protea Fly Fishing team and will be soon heading for Santiago de Compostela, Spain for the Youth World Champs. Richard (Roo) Bechard, a Grade 10 pupil at Michaelhouse, has been an avid fly fisher from a young age and joined the KZNFFA structure at the age of 13. He has worked his way through the structure by participating and representing KZN at annual fly fishing Nationals over the years, and through his determination and willingness to absorb all things fly fishing from Senior anglers and youth mentors alike, his solid performances placed him high on the National Ranking list for Juniors and an invitation to the Protea trials earlier in the year. The trials consisted of intense technical evaluation of both river and lake skills by the National coach M.C Coetzer and two other selectors. Roo came out being scored in the top five of sixteen elite young fly fishers.
I posed a few questions to Roo to learn more about his achievement and his preparation for the World Champs.
Q: How did you get into fly fishing?
A: I spent the early years of my life watching my dad fishing, he would cast for me and I would retrieve. I started casting in the garden and then he got me my first rod when I was about seven. I was hooked and tried to go fishing every spare moment I had. Gareth George and the Wildfly guys always helped me out when I was younger and have continued throughout the years with anything I need.
Q: How long have you worked toward this opportunity to represent in the SA structure and what does it mean to you to be selected as a Junior Protea fly fisher?
A: I first thought about competitive fly fishing at Clifton school in grade 7. I was with Robbie Melouney, who is also a competitive fly fisherman in the KZNFFA and whilst at the school dam the idea came to our minds. It has been a goal for me since my first Nationals when my team mate Matt Gorlei was a Protea angler and he became my role model in fly fishing. It is a huge privilege to be representing my country for sport and I love doing it so it makes it that much more enjoyable for me.
Q: What aspect team fly fishing do you enjoy, how do you work as a team in fly fishing at this level?
A: Working as a team is a huge part of competition fly fishing. Coming back after a session and discussing what techniques and flies to use will always give you an advantage going into a session, especially fishing a water you have never fished before. A team that bonds together will always benefit you and your team mates by tackling different challenges and combining your knowledge and different approaches to challenging waters.
Q: What excites you about the upcoming fishing in Spain?
A: The fact that I am fishing in a World Champs is exciting in itself. It will be my first Worlds and the waters in Spain are going to be technical and I am looking forward to the challenges that this will bring.
Q: Have you fly fished for trout in another country before and what basic preparation are you doing for Spain?
A: I have fished for trout in a reservoir in Scotland but Spain will be very different. The team got together in the Cape recently and we had a training weekend with our coach, Gary Glen-Young, and former Junior Proteas who have fished in Europe. We discussed the waters to be fished in Spain, plans for the trip and practiced techniques. Matt helped me in my first Protea trial when he came up to the midlands and showed me what was going to be expected of me, this definitely helped give me the edge into the team the next year. We have to prepare a number of different fly patterns for Spain but will also be tying when we get over there a week ahead of the event. Wildfly have assisted with my gear , tackle and materials.

The event takes place from 8th – 14th August and the team will travel with Coach Gary-Glen Young and Manager Evert Minaar both of whom are former Protea Senior Anglers.
Tight Lines Roo!

Article by Linda Gorlei
KZNFFA