With updates to the leaderboard after the Helen Classic Roger Wilson made a large jump and is now our number 1 ranked angler, followed closely in second by his team mate Shawn Isaacs! Let’s hear from Roger on his take of competitive angling.
- Ben-” How long have you been competing and what brought you to the competition scene? Roger- My first tournament was the 2018 Gold Cup, so I guess I’ve been competing about a year and half or so. I got into competitions because I just love competing. I feel like competition brings out your best. I also wanted to get my step son Peyton into competitions. He’s had a fly rod in his hands since he was like 9 years old and I wanted to compete with him and to see how he would do.
- Ben- “What were your goals for last season and did you accomplish them? If so what were the keys to your success?” Roger- Last year I didn’t really have any goals other than to just get used to the competition formats. I have fly fished my entire life, but wasn’t used to being timed. Catching fish has never been an issue, but learning how to manage your time was the big thing. Competitors call it “Beat Management”, but I think it’s more about time management.
- Ben- “What are your goals for this season and how do you plan to achieve them?” Roger- My goals for this year were to meet as many people as I could that love this sport like I do, and just enjoy hanging out with them in different towns and fishing different waters. If I can help them to enjoy their time on the water by teaching them some new things or if they can teach me a few things, then I think we can all call it a good day. People have always been more important to me than medals.
- Ben- “Do you have a favorite fly pattern?” Roger- My favorite fly pattern is the one that the fish are eating! I don’t have a lot of different fly patterns, and think a lot of people over think their fly boxes. All my stuff is pretty plain and simple and I think most people would look at my fly box and not be overly impressed. But unlike fly shops and commercial fly tiers, it’s not the approval of the fisherman that I am after.
- Ben- “What is your go to technique when competing?” Roger- There is no “go to technique” in my opinion. If you plan on catching fish in all conditions, you better have plenty of techniques in your arsenal and then use the one that the fish respond to. I believe a lot of people think that as long as they are “tight lining” or “Euro Nymphing” as opposed to some of the older, more thought to be antiquated techniques, that they are good. Although true in some conditions, it’s pretty rare to be the case in general.
- Ben-“For someone interested in competing or starting out, what would be your advice to them?” Roger- For anyone that wants to get better in any sport or activity, my advice would be to shadow someone better than you. Most people want to share their knowledge with others. To me, there is no advantage to having the knowledge if not to share it with others. Competitors have worked long and hard to obtain the knowledge and skills they have, and a lot of them guide full time or part time. Call them up and go on a trip with them. You will gain ten times the fish catching abilities paying a good guide for a weekend than purchasing the latest and greatest fly rod or equipment.
- Ben- “Why did you choose to compete in the SEFFL and after its first year what do you think about the league in general?” Roger- I fish the SEFFL because I enjoy their format, the laid back atmosphere, and the people that compete in the league. They do their best to provide a neutral playing field, and really take input from their participants and try to make improvements. It’s not stifled and suffocated with heavy regulation and fees and is more suited to the angler that wants to have fun, meet people, and test their mettle against the fish.
- Ben- ” You are the top angler on your team, do you believe the team aspect of competitive angling is a unique outlier that makes the sport more fun than just individual angling?” Roger- Definitely being on a team will make competing more enjoyable. Not only will you meet new people and develop new relationships, but the information that is shared during tournaments is invaluable and also unavailable if you’re not a part of one. Finding a good fit is very important and a lot of teams hold open practices or even tryouts so I would encourage a new person to competition fly angling to not be shy and reach out to the teams that you’re interested in.
- Ben- “Open forum, anything you would like to add for the subscribers?” Roger-Thank you Ben VanDevender for what you do for this sport. I really appreciate all the hard work that he puts into competition fly angling, and would hate to think of what the opportunities for it would be with out him.