Exmouth's Heather is part of England ladies fly fishing champion team
PUBLISHED: 08:57 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:24 18 June 2019
Exmouth resident Heather Lamacraft is back home after representing England who won the ladies fly fishing international held at Draycote Water in Warwickshire.
Heather was one of a 12-strong England team that battled against teams from Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Heather says: "This was my third international appearance and it was quickly apparent that preparation is everything when it comes to fishing at this level.
"I had travelled up Draycote Water, in the Midlands, for several weekends before the championships, to fish with different team members and the manager of our team, Chris Bobby.
"Our week of preparation, as a team, started six days prior to the International (held on June 6). We tried different lines, on different areas of the water with a selection of boobies, nymphs, buzzers, wet, and dry flies.
"Over the course of five days of practice, a pattern of hot spot areas on the lake, methods of lines and a few flies that were more successful at catching fish, emerged.
"The weather was very changeable, we went from flat calms to 20 mile an hour winds, and one day had a thunderstorm to brave!
"However, the international day itself was relatively kind, just one or two showers and a good ripple on the water.
"The days of practice were full on, from breakfast at 7am, down to the pontoon by 8.30am fishing to 5.30pm, team meeting at 6pm, 7.30pm dinner and then bed! It was an exhausting time, energy wise, however we were all pretty focused."
As for the big day and the start of the international, Heather says: "The morning of the international started with a parade down to the water all in our teams, this was to the sound of the bagpipes and a minute silence was held in honour to those who lost their lives on D Day.
"I was drawn to fish against Scotland's Liz Fraser, who was making her 12th international appearance. Twenty-four boats all set off from the pontoon, motoring as fast as possible to get to fish the areas that were the hot spots.
"Liz had first shout and wanted to go to 'Rainbow Corner'. I had a plan in my head of using just one of three methods, and, as we zoomed across the water I realised because of the area we were heading to and the weather conditions 'pulling' was not an option, as we approached the corner it was very calm, I decided on using the bung, not an exciting method, but needed to give it a try.
"After seeing a few rises happening around us I cast my set leader, and, within 10 minutes, I was into a fish!
"Within an hour I had two fish to the boat and felt comfortable with this method.
"A few rods were bending around me, luckily the women wearing the red cap of the England team.
"When it was my shout I tried a different area of the water with no success, so returned to 'Rainbow Corner' and sat there for the rest of the day.
"I had a total of six fish to the boat and had lost two one of which was not hooked properly.
"I felt for sure the fish were coming on to feed as we had to leave at the end of the day, I would have loved to have stayed, but couldn't risk being disqualified!"
Then next - and arguably most crucial part of the day came next - Heather explained saying: " As we came into the pontoon, it soon became apparent that all of us in the team had caught fish, no one blanked. Gwyneth Mooney caught eight and was top rod, myself and two others caught six but apparently I came second as my fish were longer, all in all we caught 54 fish, second place went to Ireland whose catch was 28, Scotland 19 and Wales 17 fish.
"I was very privileged to have been part of a team of focused and determined women and I take my hat off to Chris Bobby who had to manage us all, he did it with clarity and great organisational skills and we weren't going to be beaten.