Interview with Czech successful fly fishing competitor Ivan Vancura.
I am happy to let you know that there is another interview with a long-time Czech fly fishing team member, a passionate hunter, a future farmer, a father of four children, but mainly with a great man and my friend Ivan "Váňa" Vancura 😉. We have had a lot of fun and experience with Vanya and I hope we will have much more!
🐟Vanya, how long have you been fishing and who brought you to fishing?
🦌I have been fishing since I was 6 years old when I started to go fishing. Originally I started to go to the canoing kid's club, but next door there was just the fishing group and I liked it more. At home they didn't want to hear much about it, so I had no choice but to cry. 😃
🐟How long have you been fishing? Where do you prefer to fly fish and what is your favorite fish?
🦌I had my first contact with the fly rod on the fishing club where we were casting at target. But I didn't fly fish until I was 17. I was introduced to fly fishing by my friend Tonda Habertizel. He took me to Litavka stream for the first time, showed me what and how and I completely failed the fly fishing. I started cycling around the villages and collecting feathers from all the birds so I could make my first flies. I like fishing all fish. I was fed on coarse fish, so Berounka and Litavka are my heart rivers. I enjoy trout fishing on the Vltava and Svratka. I like to go to Traun river, where you can catch bigger grayling and rainbow.
🐟What style of fly fishing do you prefer to catch your favorite fish?
🦌If somebody says fly fishing is the royal discipline of fishing, then the catching fish on dry fly fully fulfills this definition for me. So the dry fly wins at me. But otherwise I do not resist any technique.
🐟How long have you been competing and do you remember when and where you did your first fly fishing competition?
🦌My first fly fishing competiton was at Berounka river in Roztoky (near Prague). It was a regional championship and I was 7. For holding the fly rod for the third time in my hand and it was my first competition, it was a great result. And here I fully fell into competitive fly fishing…
🐟Is there a competition that you like so much that you will continue to join after your competition career is over? And why?
🦌There are many nice competition in the busy schedule. The most popular are the competitions on Svratka and Vltava. The most popular one for me is the Kouba's Memorial on the Vltava River. I would like to go there as long as I can and as long as I have a something to offer to my friends Vojta and Franta so I can fish with them in one team.
🐟In what year did you start representing Czech Republic and where were you for the first time? Did you bring a medal?
🦌My first competition with the Czech national team was the European Championship in Sweden in 2004. We had the opportunity to go as a second team, which had to pay for everything on its own. It was a dream for me at that time to take part in such a competition, so when I was approached I didn't hesitate for a minute to confirm my participation. Gaining the gold medal in the teams was then the icing on the cake of this championship. Since this championship I have been in a national team with couple of pauses when I refused to attend because I had my child born and I wanted to be there 😃
🐟 Can you count how many times you participated in the European and World Championships and how many team medals did you bring from them?
🦌If I count well, I have represented 8 times in 16 years. I have a total of 7 team medals at home and one individual. Only one European Championship in Bosnia, where I was, we could not get a medal.
🐟Which of these international competitions has stuck in your memory and why?
🦌All of them stuck in my memory. Each championship was something specific and had a strong memory or experience. The most important championships for me were probably the first European Championship in Sweden, which was the first national championship for me, and then the championships held here in the Czech Republic in 2011 and 2018.
🐟In 2011 you managed to win the European Championship during the championship held here in the Czech Republic. Could you describe the most interesting moments?
🦌Yes. It was a very interesting championship for me. It was at home, so everyone was expecting gold in the teams. We were a little nervous about that.
Every round was interesting, be it the boat competition at the lake or the individual rounds on the rivers. One of the most interesting was the round on the Vltava River below Vyssi Brod. I got there with a nymph, but after 45 minutes I had only 2 fish and I wasn't really into it. The competitor below me was catching rainbows and the fish in my sector didn't show any interest in my flies at all. Then I changed my tactics - I took a dry fly and walked down the stream and took the brownees off the bank. In the end I made a nice 3rd place.
The second most interesting round was the last time I joined the Devils's stones (very steep and wild stretch on the Vltava river below Lipno dam). Before the last round, I knew that we were fighting not only for team gold, but also I had a chance to win the individual medal. Thanks to the advise of Terka Rutová, who was fishing there the day before, and probably also a bit of luck, I found the feeding dace that came upstream from the below buffer dam. There was no such problem to catch one by one. Clear No 1 on Devil's stons secured me at the worst silver medal in individuals. On my way back, I learned that Jean Quillaume Mathieu, a French competitor with whom I was fighting for the first place, was defeated by 1 cm in length on the lake and I won the whole championship. I will not deny that I immediately cried with happiness… 😃
And then in the room I shaved my head with a razor blade, because I promised if I win ...😃
🐟The Czech Republic team also won gold during this European Championship. Do you remember where and how long you celebrated? Could you tell us some secret story from the celebrations?
🦌The final ceremony took place in the gardens of the Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod. Banquet and reward of the best competitors then in the evening in the castle in Rozmberk nad Vltavou. Celebrations lasted until early morning…. All night Jean Guillaume Mathieu told me not to drink, to get drunk. I kept telling him not to be careful ... After midnight, without knowing a single word in French, I tried to talk to him in his native language and explain to him that I was not drunk yet ... 😃
🐟Do you still have a dream you would like to achieve in competitive fly fishing?
🦌Whenever I have to go to some competition or represent my country at the European Championship or World Championship, I want to get the best result and win. There are a few challenges and dreams that I have not achieved in my 26-year career so far. At the same time, however, I have fulfilled most of the dreams and goals that I thought of in my early days. My national squad career is slowly but surely coming to an end. However, I will probably never stop join competitions. I love it too much. And you know that in any competition I participate in, I won't give my skin to anyone for free.
🐟If you had unlimited resources and unlimited time, where and for how long would you go fishing? Would he take someone with him?
🦌There are many places I would like to look not only as a fisherman. Most of all I wanted to look at New Zealand. Once I saved some budget for it, but the difficult situation came and I had to use the funds somehow differently. But the dream remained. Either I go there with my wife and make a nice trip, or I'd like to go there with some fisherman friend so I wouldn't be alone. Two are always traveling and fishing better. Maybe once, when my children grow up a little, I will be more free to go and fish there and in some other nice places too.
🐟And the last question to you is, what is your favorite fly rod you have at home? Which technique is suitable for and why do you like it?
🦌I have several favorite fly rods. Aside from my beginnings, when I was fishing with rods that someone had knocked out and given me, I fished with a lot of brands of rods - from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. I don't think that the most expensive fly rods are always worth the price. The last few years I have been fishing with rods from Hanak Competition. The last Superb series is really good. My favorite rods these days are Superb XP 3100 and Superb XP 390. The XP 3100 is my favorite nymphing rod and the XP 390 is such a versatile wet and dry fly rod for me. I started fishing with them two years ago and basically I don't feel I need to change at this time. But I have a problem... what am I going to do with all the other rods I have in my closet at home? 😃
🐟 So I Vanya hope that your kids will learn to fly fish with them 😃. Thank you very much for the interview and I hope that we might look at this New Zealand adventure together.