Seasoned competition fisherman Keith Renton, from Leitholm, has been looking back on a “fantastic experience”.
In the final few weeks of last year, Keith followed success in the Scottish Club Champion of Champions at the Lake of Menteith by captaining Team Scotland at the World Fly Fishing Championships in Tasmania.
Having fished internationally on a number of occasions, the 60-year-old joiner and builder opted this time for a managerial role with the squad, while he and his team mates also savoured the local culture and wildlife.
They met the Tasmanian Prime Minister, Robert Hodgman, and encountered some native duck-billed platypus and Tasmanian devils, as well as seeing some of the damage caused by previous bush fires.
The catch-and-release competition was for brown trout and rainbow trout – featuring shoals which had originated from the River Leven, after being transported Down Under back in the 1800s.
The setting was quite incredible, said Keith, adding: “It was like living in Coldstream and driving to the top of Ben Nevis to fish.
“We had a big drop in temperature, 50-60mph winds and horizontal snow.”
Keith had hoped for a top 10 finish and was slightly disappointed as Scotland ended in 14th, although he said this was “respectable at least”.
However, the Coldstream Angling Association member renewed friendships with other anglers he’d met before from other countries and said the visit was definitely one to remember.
He is already looking forward to another major international contest in Finland in 2020 and said: “I think we will do really, really well in Finalnd this year.
“In Tasmania, we worked really well as a team.”
Another notable success around the same time as the Champion of Champions came in the Home Internationals at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire, where Keith was the top Scottish angler on the day.
This gave him automatic qualification for the Scotland team to fish another international in Ireland this year.