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World Tuscany Open

21-23 SEPTEMBER 2007
Madonna del parto
Judging Flies

L to R: Nadica Stancev, Igor Stancev, Al Caucci,
Hans van Klinken, John Randolph, A.K. Best

To put it as simply as I possibly can, the World Tuscany Flytying Open was amazing.  From the outside looking in there was not a hitch to be seen, it was just so well organised.  It truly is a credit to those who spent so much time and effort putting this show together.  No wonder they only run the event every second year.
The story for me began with an invitation to be one of the judges at the WTO and how could you refuse an opportunity to visit Tuscany and enjoy some of the world’s finest wines and unbelievable food?  Not to mention the social blending with our hosts and other invited guests.
My wife Alaine and I left early with the plan to stay in Rome for a few days which was nothing but exhilarating; history, art, food, wine and fashion belong to Italy.

The Borgo Palace - Sansepolcro

Roberto and Maurizio picked us up from Rome and we drove for the next two hours up to Sansepolcro in Tuscany.  We were booked into the Borgo Palace, a 4.5 star hotel, just a short stroll to the heart of the town.

The first night and the first feast (wow) saw us mingling and meeting the other guests but the next day it was work and judging the flies that had been entered from around the world.  There were six categories, Realistic, Ephemera Male Spinner, Realistic Sedge, Salmon Fly fully dressed with the theme being Piero della Francesca’s painting of the Madonna del parto (1467), Saltwater Sardina pilchardus and finally, an open class.

The rules for judging were simple, the highest score that you’d give a fly was 90 and you graded down from there.  That is not to say that in each category there was only one fly that was allowed to receive full marks. The fact was that if there were five flies that were good enough in any category and deserved full marks, they got it and let the computer sort the final scores.  The old magnifying glass sorts out a few of the wrinkles and helps make the job a little easier.

Salmon Fly
Realistic category
From the Realistic category
you could just about eat it!
WTO Members of the Jury

Each of the judges was asked to sign a certificate and these were given to all of those, who sent in entries in each division.  From what I am told, these certificates are much sought after.  I can understand that, especially when you realise that some of the world’s best known fly tyers/fly fishermen’s signatures are on that document. 

After the judging a few quiet beers and a chat went down well and that evening we were treated to another great feast, as only the Italians can do.  Love that Italian food!
If you wish to see who won, click onto the WTO website and follow the links -

The signed Certificate issued to all contributors and judges is very much regarded as a collector’s piece

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Two samples of the artistry and skill shown in the Salmon Fly section