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The Fly Dressers' Guild

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The Big Fish Competition

The Guild runs an annual series of "Big Fish" competitions with separate categories for different species.  The Competition is open to members of the Guild who catch a fish on a fly they tied themselves and the catch must be witnessed. The winner of each category will be awarded a small trophy to keep in perpetuity.

In the Autumn 2013 Flydresser, the Guild announced a number of changes to the competition in response to feedback from members.  New categories were created for both the Rainbow and Brown Trout segments of the competition; the number of species in the other categories was reduced, and the criteria for judging certain categories was changed, to promote catch and release. 
CategoriesCriteria for judging the best fish 
Rainbow Trout Stillwater Weight 
Rainbow Trout Reservoir Weight
Rainbow Trout RiverLength 
Brown Trout StillwaterWeight 
Brown Trout Reservoir Weight 
Brown Trout River Length 
Salmon Length 
Grayling Length 
Bass (Saltwater)Length 

The full rules for the competition can be found below.  Entries for this year's competition can be found on Big Fish Entries.  Details of previous winners can be seen on Big Fish Winners.   
Rules and How to Enter
The Rules


  1. The competition is only open to fully paid up members of The Fly Dressers’ Guild.
  2. The competition runs from 1st October to the following 30th September inclusive.
  3. The fish must be caught on a fly tied by its captor. 
  4. The fish must be photographed and its capture must be witnessed.  The witness need not be a member, but needs to be willing to be contacted by the Fly Tying Awards Secretary
  5. All fish must be caught in the waters in or off the UK, Eire, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
  6. The winning entries for the following categories: Rainbow Trout Stillwater, Rainbow Trout Reservoir, Brown Trout Stillwater and Brown Trout Reservoir, will be selected on the basis of the weight of the fish.
  7. To promote catch and release, the winning entries for all other categories will be decided on the basis of the length of the fish, so the fish must be measured from nose to end of closed tail.
  8. The deadline for submission of entries is ten calendar days after the closing date of the competition. However, members are welcome to send their entries during the course of the competition, and to submit multiple entries for the same category.  Their names and category entered will be published on the website, but details of the weight of the catches will only be added at the end of the competition, to maintain interest in the competition.
  9. The winners will be notified as soon as practicable after the deadline for submission of entries, and their names, details of the fish caught, the fly it was caught on and the venue will be published in the following issue of Flydresser and on The Fly Dressers’ Guild website. 
  10. The winner in each category will receive a small trophy to keep in perpetuity and their name will be engraved on the relevant Guild trophy.
  11. The Guild trophies will be presented at the AGM and may be held by members until 1st September the following year, when they should be returned to the Fly Tying Awards Secretary in accordance with pre-agreed instructions.  If a winner is unable to attend the AGM, they should contact the Fly Tying Awards Secretary to make arrangements to collect the trophy.  Please note:  Members should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and integrity of trophies in their possession.
How to enter
All entries should be sent to the Fly Tying Awards Secretary at  If you do not have access to email, please send your entry by post to: Richard Ellis, The Belfry, Monks Walk, Ascot SL5 9AZ
Entries should be accompanied by the form set out below (available as a Word or PDF file), duly completed.  
If possible, the actual fly should also be submitted, so that it may be used as a basis for an article in the Flydresser magazine.

Word file

PDF file


Last modified on 21 February, 2015