I’m AT Match Editor Richard Grange and over the next few days I’ll be reporting from this years World Championships in Italy as Drennan Team England go in search of yet more glory on foreign soil.
Every evening for the next four days I’ll be keeping visitors to go fishing.co.uk up to speed with exactly what’s happening in the championships, reporting on the tactics that decide the medals and getting reaction to events as they happen over two days of pressure cooker match fishing.
Each report will go up on line at around 8pm UK time when you’ll get access to breaking news as it happens - no waiting days for the details in print, just all the thrills and spills of match fishing’s biggest weekend within a few hours of it happening.
Friday September 4, Ibis Hotel, Cremona
The final day of practice is over and now it gets serious – England will have to do their talking where it matters most but still foremost in the mind of every team member is the patchiness of the venue.
Today’s practice only served to highlight this, with England’s allocated zone producing little in the way of fish after a decent day on Thursday. England’s hope is that the draw tomnorrow morning deals them pegs that gives them at least half a chance of fulfilling their undoubted talent.
I spoke to Co-Manager Mark Addy ahead of the Friday night team meeting to fire a few questions at him before his men go into battle...
AT: How has today gone?
MA: Not as good as we expected to be honest. We were expecting to catch more fish and while Des and William caught a few and Steve had a trio of carp, it’s been a struggle for the rest and for a lot of teams really. The canal hasn’t fished at all well and we caught less than the team who fished our box yesterday but that’s been the case everywhere so on reflection I suppose we did quite well!
AT: Has the team been picked?
MA: Yes, Stu Conroy will not be fishing tomorrow. He’s basically not caught enough fish over the week and he knows that. He’s taken it well and will have just as important job to play on the bank.
AT: What will be the England approach tomorrow?
MA: That will depend on the draw! We’ll ball in our two mixes of groundbait and leam and just groundbait plus some double leam and balls of stickymag cupped in. We’ll be going cautiously as I don’t think that many teams here really know what’s going to happen – you can always put it in but can’t take it out as they say.
AT: Run us through those mixes Mark.
MA: The groundbait and leam mix is 50/50 Sensas Lake and Terre de Somme leam carrying a little joker. The groundbait is equal quantities of Gros Gardons, Fine Carp and Gialla, which is a special mix designed for carrassio. We’re adding some Black Tracix to this to darken it up and to create a bit of a cloud as the balls near the bottom. This is a sticky mix and will carry bloodworm and maggot.
AT: Any tricks up the England sleeve?
MA: We’ve got a shorter pole line which caught us a lot of fish, including asp and skimmers, early in the week. We’ve not fished this for the last three days so it’ll be interesting to see how well it works. I know a few other teams have tried this as well but it won’t be our main line of attack.
AT: What about rigs?
MA: We’re fishing quite light and will have two areas of the swim to fish if you like. The first is on the deck around a float length overdepth and the second is off bottom, anywhere between three and ten inches shallower. The deck rig will catch carp and carrassio while the shallow rig is for the skimmers.
Rigs are between 4 x 16 and 4 x 18 with differing lines and hooks. For the skimmers its delicate work using 0.09 and 0.09 lines to size 20 hooks and light elastics around no 4 or 5. For the deck, that goes up to 0.12 and a size 18 with heavier elastic, equivalent to Blue Hydro. We’ll also set up dedicated carp rigs with 0.12 straight through to a strong size 16 carp hook.
Hookbaits will be maggot on the deck between one and three baits and bloodworm for off the bottom. This is because there are so many tommy ruffe on the deck that are a nuisance when fishing bloodworm – they don’t seem to like maggots quite as much!
AT: Are you happy with where England are on the eve of battle?
MA: Like i said, no team with the exception of Italy, knows what’s going to happen tomorrow! The canal hasn’t fished the same for two days running and that makes it a nightmare to sort things out. We’ve done well this week i think and would hope we’ll be there or thereabouts after tomorrow.
AT: What are you looking for from tomorrow’s performance?
MA: We want to win and with the right draw we absolutely can. If we can’t top score then as long as we’re within striking distance, that’ll do nicely.
AT: How much of a role will carp play?
MA: They will be crucial in a lot of sections and because they run to 7 kilos, one fish could win a section! We hope to catch them of course and have done so all week and they’re also well spread along the canal so everyone will have a few in their peg – Steve Gardener showed today just what three bites and three fish can do.
AT: Finally Mark, what is your biggest concern at the moment?
MA: The one we’ve had all week – the draw. It is absolutely critical that we get our lads in the right areas of their sections as some ends have been miles better than the other all week. The problem is we now draw in a sequence and not by drawing individual pegs so it’s out of our hands – literally!
AT: Thanks Mark, good luck tomorrow.
MA: If we draw okay then we should do all right. Mark Downes’ face at 8am tomorrow morning will tell you if we’ve done that!
A guide to the event...
So how does the World Championships actually work – it’s a match unlike any other we see in England so here’s a quick idiot’s guide to the event.
Fished over two days, 37 teams from as far afield as the USA, Montenegro and the Channel Islands are taking part in an event with a list of rules that makes the offside law look like simple addition!
Teams consist of five anglers with one reserve who is allowed to fish the second day if required. Each angler will fish one of the five sections and the highest weight from each will earn one section point down to 37 for plum last. These are added together with the lowest aggregate score winning. This process is repeated again for day two. If there is a tie then weight rather than section countback as is common in the UK, is used. The same applies for the individual medals.
Each match is just three hours long with a five minute pre-baiting period before the all in. This is the only time in the match that anglers can feed balls of groundbait or leam made up with two hands. After this, they can only feed balls made in a single hand.
Legering is banned and on each float rig, a maximum of 10% of the float’s weight can be placed on the bottom of the swim. Pole length is limited to 13m and anglers are also have their bait and groundbait limited and every competitor is checked before the start of each day.
Each angler fishes within a zone roped off on the bank. Any hooked fish that swim out of this zone (an imaginary line running across the canal is monitored by stewards) are disqualified at the weigh in. Likewise, any fish still being played after the final hooter will not count.