“We’ve got the venues - we just haven’t got the fish.” That’s the verdict of former England boss Dick Clegg on England’s chances of hosting the World Champis as the search goes on for a venue to replace Holland for the 2009 event.
Several countries are in the frame for September’s match, but once again England is not one of them and according to Dick, it never will be until either a venue purpose-built for the match is created, or existing fisheries are carefully maintained to produce a reasonable match - both of which, he thinks are a long, long way from realisation.
“We’ve got such a small land mass in the UK that finding a venue big enough is the first obstacle we face,” he said. “We do have a handful that would fit the bill, such as Holme Pierrepont but, given predation problems, simply stocking these fisheries and leaving the fish to settle over time would be like feeding the cormorants by hand!”
However, Dick is hopeful that with formation of the Angling Trust, fishing finally has that one powerful unified body to make people such as the Environment Agency, which it can work with closely, sit up and take notice of just what the sport needs to develop a championship venue.
“In the next 12 months I’ll be meeting with the relevant people to discuss developing and sustaining suitable venues, but more importantly, policing them to ensure we’re not wasting angling’s time and money,” he added. “We don’t want another embarrassment like 1994 was, but unless we build a fishery purely to host the World Champs, it’s hard to see it happening here.” There is one man that thinks it can be done though. Nigel Harrhy already owns the hugely successful Barston Lakes fishery in the West Midlands and he reckons Holme Pierrepont could be the place for the World Champs - but it’ll cost a good few quid to get it spot-on.
“I offered to help run Holme Pierrepont five years ago, but was turned down by the then NFA,” Nigel said. “The only way to ever get the place right would be to have fish refuges on the bottom, a heavy fertiliser programme once a week during the summer and a stocking of young healthy breeding fish such as skimmers, roach and perch. After five years of good management the water would be back capable of hosting a World Champs for a cost of, I reckon, around £300,000.” Holland’s bid for this year’s event might not be sunk, however. The Dutch federation has put forward a third venue for use, which is being inspected by FIPS at the end of the month.
1 River Nene - Peterborough Embankment
Home of the AT Team Champs final, the Nene has all the technical aspects needed, but could it withstand a fortnight of pressure from 40 teams?
2 Holme Pierrepont Rowing Course - Nottingham
A shambles in 1994, no big matches have been held there since. Ticks the boxes logistically, but cormorants are still a problem and rumours persist that it is to be turned into a marina.
3 Jubilee River - Windsor
Arrow straight with good access, the Jubilee is a flood relief channel opened in 2003. If it doesn’t rain in the run up to the match, it could be good, but if the heavens open, will it be unfishable?
4 River Huntspill - Bridgwater
Hosted a fantastic Division 1 National last year, the ŒSpill’ is still an unknown quantity like the Nene.
5 River Trent - Nottingham Embankment
Coming back into prime form, the Embankment would need the return of big matches to prove its mettle.