In football terms its only half time in the 2010 coarse fishing World Championships and Drennan Team England hold a slender lead as they steel themselves for day two of the World Champs, a marvellous 21 point score seeing them just two in front of neighbours Team Daiwa Scotland who put in an equally impressive performance to take second.
No one quite knew just how the river was going to fish under big match conditions and despite an absence of valuable bleak in some areas, carp showed late on all over the river and England got their fair share of them to claim two thirds, two fourths and a seventh in section.
With each section split in half, the anglers were fishing against 15 others but bizarrely, organisers decided to leave a gap between these ‘mini sections’, producing a total of 20 end pegs, quite a few of these throwing up the section winners, of which the leaders had done.
So although there may not be any prospect of an individual medal, a team gong is still very much on the menu and confidence is extremely high. England fished for and caught those important carp and their bleak skills - where there were some bleak to be caught - helped give them a solid foundation for that important last hour.
The scene along the match length of the 2010 coarse fishing World Championships
Angling Times caught up with Co-Manager Mark Addy to get his thoughts on the day’s events.
AT: A bit of an obvious question, but are you happy?
MA: Yes, very happy indeed. It was a slow start in many areas but we set our traps for big fish later on and caught them. What has become apparent though is that some parts of each mini section aren’t that good for bleak. Where I was in Sean Ashby’s section the first eight pegs were hopeless while the next eight caught up to 8 kilos of them! They seem to be localised, but if they are there, you can fish for them all day and have a weight.
AT: Two points is a fragile lead. Are you confident you can defend it?
MA: We’re very confident at the moment and while there will always be a terrible draw in the bag for some teams, I think that we know enough about the place to get the best out of wherever we end up. Put it this way - we’d rather be two points in front than 10 adrift!
AT: What will change tomorrow?
MA: Nothing, apart from Stu Conroy replacing William Raison. We made a rule this week that anyone finishing below fifth in section would sit out the next day and though it was tempting to leave William in because he fished extremely well, we’ve got to be fair to Stu and there’s no point in having the rule if we don’t use it! On the fishing side, nothing will alter. Of course we’ll look at the day one results and decide what we’ll need to fish in the morning depending on where we’ve drawn but I think the tactics were spot on. We’re winning so we’re not doing that much wrong. We’ll stick to the three disciplines of bleak early, carp and catfish on the long pole and if needed the slider.
AT: How was your draw today?
MA: Pretty good to be honest. We had three decent pegs from five so we expected a good score from it. There are bad ones there and I think Belgium - although they finished eighth - had most of their anglers in the middle of each section and that’s no good to anyone.
AT: You’ve seen the venue in action now. Does this help you as a manager?
MA: Massively because it’s all in our heads now and we know what areas produced what weights and which fish. We can go to the pegs tomorrow and have a fantastic idea as to what will be needed. There’s no second guessing and unless the river changes dramatically, which I don’t think it will, the fishing shouldn’t alter. We’re confident and we have to go for it and not hold back. Some pegs will be a bleak job and some will be more suited to a cat and carp approach.
Drennan Team England team rules mean William Raison will be replaced by Stu Conroy on day 2
Understandable enthusiasm from Mark, which is radiated throughout the team but with a late meeting to come, a few tweaks might be made here and there.
Steve Gardener was deep in conversation with French legend Jean Desque after the match on the subject of bleak and Desque confirmed Steve’s suspicions that England’s, and a lot of other team’s bleak fishing hadn’t quite been on the money.
“The tactics are too crude,” Jean said. “The anglers must fish with longer lines and fish past the groundbait, spreading their shot out more to get a slower fall.”
Whether England will heed Desque’s words we will see but Steve also thinks that stickymag rather than groundbait could work for the carp in certain pegs. Also, maggot rather than worm on the hook will get quicker bites. All of these suggestions will go into the melting pot and be hammered into England’s plan for tomorrow but in all honesty, the team’s orders will be ‘more of the same please!’
How the team scored
A section – Alan Scotthorne 3 points
B section – Sean Ashby 4 points
C section – Des Shipp – 3 points
D section – William Raison 7 points
E section – Steve Gardener 4 points
A home Nations quadruple?
It’s been a long time since all four of the Home Nations appeared in the World Champs top ten but that’s exactly where they mind themselves this evening with England leading, Scotland second and Shimano Team Wales fourth and Maver Ireland in sixth. Just 11 points divides the Irish from England and that is gettable on this river, which will make tomorrow’s match all the more interesting. England are favourites but each team has the class and ability to get in the medals.
Full team result from Day 1
1 Drennan Team England 21 points
2 Team Daiwa Scotland 23
3 Italy 26.5
4 Shimano Team Wales 28
5 Holland 29
6 Maver Team Ireland 32
7 Luxembourg 33
8 Belgium 34
9 Poland 35
10 Finland 35
11 Switzerland 36
12 Slovakia 37
13 France 37
14 Slovenia 37.5
15 Germany 39
16 Hungary 40
17 Croatia 40.5
18 Sweden 41
19 Spain 43
20 Czech Republic 44
21 Austria 47
22 Serbia 47
23 Portugal 48
24 Channel Islands 49
25 Bulgaria 51
26 San Marino 53
27 Denmark 53
28 Russia 56
29 Bosnia 59
30 Romania 62.5
31 Montenegro 68
32 South Africa 75
Alan Scotthorne plays another quality silverfish on the slider.