Practice for the 2010 coarse fishing World Championships is over and there can be no more ‘what abouts’ or ‘how about tryings’. Drennan Team England have had their five days of practice on the River Guadiana and if we’re being honest are still in two minds as to how exactly the World Champs weekend is going to pan out.
Hanging over the match is the spectre of last September in Holland where the precise combination of big fish and bits wasn’t quite achieved. Fast forward nine months from the cloud and cold of the low countries to the searing heat of Spain and the same problem looks like presenting itself.
Its not that England haven’t caught many fish – they have, literally by the bucket load but what they aren’t sure of it just how important the bonus carp and carassio will be. When it comes to catching bleak and small catfish, which the river is full of, there’s no problem. Six kilo weights have been common but all the while, the feeling is that a carp or three will help ease the tension no end.
In that respect there is good news because the team has caught these priceless fish in every practice session but unlike currants in a cake, they aren’t evenly distributed. Some pegs will have them, others won’t so what faces England and every other team fishing is working out how long to spend fishing for small fish and when and how long to devote to searching for a carp.
“We’ve got the methods but we honestly won’t know what to do until we get to the peg and start plumbing up, said Co-Manager Mark Downes. “Some pegs will be deeper than others and some will be set back in a bay as the river bends round.That will mean a different approach to a peg on the straights.”
What the team do have is a rough idea of a plan. The carp have always showed in the final hour so the approach, provided the Guadiana fishes as it has, is a simple one crafted from five days spent in the roasting sun.
“We’ll kick off at 13m on the deck looking for an early carp and after 15 minutes then go either onto the shot line for bleak at 9m or out on the slider,” Mark continued. “Ideally, the bleak line will be best as they’re the size of herrings on this river and for every catfish you catch, two bleak are the same weight and you can catch bleak miles quicker! Our concern is that if the bleak don’t show, then you’re in trouble. Of the five days practice, we’ve not caught bleak for two of them so it could happen. We’ll also be after shallower pegs as they seem to hold the bigger stamp of catfish.”
Should that be the case then the slider or even an earlier look on the 13m pole line for cats will be called for, although the aim will be the same – to keep putting something in the net while waiting for those carp to show up.”
Alan Scotthorne tops up his slider line with another ball of groundbait
England’s approach will revolve around three main lines, all aimed at catching different fish.
Bleak at 9m
This is fished at half depth in roughly 5ft of water, feeding regular small balls of Sensas Surface groundbait with Red Tracix added to help the clouding effect. A small amount of joker goes into this, fishing a single white maggot threaded onto the hook, which allows anglers to catch up to six fish on the same bait. The bleak go 30 to the kilo so a fish a minute is the key to a good weight.
On the deck at 13m
Both carp and catfish can show here with eight to ten balls of groundbait going in at the start a metre short of the line, followed by three cupped in balls of the mix and the same of stickymag at 13m itself as the team has found that the fish hang slightly off the main mass of feed. The mix is Sensas Carp 3000, Gallia (a special groundbait for carassio) and a couple of handfuls of Terre De Riviere leam to add weight. In this is a little joker but a lot of chopped worm, dead maggot and corn with an eye on the carp. Baits are single maggot although a bunch of four and various-sized bits of worm have also been used to great effect.
Fished at 30m, this line is a bit of a ‘just in case’ job, offering another line to catch carp and cats on if should the pole not produce. In pegs that are set back in a bay though, Mark Downes reckons that it will be vital for getting out into the open water. The same groundbait as the pole goes here, 20 single-handed balls being fed at the start with hookbaits also much the same.
Co-Managers Mark Downes and Mark Addy announced their team on the bank after practice with Stuart Conroy again missing out. That means the team for the first day of action will be:
The World Champs venue
We like to think that the Thames, Trent and Severn are our biggest rivers but the width of all three could fit within the banks of the Guadiana – it’s huge! It’s also full of fish with hundreds pimpling the glassy surface. From tiny shoals of catfish in the edge to pumpkinseed, bleak, carp, catfish, carassio and barbel, bites are not the problem. Getting the fish onto the pole line with 200 metres of river in front of you is!
The flow is sluggish with floats up to 2 grams about right but the flow can change direction and the depths alter from 1.5 metres to 2 metres in different sections.
Colour is good and the fish don’t seem to mind the heat. Expect temperatures approaching 40 degrees this weekend!
After team talks it was decided to drop Stu Conroy from the squad
Stu showing the typical stamp of smaller fish in the 200m-wide river.