The HV Power Electrical England Ladies team claimed silver in this year’s World Champs held for the first time in South Africa, the team consisting of Sam Perkins, Helen Dagnall, Wendy Locker, Emma Pickering, Julie Abbott and Samantha Sim scoring 45 points, just six points behind the winning Spanish side.
Fishing the Bloemhof Dam, early expectations were for big weights, but they never materialised in practice although upwards of 25kg was needed to win sections come the weekend of the match with carp averaging 3lb 8oz the main targets. That was something that suited the girls down to the ground, fishing strong elastics and heavy lines.
The venue was quite peggy though, and with pockets of fish about it proved difficult for the team to decide on some of their overall plan until they knew the pegs they had drawn. That plan was to initially ball in groundbait with a lot of corn glugged in a secret locally-sourced sticky syrup in the mix, a South African international angler putting the girls on to the right groundbait, a very coarse mix mainly consisting of maize.
Depending on which section the angler was in they would ball in between five and 10 litres of bait before starting the match on their waggler line just beyond the baited pole area with double or single corn under a 5g float. The team didn’t initially feed this swim as the carp were backing off the bait, but as those around them began to catch by feeding, the tactics changed and the catch rate improved, the odd ball of groundbait also going on to to the pole line at 10m, which was around 7ft deep to draw the fish in.
After Day 1 the team were in joint fourth place with Italy and South Africa, just five points separating them from leading team Hungary, so it was all to play for, and although the match was dominated by the waggler on Day 1, at the team meeting following the first match more regular loosefeeding of the waggler line was decided.
Unfortunately, the team got two bad draws on Day 2, but the girls fished well to score valuable points, the slight change to the match plan working and seeing Emma Pickering catch 12 carp on the waggler to win her section.
That gave her a total of three points and hopes of an individual medal, only to narrowly miss out on overall weight. Her performance, coupled with the rest of the team, boosted England from joint fourth to second overall and silver.
“It was obvious from the Day 1 results that a medal was possible with the team tied in fourth place, and we all felt that the tactics were almost spot-on,” said team manager Joe Roberts.
“The waggler produced more fish than the pole, and it was decided that this tactic needed to become a bigger part of the plan. Samantha Sim, who was fishing her first international, had been one of our best performers during practice, but unfortunately drew a bad area and stood down on Sunday, with Julie Abbott replacing Samntha and winning her section.”
“The team fished a brilliant match on Sunday to finish in silver medal position, and I am proud of the way they never stopped trying. It just proves what a tremendous attitude they have towards fishing for their country,” Joe added.
Team result: 1 Spain, 39pts; 2 HV Power Electrical England, 45; 3 Italy, 46; 4 Hungary, 51; 5 South Africa, 54; 6 Poland, 62; 7 Russia, 66; 8 Netherlands, 67; 9 France, 71; 10 Portugal, 83.5; 11 Finland, 95.5; 12 Czech Republic, 100.
Individual result: 1 M Siles Alvarez, Spain, 2pts; 2 M Vesolowska, Poland, 3 (44-291); 3 S Siles Alvarez, Spain, 3 (39-019); 4 E Pickering, HV Power Electrical England, 3 (32-833); 5 Z Horváth, Hungary, 4; 6 S Pollastri, Italy, 5.