Match Fishing - Double Gold for England Veterans
England has won the fifth Veterans’ World Angling Championships for the first time.
The team of four beat six other nations to win the coveted title on the River Mondego in northern Portugal, near to the beautiful and picturesque town of Penacova.
This venue was not unknown to England Team Manager Dick Clegg since he had taken the ladies team to the venue 12 years previously and had come back with team gold along with individual gold and bronze medals. The Veterans’ team almost duplicated this achievement by also winning the individual gold after a terrific performance from Joe Roberts and a fourth place finish from Dickie Carr, who only lost on weight in the fight for a bronze medal.
The team had a set back when, only days before the event, one of the original squad members, Don Slaymaker, was admitted to hospital and couldn’t make the trip. All of the squad wish Don a speedy recovery and during the week leading up to the event all they wanted to do was to win the title for him in his absence.
The river in Penacova is controlled by a huge dam and during the early part of the year the fishing took a huge setback when floods almost demolished an artificial dam at the bottom of the match length, causing some concern about fish stocks. As it happened there was no cause for alarm and the main species of fish, borga, put on a reliable show.
Borga are not found in UK waters and require a very special approach to catch them in any numbers. These relatively small fish average around 1.5 oz can only be described as looking like a grayling/ dace cross and they respond to a joker and bloodworm attack.
The river itself rises and falls very quickly and in one hour can change from being almost still, with no flow, to a fairly fast current as it rises by almost a metre in an hour. Each day at 10:00 it reaches its maximum height before falling again to its lower level again within an hour.
Match times were 10:00 to 14:00 corresponding with the water being released from the upstream dam so constant plumbing of the depth was essential as the best tactic was to present the bloodworm-baited size 20 or 22 hook at dead depth, or only slightly off bottom. 0.6, 0.8 and 1.0gr wire stemmed pole floats were essential and bulk shotting worked at the start, changing to a shirt button-style rig towards the end when the river slowed.
A special local 'Colado' groundbait (Jose Colado is a Portuguese International angler) together with a Sensas borga groundbait was introduced at the start and, in all, 17 litres were used in the four hour match. A maximum of one litre of joker was allowed under the rules and the team used almost all of that allowance. Baiting tactics saw eight big balls of groundbait with added joker introduced in the allowed ten minute pre-baiting period and this was followed by a topping up of a hard, small joker-laced ball every put in.
The fish responded well and although there were areas where gudgeon were a problem all the team contributed to a first day 11 point joint lead with the Italians and Belgium taking third place on 14 points.
Section A Dickie Carr 2 points
Section B Joe Roberts 1 point
Section C Roger Marlow 3 points
Section D Terry Lancaster 5 points
No major change to the tactics was required for day two, except to fine tune those used on day one. Again it was tight at the top and only one point separated England and Italy at the end, with Belgium hanging onto third place.
Section A: Joe Roberts 1 point
Section B: Terry Lancaster 2 points
Section C: Roger Marlow 7 points
Section D: Dickie Carr 1 point
Final Team Result
Gold: England 22 points
Silver: Italy 23 points
Bronze: Belgium 30 points
Gold: Joe Roberts England 2 points 7.074kg
Silver: Michel Perdriau France 2 points 5.178kg
Bronze: Natale Bagarello Italy 3 points 6.151kg
England Veterans’ Team Manager Dick Clegg, who was also reserve in the absence of Don Slaymaker, said:
“After drawing Joe Roberts the downstream end peg on day two it was a foregone conclusion that he would win the gold. Joe had been brilliant all week in practice and no one was going to beat him in Section A, which left me the time to concentrate on the other three sections. On a lighter note I have waited 50 years to fish for England and then I had to pick myself because Don had to stay at home. Get well soon mate!
My thanks must go to some very special people in Tony Troth and Bill Galt who paid almost a thousand pounds each to be management team bank runners and whose help in bait preparation and competition information was immense during the week. My extra special thanks also goes to my roommate for the duration of the competition, John Thorpe, who spent five days transporting the equipment to Portugal and then had a week loading and unloading each day.
Well done Joe and the team on achieving double gold for England.”
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