Match Fishing – Gold for England Ladies Coarse Team at World Champs
The England Ladies Coarse Angling Team produced a sensational second day performance to win the 20th Women’s World Angling Championships on the River Sava in Radece, Slovenia.
Source: Angling Trust
The setting for the championships was, the Angling Trust reports, ‘out of a picture book’. Sitting between mountains on either side the river ran through a beautiful tree-lined valley with a track allowing easy access to the pegs but more to the point it was crammed full of fish. Vimba, barbel, carrassio and bleak made up the bulk of catches, with long pole the only method worth considering, except for the odd bleak weight taken on 4/5 meter whips.
The venue had been used in previous years for the World Youth Team Championships and a European event so some information was available in advance of the match; even so nothing could fully prepare the team for the fishing that was in store.
18 teams competed in the championship and from downstream end peg A1 to upstream end peg E18 the depth varied considerably from top 4 pole sections deep, to top 6 deep, and floats used varied from 3g to 8g with hook sizes 12 to 18.
During practice the team experimented with a variety of different groundbaits eventually settling for a 20 litre mix of Sensas Fine Carp, Terre de Riviere and a small amount of grey leam. The bait limit was 2.5 litres and was made up of 1.75 litres of live maggot, 0.5 litre dead maggot, 0.25 litre of casters and a small pack of bloodworm hookers with a tin of sweetcorn.
Initially 4 litres of groundbait was balled in during the 10 minute feeding period, one metre short of the pole tip along with 3 or 4 big potting cups of sticky maggot directly on the pole end. 3 litres of gravel was added to the live maggots to make sure the bait was heavy and went directly to the bottom to avoid the huge shoals of bleak.
Topping up with small but heavy balls of groundbait using 4 litres every hour and adding a ball of sticky mag on a regular basis kept the fish interested. The noise made by throwing in the hard goundbait balls attracted the fish and induced them to take the hookbait, which was either live or dead maggot with an occasional change to a mixture of bloodworm and caster or bloodworm and maggot.
Vimba, a dace like fish with a flattened nose, was the main target species in most areas but the team found one stretch of river, in section B, that held a number of barbel weighing from just a couple of ounces up to 2 kilos. Practice went well with all of the team registering at least one day when they caught 10 kilos in the allotted 4 hours with the target Vimba averaging around 200g, with the largest pushing 500g.
It was always going to be a difficult match to win with the strong Hungarian, Czech, Croatian, Italian and Slovenian teams having spent many previous hours fishing the venue and after day one England were seemingly out of contention when they recorded 38 points and 8th position behind Croatia on 26 points.
Day one result
1. Croatia 26 points
2. Hungary 30 points
3. Italy 31 points
8. England 38 points
Except for an odd tweaking the management team saw no reason to change tactics for the second day and went into the match with a really positive attitude hoping to make the podium.
To make up the 12 points deficit on leaders Croatia and eventually beat them by 4 points was incredible but even more so was the fact that they demolished all the 7 teams in front of them from day one.
Day two result
1. Engand 18 points
2. Belgium 30 points
3. Italy 31 points
1. England 56 points
2. Croatia 60 points
3. Italy 62 points
1. Jana Gresova Czech Rep 2 points
2. Matea Minanov Croatia 3 points weight
3. Simona Pollastri Italy 3 points
England team individual result
Helen Dagnall 5 points
Wendy Locker 10 points
Julie Abbott 12 points
Emma Pickering 12 points
Sam Sims 17 points
Jana Gresova the Czech angler retained her championship gold medal that she won last year in Holland when once again she recorded a perfect 2 point score.
Dick Clegg OBE International Events Manager commented:
“I was proud to be there to see this magnificent winning performance that must go down as one of the best team results ever. The whole squad should be justifiably proud of what they achieved in Slovenia and I can only congratulate them and their superb management team on winning gold. I know I am always making an issue about funding, but surely this result will give the ladies a great boost in their search to find a sponsor.
Dave Brooks - manager, Joe Roberts - coach and Ed Warren did a brilliant job in organising the team and I am sure that Jeanette Halliday who was making her World Championship début will continue to be part of the squad.
I personally would like to thank all the companies who provided goods for our fund raising efforts and in particularly Sensas who once again supplied all our groundbait.”
Coach Joe Roberts was delighted and said:
“Terrific venue, terrific fishing, terrific team. This was a proper fishing venue and England always seem to excel when there are loads of fish to catch.”
Manager Dave Brooks, who has been in charge for the past four years, commented:
“I have seen the team win gold, silver and bronze medals, but this must be the best comeback on record to go from 8th to 1st and win by 4 points after being 12 points behind is unbelievable. It's a just reward for all the effort and hard work the team put into their fundraising just to make sure that an England team could take part in the World Championships.
They are a great bunch of girls to work with and all of them are brilliant anglers and totally committed to team work. It was an honour to be able to work with them and I look forward to defending the title next year in Portugal. Thanks to everybody who helped us get there.”