According to reports there were some surprises in the results for all the teams competing in the European Coarse Angling Championships in Opole, Poland and Drennan Team England were left behind on a fish-poor Ulgi Canal when the small fish approach adopted by the French, Spanish and Belgians paid off.
Drennan Team England averaged around 250gm per angler per day on practice with some perch to be caught so the team targeted them along with the bleak which averaged around 180 to the kilo. There were tiny fish to be caught too weighing in around 0.07gm to 1.5gm (20 to the ounce) but the team thought that with a target weight of 400gms these would not be big enough to win.
A really blustery wind severely hampered England’s chances of a decent perch or two on the 6-7m and 13m lines and the bleak were shoaled closer than the team expected at 4-5m but apparently few in numbers although they were found by the French, Belgian and Spanish scratching tactics. Spain ran out clear winners on 11pts fishing 4m for small fish along with a few small perch, France came in second with 16.5pts and England finished in 7th position with 27 Pts.
A much calmer day saw Drennan Team England able to present their bait effectively. The bleak completely disappeared but the team all caught bonus fish in the shape of perch in the 3 to 8oz bracket. Spain and France stuck to their plans and maintained a tiny fish approach and consolidated their positions with France just taking the gold medal for the very first time in the event’s history.
Individually Steve Gardner was the star England performer with a section win on day one. A bad draw on day two ruined his chances but he netted a late bream on A section for 3rd in his section to finish with 4 points – just out of the medals.
Mark Downes, Drennan Team England Manager, said: “Tactically France did it right, we underestimated the strength of these “bits” but we had 4 pegs over the two days with zero “inside” cover and that meant we would not have caught bits effectively as inside cover was essential.”
Controversy reigned before the event as the Polish match officials said they would stock the venue prior to the event – then they wouldn’t – as it happens some 1,500kg of fish were transferred into the venue on the eve of the match but it was not until day two that the first of them – in the shape of bream and tench showed in catches.
For Drennan Team England the next major outing is in September for the World Championships on Italy’s Ostellato Canal where they will be looking to re-affirm their position as the team to beat on the International circuit.
Drennan Team England comprised: Mark Downes and Mark Addy (Joint Managers), Alan Scotthorne, Steve Gardener, Will Raison, Sean Ashby, Darren Cox and Steve Hemmingray and along with the Angling Trust they offer their appreciation and thanks to Peter Drennan of Drennan International for his continued sponsorship and support of Drennan Team England.
Final team classification:
1st – France 35.5 points
2nd – Spain 38.5 points
3rd – Belgium 41.0 points
4th – England 49.0 points
5th – Italy 50.0 points
Final Individual classification:
1st Wiktor Walczak – Poland – 2.0 points
2nd Paul-Louis – France – 3.5 points
3rd Hans Slegers – Belgium – 4.0 points
4th Steve Gardner – England – 4.0 points
5th Roger Stranen – Luxembourg – 4.0 points