World Champs England’s bronze
Eastern Europeans know how to catch carassio, and our lads find it hard to stay the pace
DRENNAN Team England returned from Bulgaria with bronze medals in the bag after finishing third on the rowing course where Tommy Pickering won gold way back in 1989.
Twenty-seven years after that victory, Plovdiv was a very different prospect as gold went to the Hungarians with 34 points, the Czech team finishing second on 42. England missed out on that medal by just four points.
A tortuous 46-hour drive across Europe found a waterway holding mainly carp and carassio, but after two weeks of practice the team, made up of Alan Scotthorne, William Raison, Des Shipp, Sean Ashby, Callum Dicks and Steve Hemingray, were still struggling to crack it.
In baking heat, the opening day saw England finish fourth on 23 points, Hungary scoring 12 to lead. On day two, when the canal fished a lot harder, England returned the same score for joint third on the day, way off gold as co-manager Mark Downes admitted.
“We had two good practice days and two bad ones, but did well on the final day. We were pleased that our approach for carp was perfect, but still struggled to get our heads around the carassio,” he said.
“On day one we caught carp early then the venue went into a lull, so it was vital to try and catch early – Alan on day one and Sean on day two didn’t, and that made the difference. It became apparent that feeding again after the 10-minute spell before the starting whistle made the peg worse but if you hadn’t caught a carp, you felt as though you had to do something. In Sean’s case he didn’t catch on day two so we assumed that feeding again would get a bite – but the peg got worse and worse!
“I sat with William on day one and he had two bites from a carp and a carassio. I then sat with Sean on day two and he had one carassio – another carp and we’d have got silver,” Mark revealed.
“To anglers from Eastern Europe carassio are bread and butter fish, and those teams can catch them under all conditions.”
The waggler and bulk-down slider were England’s key tactics. Hungary’s day one fish count was over 500 and Mark was sure
that scored them half-a-dozen more points at the end. England, though, were fishing for victory on day two and that meant carp and carassio and nothing else.
“We fed the waggler/slider line on both days at around 45m with a big hit of bait at the start, typically eight litres of Sensas Carp Fine and Giallia groundbait plus PV1 binder and Terre De Riviere leam holding corn, bloodworm, joker and casters,” said Mark. “After around an hour we fed again to get the fish feeding – on day one this worked but come Sunday it had the opposite effect.
“Every year it gets harder to win, especially when fishing in Eastern Europe. Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are on the ball but we don’t understand carassio. However, next year we’re on a canal in Belgium where it will be small roach on bloodworm, and we’re already looking forward to it.
“Picking the England squad is like selecting a football team, in that you don’t want everyone to have the same core skills,” he continued. “This year was about catching carp at distance on the float, and Des and William excel at that. In 2017 it’ll be small fish on bloodworm, and there aren’t two better anglers on the planet to do this than Sean and Alan.
“On Friday night we had a meeting and said ‘can we get a medal?’ as we’d struggled in practice. After day one Hungary won it and we were behind the Czechs and Italians. We were thinking that we might not get on the podium at all!”
Team: 1 Hungary, 34pts; 2 Czech Republic, 42; 3 Drennan Team England, 46; 4 Italy, 54; 5 Sweden, 58; 6 France, 60; 7 Slovenia, 62; 8 Bulgaria, 64; 9 Belgium, 66 (weight); 10 Slovakia, 66; 11 Croatia, 71; 12 Russia, 73; 13 San Marino, 78.5; 14 Romania, 83; 15 Serbia, 84; 16 Macedonia, 84; 17 Netherlands, 86 (weight); 18 Germany, 86; 19 Belarus, 86.5; 20 Poland, 93; 21 Austria, 100; 22 Switzerland, 102; 23 Portugal, 105 (weight); 24 Luxembourg, 105; 25 Ukraine, 107; 26 Lithuania, 117; 27 Cyprus, 118; 28 Finland, 121; 29 South Africa, 124; 30 Spain, 126; 31 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 129; 32 Montenegro, 130; 3 3 Channel Islands, 134; 34 Greece, 165.
Individual: 1 J Ambrozic, Slovenia, 2pts; 2 J Konopasek, Czech Republic, 3 (13-788); 3 R Dudr, Slovakia, 3 (10-787); 4 M Kmetec, Slovenia, 4 (15-556); 5 W Raison, Drennan Team England, 4 (14-884); 6 T Walter, Hungary, 4 (11-694).
In the end England settled for bronze.
A big gallery crowds the canal at Plovdiv.
Steve Hemingray’s day two catch.
Will Raison in action feeding his swim.