Slovenia, on the other hand, was the dark horse of the championships and their silver medal was just reward, for what
some must view as a risky approach. Therefore the decision to focus principally on the far reed line must be viewed,
in hindsight, as a masterful stroke by them, amazing for such a ‘minnow’ of the angling world. It was noticeable
that while all around them balled in, then cupped in, the team heavily fed the reed line immediately. By the time the
all-in sounded, the line had settled and fish started to come in on it.
Unlike Slovenia, the Serbs ignored the waggler line, choosing just the short line at 4-5m, and the 13 metre line. Their
mix was made up of 4kgs of Tubertini’s Gold Medallist and Big Fondo along with some carp additive. Also included
was 6kgs of leam and Bentonite, which would carry the main joker-rich and bloodworm balls. The groundbait would
only contain a quarter litre of dead maggot. At the start, 8-9 balls of groundbait would be balled in some 70-80cm short
of the 13m line. They would then pot in 2 small balls of joker-rich leam and 1 ball of groundbait. Top up feed would be
the same as what they potted at the start, but this would happen after each fish, or every 5 minutes, whichever
was sooner. The short line was fed only at the start with the groundbait mix and later they fished over it with
worms and maggots. This line proved productive on day one by accounting for over 20% of their weight.
Rigs were based around 1 to 3 gram floats on 0.14mm line with a 0.10mm hooklength to a size 14 Sensas 3405 hook, which they placed 15 bloodworm. Elastics were Pink and Blue Hydro. When the current was strong, they used the heavier float and laid the whole hooklength on the bottom, but when the current was steady, a 1 gram float was used with the hookbait just touching the bottom or on the drop. This approach saw them pull back a 12 point deficit from day one, to overhaul the runaway leaders Slovenia, who had a poor day two, and take the gold medal. Their overall weight of 45.531kgs was the championships highest and testament to their successful tactics.
Russia had a consistent championship and improved on a day one score of 33 points to record 27 points on day two. This gave them an overhaul score of 60 points, which tied them with Poland, only to lose a place on weight. Nevertheless, a final position of 6th place was a great achievement on such a technical and difficult venue. There were some great teams behind us… England’s Starlets and Italy’s Team Ravanelli, which featured the great Roberto Trabucco himself.
There were two stand-out performances overall during the championships, that of Serbia and Slovenia. But there were other notable performances in Italy. Hungary proved yet again that they have some of the world’s best anglers just waiting to take greater glory. Their consistent score over two days was the equal of Holland, and it was noticeable, looking at the final team results, that the Dutch team were the only western European side to come in the top eight placings. Even the mighty home side, under the leadership of legendary angler Roberto Trabucco, could only manage ninth place. Our good friends and neighbours Ukraine also had a successful championship, finishing just 4pts behind us, but actually beating us on weight! Poland as well recovered from a disappointing day one to finish level with us, but their higher weight saw them gain a place.
There was one team that actually finished out of the top ten, but powered to a second on day two with a superb 17pt score, and that was Austria. How they turn around a 54pts score on day one, to record 17pts for day two amazes me. Did they find a magic formula for the second day, or did they simply draw fantastically well? Who knows, but they finally finished in a commendable 11th place.
England’s Starlets 17th position does in no way tell the whole story of their demise. Team captain Mark Downes summed up their performance by saying, “Mullet played a major part in the contest and we hadn’t really got a clue about them. Italy also fell foul of them, and they were the home side! Our catfish plan worked in practice, but on this part-tidal canal this plan fell down when the mullet arrived. It was a strange venue indeed.”
One interesting piece from the championships was the first international attendance of Cyprus… an island containing just 25 anglers! As expected they didn’t trouble the main participants, but they did learn valuable lessons which may stand them in good stead in later years. Let’s hope they decide to come again, even if they finished in last place.
One particular team decided early that the waggler and pole for mullet was not their cup of tea, so they had practiced their catfish skills which saw several of them take valuable points, including Fredrik Andersson, who bagged three of them on the last day to help take a section third with 6.627kgs. One of which weighed in at over 3kgs. Heavy feeding with neat chopped worm with two dendras on the hook and white hydro, managed to tame his fish, but he still lost two others much bigger! Sweden managed to finished in 10th place with 71pts.
I have long held the view that Serbia have yet to achieve the full major honours in international events that their efforts deserve. The Serbs have become proficient in many disciplines of angling in the last decade and this year’s European and World Champs could see them reach greater levels on the podium, after their superb Club Championship win.