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Steve Collett – one of the keenest and most proficient all round anglers – is now a weekly blogger here. Follow his match, pleasure and big fish adventures…and learn a few top tips too.
WHAT A WEEK I HAD AT LADIES WORLD CHAMPS!
AS YOU might have been aware I have been over to Holland again for the past ten days to help Samantha (Perkins) and the rest of the England Ladies team in the 19th Ladies World Championship held on the Haringmaxx Canal in Leeuwarden. And I can tell you what, I’m absolutely knackered!
I can’t imagine how the girls feel, as this is a serious pressure cooker – all those months of build up, preparation, saving money, and ten days of practice to see who would finally make the team. I couldn’t do it, and wouldn’t. I think I enjoy my fishing too much, and to compete at this level you need to be a machine.
Lessons learned during practice week
COMING over a few months previous to the actual World Champs, we thought that this would be a superb fish catching venue.
I came over myself to fish in a small match and got in the frame with 5kilos 700g and the week after we were easily catching 5-10kilos of small fish, and thought this would be a venue that suited England.
The manager Dave Brooks came over and thought the same, so everyone was quite chipper, and the team looked forward to getting on with 5 days of catching fish in the allocated practise sessions, well ….
How wrong can you be, the venue had a huge stroke off bad luck, just 5 kilometres up the road work had started on a new road project. That meant that up to 50 massive boats that weighed in at over 1,500 tonnes would be going up and down the venue carrying sand, and literally scraping the bottom, as these boats had a 3.5 metre draft, and the canal was 3.5-4m deep !
Turning all of the bottom up and in turn giving the water a horrible mud brown colour, with all kinds of sediment coming up from the bottom… not good.
Now that is what you call a BOAT over in Holland!
Fish? What fish ?
Large crowds watched the Ladies World Champs.
Well everyone feared the worst after the first day. The girls were allocated quite a good zone, but as feared there was no fish to be caught, in fact a fish, just one fish seemed pretty good on the day, and unfortunately the fishing was to get worse, with some teams struggling to catch a fish.
But the team remained positive, as the news was the Goverment and angling federation would stop the large ships on the day of the matches.
Would it be soon enough? No one knew. Would it turn into a fishing match, or would scratching for a fish be the name of the game?
Leading up to the big day, the fishing did get worse and during the final practise Dave’s team were allocated a poor zone, and something needed to be pulled out of the bag to ensure we had five “catchers” on the day.
And pull it out the bag he did, he came up with a method that seemed to have all the teams whispering down the bank. The girls all put fish instantly in the net.
I couldn’t reveal what it was, as they may need the tactic again, but it seemed to work, and at least we could have the whole team catching, hopefully earning good points in each section.
Barbara on her way to World victory, finding the bigger bream.
The draw was made, and to be honest it didn’t make a lot of difference as the fishing was very tough. So no real advantage was to be had by any team, they just had to get on with it and catch fish.
Luckily they did catch. Dave’s tactic had worked, and no dry nets were to be had by England. I thought this would be a great result and a superb performance, but a real worry was some of the nations seemed to catch bream, and good bream, 1-2 kilos.
And the nations catching them, were ones that had very little attention during the week, and not a lot of “spying” was done on them. That’s wasn’t derogatory, it was just that all eyes would be on the high ranking nations such as Italy, Holland, France… not South Africa or the Czech Republic. Both of those teams seemed to be able to catch bonus bream, giving them vital section wins and high placings, even enough points to be able to carry a dry net!
Heads were left scratching as we came away from the venue with good points and laying in fourth place, with it all to play for on day 2.
After some of the lower ranking nations had superb points on day 1 due to big bream it became apparent that the England draw needed to be where those big fish were.
And unfortunately that was the story of the trip. They just did not draw on any big fish, but again easily caught more fish than many of the nations, just not bonus fish. Nothing could be done, and the nations that caught them on day 1 did it again.
A dream come true
Flying the flag – South African poles.
One great story that came out of the week was the medal position of Robbie Liebenberg’s South African team, having flew more than 6,000 miles, and come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, it really made my week to see them medal.
Only ten years ago I remember visiting South Africa and seeing match fishing done without poles, or modern equipment. And without them competing it would be more like a European Championship.
So when I went down to tell them un officially that they had come second, they were in tears. It was really amazing to see. The effort these guys and girls had put in to just even appear was immense, yet alone be in contention for medals. A fantastic story.
Czech mate! So what about the Czech Republic not only taking the medal, but also taking Gold, Silver and Bronze individually? It’s something I doubt many of us will witness again.
They really swept the board with the simplest of tactics, chopped worm, and laying on for big bream, and the big bream came, with Barbora Bacinova doing superbly well to clinch the world title.
Are we too good ?
After seeing a few of the teams competing this week, it has left me wondering whether or not we put to much finesses into our fishing.
We don’t leave anything to chance, we try as much as possible to make sure our rigs and hooks are as light as possible.
Yet when it comes to World Champs, other nations that seem to fish more aggressively, with more of an emphasis on the bait.
Who is right? Well if this weekend has anything to go by it’s not us. That’s definitely not taking anything away from the nations that have won, they did it right, and if there is anything I can take away from this week, it’s to pay more attention to my baits when match fishing.
Well this week I have to go all international, and my award goes to a team, the South Africans and take a bow…
Anneline De Klerk
Anna (Annetejie) Lubbe
Jacqueline (Jacqui) Van Zanten
Elsie (Elsa) Kleynhans
Robbie Liebenberg (manager)