THE 17th FIPsed Ladies World Angling Championships – staged in South Africa – was marred by a horrific road accident.

The Italian team mini bus overturned on its way to Bloemhof injuring four of the team, reports The Angling Trust.

They were all retained in hospital and although a couple of them were discharged after two days, the injuries to the other two girls were far more serious. They are now out of danger, but are not expected to be released until next week.

Claudio Matteoli, President of FIPSed and the Italian Federation, was understandably very upset about the accident, and it looked likely that his country would not be represented in South Africa.

After some consultation with other countries it was decided that if any of the injured girls recovered enough then physical help could be given to help them compete. By Saturday, the Italians had some walking wounded on the bank and by Sunday afternoon they had achieved remarkable success by finishing 3rd in the team event.

Italy's ladies fished through the pain barrier after a very nasty van crash. Even with some injuries, they finished third.

The South African Championships created a logistical challenge for Joe Roberts, England Ladies team Manager, and Dick Clegg, OBE, Angling Trust International Events Manager, as they had to organise the transportation of enough equipment to make the journey worthwhile.

None of the airlines would make any concessions, even though they were told it was a World Championships, despite the fact that golf clubs are allowed to be transported free of charge. Ten people travelled in the Team England group and with a 300 kilo limit the six anglers were allowed a total tackle weight of 43 kilos each, leaving just enough for a change of clothes.

The squad flew to Johannesburg and from there drove 4 hours to Bloemhof in the North Western Province. It was whilst the England team were en route to the venue that they saw the scene of the accident involving the Italian team. The England team loaded some of the Italian team’s tackle onto their vans and delivered it for them to their lodgings. The dam was situated some 40 kilometres from their accommodation, 28 of which was on a dirt road inside the game park.

This dam at Bloemhof was the venue for the World Carp Angling Championships in 2008 when England finished second to South Africa, so the England Ladies team received some good information from Mitch Smith, Angling Trust England Carp team Manager. South African specialist Adrian van de Heever and his father Jan helped the team tremendously with their knowledge of the venue and supplied the team with the ground bait they used.

Large platforms were erected in the lake some 10mtrs from the bank to bring deeper water within reach since without these the venue would have been almost unfishable. At the 11.5m pole limit it was still only between 1.25 and 1.5m deep. Prior to the event the England team were informed that pole tactics would produce the most carp and that these would average 1.5 kilos in weight and respond to worm or corn over a bed of groundbait.

Monday morning’s first practice was a complete disaster with not one of the England team catching a fish and indeed Tuesday morning was little better when only two anglers caught. The England Ladies team were continually being told that the fish would start to feed and that 30 kilos or more would be needed to win most sections but that was beginning to look very unlikely.

Tactically the team started to develop a plan which involved feeding ground bait at 10mtrs containing a large amount of corn and then loose feeding corn just short of the pole limit. By topping up with ground bait and corn it was hoped that carp would respond to both noise and a regular amount of particles being introduced.

A 10g waggler fished some 5m past with single or double corn on a size 12 hook produced some fish early on with the pole then becoming the best option during the latter stages. Afternoon sessions very rarely show a true reflection of the amount of fish caught during morning match times but they are good for honing fishing skills and this is what the England Ladies team worked on.

By Thursday afternoon the England Management team had developed a plan and by Friday’s last practice they had finalised their attack. They decided that 14 litres of local ground bait which included 4 tins of glugged corn and then a further 3 litres of corn for loose feed would be sufficient for the 3 hour event. Glug as they had decided to call it was a very thick sweet tasting green fluro liquid that was added to the groundbait corn but not to the loose feed. This was supplied by Adrian who assured us that it was his best kept secret but by the end of the week every team was using it. Worms, which were supposed to play a major part, had proved to be very ineffective so were not now part of the plan.  During the week’s practice the wind changed in direction and strength everyday but by the weekend it had lessened to almost nothing. The only thing that didn’t changed was the 35 degree temperature and continuous sunshine.

All the team put 100% effort into their preparation and it was difficult to decide who should be left out for the first day. They were told that since they all had to contribute towards the cost of taking part that no matter what the result was, the reserve would fish on the second day.

TEAM RESULT Saturday 30th October

1st Hungary  21 points

2nd Spain     23 points

3rd Poland    25 points

4th Italy          26 points

5th S Africa    26 points

6th England  26 points

England

Section A Helen Dagnall        14.296 kilo    5 points

Section B Emma Pickering    15.721 kilo    2 points

Section C Wendy Locker         11.120 kilo   8 points

Section D Samantha Sim         5.146 kilo    8 points

Section E Samantha Perkins  16.890 kilo  3 points

Total 26 points

Although the England team tied 4th, but finished 6th on day one on weight countback, it was obvious that a medal was highly possible and that the tactics were almost spot on. The waggler produced more fish than the pole and it was decided that this tactic needed to become a bigger part of the plan. Samantha Sim who was fishing her first international and had been one of England’s best performers during practice unfortunately drew a bad area and stood down on Sunday. Julie Abbott replaced Samantha and duly won her section.

TEAM RESULT Sunday 31st October

1st Spain        16 points

2nd England  19 points

3rd Italy            20 points

4th S Africa      28 points

England

Section A Helen Dagnall            2.760  kilo  10 points

Section B Emma Pickering      17.112  kilo    1 points

Section C Samantha Perkins  17.531  kilo    4 points

Section D Wendy Locker           11.427 kilo    3 points

Section E Julie Abbott                13.162 kilo    1 points

Final Classification.

Teams:

1st Spain          39 points

2nd England    45 points

3rd Italy              46 points

4th Hungary      51 points

5th S Africa        54 points

We believe this was Spain’s first team medal and England’s first podium finish since 2005, and it was also South Africa’s highest ever finish.

Individually England ladies performed exceptionally well and Emma Pickering was indeed very unfortunate not to win a medal. Emma’s 3 points tied her for joint silver medal position but she lost out on weight to finish 4th.

Joe Roberts, England Ladies Manager said: ‘The team fished a brilliant match on Sunday to finish in silver medal position, and I am proud of the way they never stopped trying. It just proves what a tremendous attitude they have towards fishing for their country.’

Individuals:

Celebrations for the leading individuals. See the England girls in the next issue of Angler's Mail magazine.

1st Maria Siles Alvarez                Spain       2pts    29.920

2nd Malgorzata Vesolowska      Poland    3pts    44.291

3rd Susanna Siles Alvarez         Spain       3pts    39.019

4th Emma Pickering                    England  3pts    32.833

The Angling Trust England management team of Dick Clegg, OBE, and Joe Roberts would like to thank Dave Brookes and Jason Kirk for all their help during the week and those tackle companies who supplied equipment free of charge. KC floats from Sillard, Daiwa, Drennan, Van den Eynde, and of course our biggest thanks should go to H V Electrical Systems whose huge cash donation was essential to get the team to South Africa.

  • Report by The Angling Trust – more in the match section of the next issue of Angler’s Mail magazine.