RAIN and rising levels in Croatia made a tricky 2014 World Angling Championships even harder... and there was little joy for home sides in this blue-riband match fishing event.
The Dutch team are the ones dancing their clogs off after collecting team gold medals, after an impressive first day win, completing the job on the second day when they were third, for a six-point margin overall.
Serbia’s ‘Barbel Man’ Goran Radovic was favourite for the individual title. He, more than anyone, had really sorted out the vital species over both days on the Dubrava canal, a man-made channel that flow fast to feed a hydro-electric power station.
Angler’s Mail revealed here how practice was a tough and physically-demanding affair, on one of the most testing World venues in recent years…. but fish were certainly there, and being caught by most anglers from the 37 nations.
One experienced watcher of these contests described the Croatian waterway as ‘a brilliant feeder venue.’ Of course, feeders (and indeed any legering) are not allowed in this particular World event!
Drennan Team England were amongst those getting their pole and elastics worked out by the barbel and vimba. Some lucky competitors connected with impressive Danubian roach that really caught the eye in the latest Angler’s Mail magazine.
The deluge of rain, and floods, continued into the big match weekend, with one side – Lithuania arriving 20 minutes after the start of the first day due to impassable roads. Unsurprisingly, they finished last.
But for those able to fish, and putting through their heavy flat pole floats, it was also a struggle for fish. England, defending their World title, all managed to catch fish (34 between the team of Des Shipp, Alan Scotthorne, debutant Callum Dicks, Will Raison and Sean Ashby).
But their best section place was fifth (Alan Scotthorne who landed 13 fish), and they languished in 14th place on 44 points, just behind Tubertini Ireland, with Daiwa Scotland in 15th. Stand-out man was Jason Ward, a section winner for the Irish. Tri-Cast Weston Wales were 23rd and Channel Islands 33rd.
First day leaders were the Dutch, on 16 points, proving their prowess of hard-flowing venues as well as canals. The same skills could be said of the hosts, Croatia, predictably in second, with Serbia, Czech Republic and Germany forming the top five.
World Champs team leaderboard after first day
Day two saw the straight match channel’s levels risen by a metre from the previous day… and it kept creeping up.
The Dutch knew they could not afford blow-outs on day two with a chasing pack including well-drilled sides from this part of the world. And the men in orange were quickly into their stride with more decent fish, well before the end looking on course to be officially confirmed as the 2014 World Angling Champions.
For England, Steve Hemingray came in for Sean Ashby as a near-impossible task looked ahead of the reigning World and European Champs as they sought a medal of any kind, let alone gold.
They managed to all catch again on the second day – no mean feat. But bigger barbel were elusive, making their section finishes – and therefore points tally – higher.
It was not enough, and England slipped two more places to finish 16th overall. Ireland earned a creditable ninth spot, with Wales 25th and Scotland 30th.
The Channel Islands managed to beat one side…the late Lithuanians, who were 37th and last overall.
World Champs team results – top of leaderboard
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