Preparation-: Following a few meetings and the team positively gearing up for the World Club Championship (WCC) competition there had been much discussion about the venue and tactics required. Originally the venue was to be the river Warta in
From the Shakespeare perspective it was also disappointing not to be on the river, however the new venue would probably suit us better being a
Arrival-: We set off prior to the competition the week before, landing in
Finding out what would work!
Practise Day 1, official practise-: The organisation of the whole event was first class and could not be faulted. It was very clear that despite the change of venue the Polish organisation and local authority had put significant effort to make the whole week a success. Every day required very hard work. Typically we would be out of bed by 06:00, mix ground bait by the lake and into the restaurant by 07:00 hrs for breakfast. Jon Arthur and myself attended the official meeting at 07:30 which covered allocation of the practise zones for the week with each team being allocated a box within each of the 5 zones A-E each day. Day 1 saw us visiting B section with the remainder of the week rotations being E, A, D and C. On the first morning it was raining a little as we arrived at our zone. Pegs were decided with a line up of Rob Quinn, Michael Buchwalder, Rob Middleton, Leigh Gardner, Jon Arthur and Nigel Bull. It was quite amusing given there was a large weed bed next to Nigel with a significant amount of frogs present who never let up in terms of the frogs chorus all day!!! Paul Bick and I decided to run the bank with Paul keeping an eye on our guys, with myself visiting C-section to watch the Italians. C section was on the other side of the lake so I legged it over to see the Italians prepare their set ups. It is very important to look at the opposition teams and especially see what ground bait mixes they experiment with. Each of the team was using a different approach. Some were using different ground baits alone, some a mixture of ground bait and leam with others using just leam. Just prior to the official all in the Italians had not received their bloodworm and Joker and were still waiting when the hooter sounded. Most of the teams all received their bait from the official supplier each day. The quality of the bait was as good as it gets with most the bait collected the night/day before use. Unfortunately this was minor hiccup on the first day for the Italians. They were at the extreme end of sections C, D and E and the delivery van had not quire made it in time. Next door, the German team had some of their own bait and proceeded to ball in on the hooter. Jacopo Falsini was captain for the Italians and though a little frustrated took it all in his stride and once the bait was delivered the Italians proceeded to bait up some 15minutes later than most.
The Italians in section C1 had the wind blowing out of there corner of the lake diagonally toward us in B2 on the other side. During practise it was obvious that the Italians were struggling to catch fish regardless of the method used, there were simply very few fish in this area. It would be interesting to see if this would remain the same toward the end of the week. Despite spending most of my time with the Italians I also had a walk to E6 section were we would be tomorrow. The Russians were in this section; however there were only 3 of them present who were fishing for carp and tench with strong elastics. There was weed present here and none of them were looking to catch small fish. I walked back to our team just prior to the first three hours to watch the last ten minutes and carryout the official weigh in. It was obvious that we had had a good day. Top weight was Nigel bull with 34lb with some excellent backing weights including another 30lb plus and several 20lbs. Conditions were favourable for use in contrast to the Italians. The Irish were also to our right who had also hooked plenty of carp in their section. It appeared that the carp were present in the marginally weedy areas of the sections on this side of the lake. We were all happy with day 1 although it was very early and could not formulate any plans.
Practise Day 2-: The daily routine was now well established including the early start. On arrival at E section it was obvious that there was a lot of weed present and baiting up to ship out was very difficult in places with several of the team finding this very frustrating. Depths varied throughout the sections between 6 and 10 ft with rigs required between .6 and 1.5 gram using 0.8 to 0.12 hooklenghts. Today was very hot with temperatures reaching 30 degrees by 09:00 and 37 at peak. We had a good day although there were few carp caught with probably only 4 carp spread over a couple of the team. Rob Middleton had the best day with around 20lb although it was a lot harder than the previous day.
Paul Bick and Rob Quinn also caught some small tench and the odd carassio. With Michael, Leigh and John catching skimmers. We also tried the slider or waggler which although you could catch fish looked to be significantly less consistent than the pole. Each of the team were trying different mixes based on our main base ground baits of
Practise Day 3-: Today we were in section A1 opposite were the Italians had been on day 1 and at the extreme opposite end and side of the lake to yesterday. It was another very hot day with the same conditions as yesterday. By now my feet were feeling the pace and us all drinking several litres of water each day. Given there were 7 anglers nominated this meant 6 to fish each day with one helping as bank runner. Today we were in a very hard section and stark contrast to our previous two sections. There were skimmers to be caught and the by now very odd carp in this section. It was very clear though that these carp were huge section point’s scorers and to do well in you section you would need to get one out if you hooked one. Given the weed issues it was generally best to play the fish on your 13 m limit until the fish was gasping on the top and then carefully lead it over any weed to the net. Attempts to play them short may result in the fish weeding you up. Long landing nets 4-5 metre were essential with the carp often being netted at 11m or so. This was completely different to English style with pull bungs and keeping the pole low, these carp had to be played out long tired and then netted by keeping them floundering on the top. Elastics were white or blue hydro. Weights were much lower today with Leigh winning the section with 13lb which included a bonus 5lb carp, hence why it was essential to land a carp if you hooked one. We packed up earlier today give the intense heat.
Practise Day 4-: By now we were finalising our plan in terms of ground bait mix and feeding patterns. Our typical mix would be two bags of lake, two bags of gros gardons and 1 bag of fine carp + leam. The variation to this was only the proportions with each angler experimenting to a degree. At this stage the leam cloud effect was not significant and did tend to attract the wasp perch. We were in section D today which was very hard with the worst amount of weed present. This had been commented on by all the teams, with the weed being cut on the Wednesday night by the authorities in an attempt to reduce the issue. Despite this there was till lots of weed present sometimes well beyond the 13m line. We had similar results to Tuesday but if anything the fishing was becoming much harder generally but the good sections were still producing fisher albeit to a lesser degree. It was also another scorching hot day.
Practise Day 5-: The last official practise day with only one session in the morning and the opening ceremony in the afternoon. We were in Zone C” for the last day which was by now the worst section which meant having to fish for all species including small perch. There were still skimmers to be caught, though were now thinning out and the whole section becoming a little peggy with pockets of skimmers only in certain pegs. Our plan was now firm with our mix being 2 lake, 2 gros gardons, 1 fine carp and 1 leam. With the anglers fine tuning dependant on their peg prospects. I was hard in C section and our plan to use chopped worms in the mix to deter the wasp perch appeared to be working quite well. It had also cooled down a little compared to the previous days. Weights were now much lower with high single figures being very good. The other teams were also watching us including the Italians and Polish. The Italians also had an increasing amount of bank runners as the week went on. It was also notable that we were catching plenty of fish in comparison to our section neighbours each day and were therefore gaining confidence in our approach. In the afternoon Paul Bick and myself attended the official meeting to finalise the team for day 1 and clarification of rules. Later we attended the opening ceremony at the rowing course headquarters and grandstand. It was now very clear how much effort was being put in by the polish angling federation and local authorities with several senior dignitaries present. The ceremony consisted of opening speeches and entertainment by dancers and a mime act. It was very formal and each countries flags paraded and flown around the lake on the back of jet skis!
Shots of the Opening Ceremony.
Back at the chalets we had our final meeting and made plans for day 1.
Day 1 competition -: I was allocated bait duty and needed to drive to the far end of the lake ready to collect the bait at 06:00 hrs! The bait was good again and following this check, rushed back for breakfast and to distribute the bait. Our draw was a little poor with some anglers going to some very hard pegs in the section. I was running C section with Rob Middleton our angler here. He was on a peg only 2 pegs away from were Paul Bick had been in the previous days practice, so we knew it would be hard. Rob prepared his kit and was ready in plenty of time for the bait check. This was very formal with strict checks made. Ground bait was tipped from the anglers buckets into another and a line for the 17 l limit checked. Dependant on how many mixes each angler had added up to the total measure. The idea behind tipping out the ground bait is to ensure that you have not compressed it into buckets. Something Mark Addy had mentioned to use during our initial information gathering. Despite the checks some teams were issued yellow cards with two anglers from 1 team having excessive ground bait.
Tireless team runner Paul Bick gives Rob some words of encouragement.
Rob’s match was not easy and he had to fish hard for each fish with small skimmers being caught infrequently.
By working hard Rob managed to gain reasonable points from a very hard area. Given that each section zone is now split into two sections i.e. pegs 1 – 16 and 16 – 31, Rob was unfortunate to be in the early part of the second section (peg 18) Peg 16 counts in both sections given the odd number of teams. At the weighin it was very clear that the first section had fished very poor with 1KG gaining good points. There were very few bonus fish caught in this section with only 1 or 2 carp, worth a top 3 section finish. Rob weighed just over 2KG and scored medium points, unfortunately the pegs higher up in the section were so much better from the start and was obvious after an hour that it would be hard to catch these pegs up.
Rob Middleton caught well from a poor area.
Nigel Bull had scored 3 pts from A section with 600grams of small perch , Michael Buchwalder had scored 7 pts from B section the same peg he had practised on the first
Michael Buchwalder shows his net of fish
official practise day and with Leigh in a very weedy area in D section he had managed to catch a carp on the waggler and weighed 4Kilo giving him 6 points. Jon had draw the wrong end of the favoured E section and caught 4K of skimmers for 8pts.
Overall the team had done reasonable well from a poor draw. We finished in 8th place on the day with
Day 2 competition -: Repeat of the early morning bait duties and a better draw believed we were still in the race. Today would mean me running two sections A and B, with Rob Quinn in A section and Nigel Bull in B section. Both of these were good pegs with Rob at the right end of A section and Nigel on the end peg of the match in B section. Nigel had been in A section on day 1 and caught wasp perch to finish third in the section and gain good point with only 720grams, it was difficult! With this in mind Rob was geared up for a speed race on this important little fish. It was also a good in that he was at the right end of the section were there were more bonus fish.
At the start for the 5 minute baiting period Rob balled in and then cupped in 3-4 Joker rich balls on the money. First lower in resulted in no bite, however the second lower in resulted in a bite and several yards of elastic streamed from Robs pole tip. Rob knew how important it would be to land this carp and very calmly and expertly played the fish until it was gasping on the top at 13m. He then carefully removed a section and drew it over the waiting landing net, which resulted in a great cheer of Bravo from the watching crowd and an even greater cheer from your’s truly. If the opposing teams were unsure as to which team had netted the first carp they now knew!!! It also served to put some pressure on the other teams and equally took the pressure off Rob. Good section points were now in the bag. I watched for the next 20 minutes, there were 2 other carp caught by the Dutch angler to Rob’s immediate left and 1 by the French angler 3-4 pegs to Robs right. At this point, I walked up to see Nigel. By the time I arrived Nigel confirmed that he had had a carp and was catching skimmers off the bottom, but they had now gone quiet and that he was struggling with the wind. Unlike Rob’s section Nigel was in a good section and looking at the anglers scoreboards after the first hour suggested that he would need to catch a good weight to do well in his section. I suggested that he would need to catch at least another bonus carp and some better skimmers to do well and thought that fishing the bottom with two or more bloodworm might be best. Following a change to this with a 1.5 gram float resulted in 7-8 good skimmers in as many put ins. I watched Nigel for the next 15 mins and left him to it and made my way back to Rob a reasonable distance away, given there was a gap between A and B section.
Rob Quinn with his reward for hard work!
Upon my return Rob confirmed that he had another carp and several wasp perch. A check on the scorecards indicated he was doing do well in his section. Rob needed no guidance and was in total control, so I left him to it. By the time I returned to Nigel his swim had gone a bit quiet but was still catching infrequently. With 15mins left he kept on catching by making various changes. At the weigh in I was asked by the senior steward to verify the zeroing of the scales as we weighed each angler. Nigel was first to weigh and put a very impressive 7545 grams on the scales. As we weighed each angler, there were a couple of anglers who would be a threat to Nigel. The French angler fished a magnificent match to weigh in 11KG of all skimmers, proof if it were needed that their tactics and groundbaiting had been perfected for the venue. This turned out to be similar story within the rest of the French team. As the last angler was weighed it was confirmed that Nigel had finished third, beaten by another angler with 8.3 KG. By the time I reached Rob, Martin Greene (running the bank for
John Arthur ready to weigh in.
The results-: The full results were officially confirmed very quickly with
The victorious French team.
Congratulations to them. We attended the closing ceremony back at the rowing course HQ which was equally as professional to the opening ceremony. In the evening we attended the closing banquet and reflected on what a great week we had had, despite all being very tired. On reflection we learnt a lot and will be better placed for another WCC. The lack of an international angler in our squad prevented us from getting to grips with the venue slightly earlier than we had. The cooling weather into the weekend also resulted in the fish changing their feeding habits. Overall we had a great week, representing
Above: The tope five teams line up with their trophies.
Below: Our Superteam!