Newly stocked fish, sizzling temperatures and tight pegging made this year’s World Angling Championships, held on Bulgaria’s Plovdiv Rowing course, one of the hardest to predict in recent times.
Drennan Team England – nearly always favourites where ever the venue – put in a solid performance on day one to secure fourth place and keep them in contention for a medal that has now become almost expected.
Day two, with the help of section wins by Steve Hemmingray and Callum Dicks, proved better, and with the second-placed Italians having a nightmare, Team England secured third on the day, giving them a hard-earned bronze medal and another visit to the podium.
Tactics for all the top teams were 10-15g wagglers, combinations of natural baits on the hook and heavy feeding of sweet-based groundbaits fed by catapult sausage-style at 30-40 metres. The target fish were carp and carassio.
Hungary are the new world team champions with the Czech Republic taking silver. Slovenia’s Jernej Ambrozic was the only angler to win his section both days and becomes the new individual world champion.
Recent results whether team event, individual or pairs, using any methods show that all the eastern European teams are now serious contenders.
The lower River Aire around Chapel Haddersley hit top form in the latest Leeds Summer League, with the best weight from the venue this season recorded by the winner.
Star performer Ian Bowman easily took top spot with over 45lb of bream all taken on the pole with worm and caster from top-end peg 1.
Tadcaster’s Chris Burton rolled back the years to take second with 16lb of quality roach, all falling to his trademark long rod, big stick and maggot.
Cleckheaton’s Dave Armitage was best of the rest with over 13lb of small roach on a 9m whip.
The Norman Marsh Memorial brought the best out of the tidal Wharfe at Ulleskelf and winner Jim Jordan.
Drawn at the top of Fieldings Straight, and casting tight to the stakes with bomb and loose fed caster, his five barbel for 24lb was double the weight of second-placed Pete Barron, who weighed a level 12lb.
The venue’s barbel action continued through the week with anglers returning to put things right after a number of big fish were lost under match conditions and feeble tackle failing the test.
The salmon pool proved best with catches of up to seven fish falling to single anglers with the right gear, and the best fish weighed in at 11-02. I don’t think it coincidence that the in-form rivers of this year’s consistently low levels have been those dictated by the sea.
With guaranteed strong flows after each high tide giving the barbel everything they need to make them swim and feed, bites have been possible, though nearby stretches of non-tidal and consequently little or no flow have been next to impossible.
As the rain has started to fall and conditions return to something like normal, the Ouse has shown its potential with reports of two different 12lb barbel caught within days of each other from Alice Hawthorne and an 11-6 that I personally witnessed from a little further upstream.
For those who have had a frustrating season and are looking for a proper Yorkshire biggie, Newton, Alice or Moor Monkton should be the places to be.