I have to say the stretch of the river arno at pisa is definitely the best venue i have ever been to. After a weeks bombardment with bait and pressure from some of the best under 18 anglers in the world i thought the fishing at some point would slow up, i couldn't of been more wrong. The more bait that went in the river the better the fishing become and the bigger the fish got, on the first day of the world champs ryan watson caught two catfish for 18lb.
I have never been to a river with such a head of fish in such a small area, it is not a big river ranging from 50-80 meters wide and 2-8 ft deep. The way you had to fish for these catfish was different to how i have ever fished before as well, using gear i would only relate with specimen anglers. The rig we found best and was the most successful started with a size 6 milo s463 to a 0.24 hook length and a 0.26 mainline and a 8g perfect pole float. Once you had the rig correct the most important part of the whole set up was the elastic we were using preston hollo 17 but set very tight, the catfish in italy fight extremely hard and it is very important that when you hook one you get it off the bottom we found this elastic we were very successful. When the whole set up was correct you could fish very quickly putting big numbers of catfish in the net in a very short amount of time even swinging a lot of the smaller fish, also there was a odd big carp being caught and using gear like we were it gave you a very good chance of getting one out.
World championships rules mean the match is only three hours and there are some very strict bait limits, the limit was 2 1/2 litres of bait and 17 litres of ground bait which in a normal three hour match is masses, but not for a venue like pisa, you had to split the bait into three different bowls one for each hour and really pace your self to make sure you didn't run out. 17 litres of ground bait works out about 6 kilos and a 1 1/2 litres of worms is about a kilo and 1 litres of maggots is about 2 pints so we were really feeding lots of bait and throwing small balls every cast, anything from 2-6 balls.
The team worked out the best way to get these catfish into your peg was to create lots of noise so in the ten minutes pre baiting we threw some big balls of ground bait but mostly small balls, the most important thing was to make sure there was always some bait being introduced into your peg. In three hours you needed 20 kilos (44lb) to do well in your section and to win your section you were looking nearer 30 kilos of 90% catfish, this really does show what a awesome venue pisa is.