2012 European Championship, Merida, Spain

Last weekend I went out to Merida to run the bank for Drennan Team England, it was a brilliant experience in the spanish sunshine. The sunday match air temperatures reached 46 degrees C, this has to be the hottest day Ive ever experienced and with very little breeze it was hot, hot, hot.

I didnt arrive until the thursday evening before the match, so friday was spent watching the lads final practice session, and they were catching well. During the previous 2 weeks practice they had caught up to 28lb of bleak and the best catch of carp and barbel was 66lb, an awesome venue.

I have fished this match length 4 different times in the last 2 years and every time it is different, but always awesome, it would be a perfect venue for the Feeder world champs, you would probably need weight in excess of 150lb to win, and Thomas Romera the local tackle dealer reckoned you might need 200lb+, truly awesome.

Saturdays match I ran Steve Gardners section, E section the most upstream section. Saturdays match proved to be a bleak match for most people. The best way of catching them was to short line at top 6, feeding sloppy groundbait with joker in it and put a maggot on the hook. Stevie G caught a lot of bleak early and then finished with some carp on the pole in the last hour, for 13kg+ and 4th in his section, a fine performance. The team finished second on the day, just 2 points behind the Italians, so everything to fish for on the sunday.

Serbia, finished fourth on the day and eventually won the bronze medal, I witnessed the best display of bleak fishing I have every seen, on the saturday match one of their anglers caught 26lb in 3 and a half hours, it was an awesome display, he caught 400+ fish which averaged out at 25-30g each, he never looked rushed and the reason he caught so many fish was that he hit every bite, I saw him catch 15 fish in 15 chucks without missing a bite, he did this over and over again. Serbia have really improved as a nation since I have been involved with International fishing.

Saturdays match was a bleak match, but sundays match was totally different, only a few bleak showed early before everyone switched to the long pole to target the carp, I ran Steve Gardner section again, this time he drew A section, the best section in the match. The saturday match was won from A1 so it was going to be a hard section to run as lots of carp would be caught and trying to keep in touch with who was catching what was going to be tricky.

Stevie G started catching bleak at the start and was doing well, but it quickly became apparent that the bleak were not showing in such large numbers as in the previous day, the bleak shoals could be seen out of pole range, but after the hammering they got on the previous day they stayed out of range.

In less than 30 mins most anglers had abandoned the pole and were after the carp, early on in the match a lot of the carp were foul hooked and lost, probably due to too much bait in the peg after the inital bombardment. England team plan was to feed less than most teams at the start in an effort to cut down on line bites and reduce foul hooking, which to a certain extent worked, as we won silver. When you look at what the italians fed at the start, the italian in A section, absolutely filled it in with 30 plus jaffas and then spent more than 5 minutes cupping bait, their approach was totally different.

The second day really belonged to the Italians, they absolutely p****ed the match and desevedly won the gold medal, I can see the Italians dominating International fishing in the next 10 years, just like we have done for the last 10 years, simply because our fishing is so different to World Championship venues and techniques, fishing pellets on commercials is about far away from this style of fishing as you can get, whilst the Italian scene is all about natural venues and CIPS rules. 

Im sure you have heard by now that Drennan Team England won silver, and it was a very proud moment for me to stand along side the England team on the podium.

Then on the sunday evening, we all watched the Italians beat us at Footy :{