Angling Trust’s Team England Veterans are the new World Champions after a tremendous win in the 8th FIPSed World Championships fished on the River Raia near the town of Cabecao in Portugal from 5th – 6th June 2015.

In temperatures never less than a sizzling bank side 36 degrees centigrade the team practised hard for 10 days before the event which proved vital in honing skills that are not normally associated with England.  The river was alive with small bleak averaging around 8 grams and these little fish became very important in England’s team plan. Four members of the squad had been involved in competitions on the venue ranging over 15 years and bleak had always played a big part in all the previous championships.

The team knew that Italy would be difficult if not impossible to beat if it was to be out and out bleak fishing so they practised hard to develop a method that would keep them in contention until the last half of the match. Three years before this match, team member Steve Sanders had taken his Dorking team to the World Club Championships and in the second half of the match bigger fish had put in an appearance.  Carp weighing from 500 grams to 2 kilos along with barbel to 1.5 kilos and a few small Carrassio started to show and a plan was formed.

By targeting bleak on 4/5 metre whips or short lining 5 sections fishing pinky on the hook with added joker in the groundbait it was possible to catch a reasonable starting weight. This method was to be continued until the bleak started to become too difficult to catch and a change was needed normally after 2 hours to 3 hours into the 4 hour match. Bigger fish were then a get out of jail method at 11.5 metres using corn on the hook over a hemp base with a second option of fishing  maggot on a 20 gram waggler fished under the far bank firing sticky magg and gravel across.The plan worked well on day one with England finishing one point in front of Hungary and Italy with the other teams almost out of contention.  Mark Downes was on upstream end peg and a late run of bigger fish gave him a section win.

Team England Veterans squad;
Manager Dick Clegg
Assistant Harry Billing
First day result;
Section A Roger Marlow 3 points
Section B Danny Sixsmith 5 points
Section C Steve Sanders 3 Points
Section D Mark Downes 1 point
Reserve Joe Roberts

Day one team result;1.
England 12 points
2. Hungary 13 points
3. Italy 13 points

Tactics for day 2 remained unchanged and because the team were in a great place for winning the gold medal.  Joe Roberts who could have fished decided to give up his place just as Dicky Carr did in Italy last year.  It was a good move as Danny Sixsmith who would have been substituted won his section catching 3.203 kilos of bleak.  Mark Downes also won his section on the second day using almost identical tactics as day one with a late run of quality fish to became England’s 3rd Veterans World Champion in the 8 years of the competitions history.

Day two result;
Section A Roger Marlow 5 points
Section B Steve Sanders 5 points
Section C Danny Sixsmith 1 point
Section  D mark Downes 1 point
Reserve Joe Roberts

Day 2 team result;1.
England 12 points
2. Hungary 13 points
3. Italy 18 points

Overall Results;
Gold medal England 24 points
Silver Hungary 26 points
Bronze Italy 31 points

Gold    Mark Downes  England  2 points  9.957 kilos
Silver   Janos Czako    Hungary  3 points 9.742 kilos
Bronze Joao Raimundo Portugal 3 points 8.952 kilos     

Photo – From left to right;  Mark Downes and Bill Galt

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