Exclusive report by Gareth Purnell, Total-Fishing.com

Shakespeare can hold their heads high after an excellent effort in the biggest ever World Club Championships saw them finish fifth of the 31 competing teams.

Due to heavy flooding in Poland, the venue was switched to Lake Malta, a rowing course near Poznan holding skimmers, carp, tench and small carassio.

The final result saw France take the gold medal, with Russia in second, Italy taking the bronze, host nation Poland fourth and the English fifth, about 12 points off a medal.

Shakespeare’s squad, which qualified for the event for the third time after winning the 2009 Division One National, comprised Jon Arthur, Michael Buckwalder, Nigel Bull, Rob Quinn, Rob Middleton and Leigh Gardener, with Paul Bick managing and Neil McKinnon acting as coach.

Speaking to Total-Fishing.com, Coventry’s Jon Arthur said: “We are tired, but given how much we had to learn about a new venue so quickly, with no internationals in the squad and with a less-than-kind draw, we are absolutely delighted to finish fifth.”

The teams were faced with blazing hot conditions during practice week, but on the first day of the event the temperature dropped and teams had to quickly adapt.

The event is fished to international rules, with a week of practice followed by a two-day match, each of the matches being three hours in length. Any form of legering is banned.
The final day of practice saw the mercury hit 37 degrees and this led to everyone struggling and having to come up with a plan B, apart from the Hungarians.

“We knew they were catching skimmers at half depth, feeding a ball a chuck and expected that to be absolutely key on the two days of the match,” added Jon. “But colder overnight temperatures and some rain on Friday night put all the fish down and you needed to catch them on the deck. The Hungarians completely blew out as a result.”

In the event it turned to be out-and-out pole fishing, ‘balling it’ at 13 metres with anglers who were on skimmers from 3oz to 8oz fishing positively for lift bites by ‘double bulking’, with the second bulk around four inches off the deck.

In tougher areas anglers were forced to fish for small perch, something Nigel Bull did to great effect with 600gr of them (around 130 fish) for third in section. On the individual front it was decided by carp up to 3lb, which the organizers didn’t even know were in the venue until practice week. We await the full results.

“We did catch some fish including carp on the slider in practice, during which Leigh Gardener shone, but as the week wore on it became more and more obvious that not only was there no short line, there was no benefit to fishing the waggler,” explained Jon. “It was all about the 13m line, and on some pegs this was tough with a lot of weed quite a long way out. If you hooked a fish you needed to play it out full at full distance and bring it to the surface before trying to draw it over the weed and net it.”

Despite this, Jon Arthur told Total-Fishing.com that he thought the venue and organisation were ‘superb’ and he expects it to be used again in European and possibly world championships.

Shakespeare added some chopped worm to the joker in their mix, and felt that worked for them for bringing in some quality fish. Jon caught tench and carassio and Rob Quinn caught carp in the match, although skimmers were the mainstay. They finished in seventh on the first of the two days, but it was already clear who the favourites were.
“The French had the likes of Jean Desque there to help, while the Italians had former world champ Falsini. They had an angler every five pegs reporting back – that’s the kind of professionalism you are up against.”

Day two saw Shakespeare move forward again and in front of the likes of Belgium. They finished around ten points off the medals.
“I’ve certainly got the bug for these types of CIPS events, and would love to fish another one,” added Jon.

“But they are exhausting. There is no time for relaxation at all – it’s just relentless. I can understand now why England spends three to four weeks on a world championships venue – there is so much to sort out,” added John, who thanked sponsored Shakespeare for its generous financial support.
World Club Championships 2010 Result: 1 France; 2 Russia; 3 Italy; 4 Poland; 5 Shakespeare.
Total-Fishing.com is hoping to have the full results available soon.