A Fantastic Experience In Italy

The fishing was difficult but Mark Eves still thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The fishing was difficult but Mark Eves still thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Drennan Bordon’s Mark Eves looks back at a tough but nevertheless enjoyable World Championship he recently participated at with the England Disabled team.

I’ve had an awesome week away with the England Disabled Coarse Fishing Team fishing this years World Angling Championships. This year’s event was held on a very challenging river, the River Tiber in Rome, where flat floats and bolognese fishing would be the dominant methods.

The team this year consisted of myself, Mick Cove, Alan Chadbone and Bill Galt, with coach John Weedon and helpers Geoff Lewis, Mick Gibbs, Mark Wells and Tony Troth. Practice went well, with us all catching bonus fish, such as carp, carassio, barbel and one other special fish, which I’ll come back to later on!

The first day of competition saw me in A Section, the slowest section on the river. I set up various pole rigs for the 11 metre pole and two 7m bolognese rods for fishing two thirds across the river to get into the main flow.

I had a frustrating start to the day, having to wait an hour and 20 mins for my first bite… which I missed! Next run down on the pole, I hooked a large 3lb chub. After a scary, tentative battle, it was in the net! Boy was I relieved!

Next run down, I hooked another one, slightly smaller but at 10oz a welcome visitor to the net! Just as I was starting to think they had arrived, they had vanished! So, with no more bites on the pole, it was back to the bolo rod, but this didn’t produce anything until the final 20 mins where I caught five skimmers. That gave me a total weight of 2.492kg and 7th in section. Not the start I was after!

The rest of the guys struggled, too, with Billy finishing 6th, Mick 5th and sadly no bites for Alan in the dreaded D Section!

Day Two

mark-eves4I drew the hard D Section on the second day and knew I was in for a tough day. I caught one tiny eel for 56 grams, which beat one, the Croatian who sadly never had a bite! Most of my section only caught one fish, with one bream of just over a kilo winning the section!

Again, we had a disappointing team result. Alan was 4th, Billy was 8th and sadly no bites for Mick in C Section. The team finishing a frustrating 9th place out of 10, beating our German compatriots on weight!

As you will see from the pics, the river was a tough nut to crack with us having to use Cralusso Torpedo and Shark flat floats taking anywhere from 30 to 50 grams. Personally, having witnessed two of our anglers fishing, who both only have one arm each, really put a lump in my throat and made me think I’ll never complain again about holding a long pole again. Having watched what these two guys achieved really stood out for me. They gave everything. Not one of this team let the conditions get to them all week and they all gave 110%. It made me proud to be fishing alongside these great anglers!

The England Veterans and Disabled squads.
The England Veterans and Disabled squads.

The Veterans World Championship was also held on the same venue and a massive well done to the England Veterans on a magnificent performance in finishing second and winning a silver medal. I’m so happy for all of you guys and a well-deserved podium finish.

Dickie Carr

Dickie Carr made an extremely unselfish gesture on Day Two.

One special mention must go to Drennan’s Dickie Carr. Dickie was unfortunately not selected for the first day of the Final and was in line to fish on the second day with the lowest points scorer from day one dropping out. Unfortunately, Joe Roberts drew a right stinker of a peg and having lost over 30 hooks during the match, he only managed to beat a couple of people in his section. Dickie then made one of the kindest gestures I have ever witnessed to their manager, Dick Clegg. The gesture was not to drop Joe, as he had performed so well in practice and that Joe should instead fish in Dickie’s place for the second day. This left Dick a tough decision to make, which was made much easier by Dickie’s insistency that Joe should fish. Joe fished and won his section on the second day! A great gesture made by one of angling’s greatest characters and anglers I’ve ever known. Well done Dickie!

Thanks Everyone!

mark-eves1I would also like to take this opportunity to say a few thankyous. Firstly to everyone who sent wishes of good luck, whether on here or via text. Apologies for not replying to them all. Reception in Italy was very in and out! I must also thank the Angling Trust for their continued support, Sensas for providing us with all of our groundbait, Ricky Teale at Matrix for providing the team with some awesome bolo floats, everyone at Drennan International, Gary Barclay and Daniel Varney were great in sorting me out my Acolyte Carp pole at such short notice, which was brilliant to fish with all week and I cannot forget the guys from Cralusso for helping the team with some great flat floats (Stewart Lister and Mark Murdoch).

Extra special thanks to Bordon Angling Centre (Steve Barnett) for their continued support to me, Will Raison who has been a great help leading up to these championships and also to Jack Harness and Mick Hughes from Hydrolastic; the Grey and Black were perfect all week, it’s never let me down.

I must also personally thank everyone who has helped sponsor the Disabled England team this year, whether it be attending any of the fundraisers or raffles we’ve held or personal donations towards the team. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to go!

I cannot also leave this post without a special thanks to a very special man, Sir Richard Clegg. The man is a true legend and a real gentleman. One final thank you and that’s to John Weedon and all of the helpers listed above. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be able to do this, so a big thank you to all of you from myself and the other team members.

A Very Special Fish

Oh, I nearly forgot, that one special fish from earlier! On our last day of practice we were up the top end of the river, in the slower end, where bolognese fishing would become important. I fished the majority of the session on the bolo for a few skimmers and a small barbel, but with about an hour of the session to go, I hooked something that was big… very big!

It took 30 metres of line off my reel in seconds, I managed to turn it and started to gain some line. All the way through the battle, I kept saying, “It’s foul-hooked,” as there was no nodding of the head and control of my 7m bolo rod, I was being restricted by what I was attached to! But then, after about 20 minutes, I had gained line and we could see my float!

The excitement was unreal amongst everyone on the bank. There must have been 30-plus people behind me while I played it. When it rolled, the first time it was big. People behind said it was a sturgeon as they didn’t see any scales, but I said, “Don’t be stupid!” Then, one of the biggest fish I’d ever seen rolled on the surface. It was a catfish… and a big one at that!

Mark with Colin The Catfish!
Mark with Colin The Catfish!

I was praying that everything would hold! We then realised my landing net would not be big enough to land this monster, so mass panic set in with everyone rummaging around to find the biggest landing net we had. It came up once, and managed to avoid the net but, second attempt, we got him in. Boy was I knackered!

30 minutes fighting time and one dead right arm later, I had caught my biggest ever river fish! I’ve named him Colin the Catfish and he weighed in at 17lb!

A fantastic experience, with fantastic people and of course a fish I will never forget! I cannot wait for next year. Roll on Portugal 2015. Tight lines everyone!