The week’s practice is finally over for the European Championship on the Pommeroeul Canal in Bernissart, Belgium.
Drennan Team England have had a promising week and look confident. However, this will be a match that will almost certainly be dominated by bream and it will be the teams that can capitalise on them when they arrive that will have the edge.
The bream are up to 3kg apiece and are being caught on the slider in 14ft of water at 40-50 metres range. There are also a few smaller skimmers and ‘pommies’ to be had, but very few roach. William Raison is actually the only person to have caught one for England this week.
The bream aren’t widely spread, however, and tiny bullheads were all the team could catch on Monday. On the last day of practice there seem to be a number of tiny perch to be caught. The two managers have weighed these fish and at around 6g apiece you would need around 80 of them for 500g! Although small, these fish could play a vital part as the water is extremely clear and the bream are typically feeding early. Anyone fortunate enough to catch a bream early will have the luxury of spending more time for these quality fish. Weights of 20kg+ are certainly on the cards if they feed.
The venue is hoped to one day become a ‘centre of excellence’ for the home nation and seems to have everything going for it other than an abundance of fish. The Belgians have been stocking tanks full of roach, carp and bream into the venue recently, but they seem to be happiest residing in a large lake at one end of the watercourse, where the fish have also been spawning recently.
The canal also has a controlled sluice that is occasionally turned on. However, no numbers of fish have been caught when the water has been running, as presentation on the slider suffers.
Every angler will be hoping for A Section tomorrow, which is nearest the lake. It seems like Sections A and B are reliable, along with one half of C. The match might therefore be won and lost in the remaining two and a half sections, where the fishing in co-manager Mark Addy’s words, “Could be disastrous!”
On the last day of practice, William Raison, Alan Scotthorne, Lee Kerry and Callum Dicks have all had one or two big bream in their catches while Sean Ashby and Simon Willsmore have caught around 50 perch apiece.
It is certainly going to be tough for all of the nations this weekend. We now have two tense days of competition to see if Drennan Team England can bring back some medals. Good luck everyone!