Simon Willsmore has sent us a really interesting report about his recent trip to Spain:-
“Spain is one of my favourite countries for match fishing as it has some fantastic venues so I was really looking forward to the Milo Copa Internacional 2013 organised by my friends Tomas Romera and Angel Perez.
The match was fished on a commercial lake in Santa Amalia not far from Merida and unlike UK commercials the venue is owned the the local council and run for anglers in the area with day tickets costing £2.50. The local mayor is an angling fanatic and such a venue is unusual in Spain but despite the concrete banks it actually had a very nice feel about it, the nice weather helped, no wind and 25 degrees was a pleasant surprise for this part of Spain at this time of year. The venue itself was a uniform 6ft deep and the permitted baits were corn, maggots and pellets (not allowed on the hook), pole only with a 13m limit.
The match was a 5 hour pairs match where you fish on the same peg and as the lake had 54 pegs and the match was made up of 50 pairs there was going to be twice as many anglers on the lake as usual and nobody was sure how the lake would respond to the pressure.
After a couple of days practice we decided that loose feeding heavily with maggots just short of the float combined with an odd pouch of 4mm pellets directly on the float would be the tactics that my partner Angel and I would use. Loose-feeding maggots directly on the float seemed to create too many liners and false indications. We had rigs to cover up in the water but our approach was to be fishing on the deck, for me with 4×12 AS3 floats, a 6″ 0.12mm double strength hook-length size 20 Milo T213 and a short strung shotting pattern and a no12 shot 3″ from the hook which seemed to help hitting the fast bites.
On the day of the match we were happy with our peg… end peg in the section and even though the other end of the section which had a bridge was deemed to be better we were pretty confident; but as it goes we suffered from the fact that the peg hadn’t been fished the day before in practice. 40 minutes into the match we hadn’t caught, but a move out to 13m from our 11.5m initial starting tactic and backing off the loose feed a bit saw us catching a few small carp. The average size in the lake is about 1lb but we caught some 4oz fish mixed in with the better fish but we did catch pretty consistently until the end of the match and numbers-wise we seemed to have done well.
The weigh in was a tense affair as we knew it was going to be close for the section. Because a continental system was being used for the payout where the 6 section winning pairs would make up the top 6 in the match, it was critical to win the section. But unfortunately we just missed out and our 24kg weight was a kilo and a half short putting us 2nd in the section and therefore 7th overall.
Personally I was pleased to weigh in 15.420kg which would have put me second in the match if there had been an individual payout but it was hard to be disappointed as the whole event was more than just a match. Anglers from all over Spain and Portugal, some travelling up to 1200km, had come to fish together and the social side of the match was as impotant as the fishing, the atmosphere of friendship between the anglers and combined with plenty of post match food and drink was fantastic and I had a great time.”
– Simon Willsmore