After a tough but exciting Day One at the 61st World Championship in Croatia, the Netherlands are runaway leaders with an excellent 16-point tally.
A total of 37 nations are involved in this two-day, float-only event. The venue is the Dubrava Canal or ‘Track’, which is basically a man-made channel that flows unbelievably fast as it feeds the neighbouring hydro-electric power plant adjacent to the equally impressive Dubrava Lake near Prelog, north Croatia.
It is an excellent venue as far as access and facilities are concerned, but the fishing can at best be described as challenging! It is six metres deep just 10 metres out and extremely fast flowing. With a relatively short distance of around 15 metres between anglers the only real option is the pole. However, a 200g lollipop float would not hold a bait still, so the only way to present a bait is to run a 30-50g lollipop through at half pace or at the same speed as the current. That leaves a window of six to 10 seconds to get a bite each run through!
Nase and barbel are the main target and the Netherlands have done particularly well with the latter of the two species to post just 16 penalty points after Day One. Their star man has to be Jo Adriola, who somehow managed to subdue a 4.6kg barbel hooked in the dorsal fin, which helped him to a vital section 2nd.
The home nation Croatia has also made local knowledge and experience pay to take second spot with 23 points. Tying with them, but lower on weight, is neighbouring Serbia. Both countries appear to have targeted the fish closer in than most nations, at just nine or 10 metres, where the bottom of the rocky slope typically is.
Ultra-heavy balls of groundbait and/or sticky mag packed with coarse gravel is fed in short bursts to keep some feed in the swim. Maggots and/or bloodworm are the top hook baits.
After the torrent-like flow, the biggest obstacle the teams all have to overcome is the masses of zebra mussels that line the bottom and regularly damage anglers’ lines.
Reigning World Champions, Drennan Team England, have had mixed results. Despite being 2nd on overall fish count with a total of 34 fish, they are still lying in a lowly 14th spot with 44 points, sandwiched by neighbours Ireland and Scotland.
Alan Scotthorne has been the team’s best performer with a solid 5th in section with 13 fish for 5.5kg, only beaten by much bigger barbel in his zone. Callum Dicks is next best with an encouraging 7th place on his debut and 4.7kg. Des Shipp managed 8th, Will Raison was 11th and Sean Ashby was 13th. This surely means reserve Steve Hemingray will step in for Sean on Day Two.
Their chances of a medal are looking extremely slim, but the unpredictable nature of a venue like this means it is not impossible. They will need a striking performance like the Netherlands’ to do it!
Day One Teams: (37 nations)
1st Netherlands 16pts
2nd Croatia 23
3rd Serbia 23
4th Czech Republic 25
5th Germany 28
6th Spain 31
7th France 32
8th Slovenia 32
9th Bosnia-Herzegovina 32.5
10th Switzerland 34
11th Poland 36
12th Austria 36
13th Ireland 41
14th England 44
15th Scotland 44