World Champs Preview

WC2014Drennan Team England are defending their title in Prelog, north Croatia, for the 61st World Championship this weekend.

The venue is a man-made channel that runs from Lake Dubrava, parallel with the River Drava, to serve a hydro-electric power station. It is up to six metres deep on the pole line and although the flow can be controlled, it has been extremely powerful so far in practice.

Drennan Team England are vying to retain their World Championship trophy from last year.

Before the official practice week, lollipop-style flat floats of well over 100 grams would have been required to present a bait in the fast and turbulent water. Now, however, ‘slightly’ less substantial 30-40g flat floats are being commonly used in this float-only event.

“At the moment it looks like anglers will be running their floats through five or six hundred times in four hours for just five or six fish,” commented England co-manager, Mark Downes.

“The target fish average around 14oz (400g) and are predominantly a species called nase, but there are also some bonus barbel to be had.

“It’s a difficult venue and there’s no getting away from the other nations as far as tactics are concerned. No one seems to be targeting smaller species like bleak up to now, but colour in the venue could change that.

“The practice ‘boxes’ are 104 yards long and, with 37 teams fishing, the match length is probably two miles in length. 

“The weather has been alright until the heavens opened today. I think more heavy rain is to come but the actual weekend of the match should ‘hopefully’ be ok!”

Five-times world champion, Alan Scotthorne, was slightly less diplomatic. “It could be catastrophic!” he explained, half-joking, half-serious. “We’ve worked hard and are catching fish, but it’s far from easy for anyone,” he added.

Masses of zebra mussels lining the bottom are another hazard the teams are having to deal with. These are playing havoc with angler’s tackle, as their razor sharp shells continually pinch and damage hooklengths.

The team for Day One will be picked from Alan Scotthorne, Will Raison, Sean Ashby, Steve Hemingray, Des Shipp and Callum Dicks.