Tactics wise we felt having done so consistently well on day one there was no need to change anything on day two. It was now of course all about the draw and initially things looked good, Mick Vials had end peg A1 which although not the best end peg we felt should be worth a fish or two. Then Phil was on B4, away from the snags and next peg to where the Czech had won the section the day before. I was on C13 which although definitely at the right end of the section was supposed to be extremely snaggy. In fact rumour had it that Francis Mcgoldrick from Ireland had been on it on day one and lost thirteen feeders. Anyway more of that later and moving on Adam Wakelin was on a low number in D whilst Tommy had drawn well with peg 14 in E. Looking at South Africa’s draw they also had some favorable pegs so it was all to play for.
On arrival at C13 it was soon confirmed to me that if I thought I had been unlucky with snags on day one then on day two I had landed on the epicenter! After speaking to Jack Tisdall and Jan Van Schendel the Irish and Dutch managers they both confirmed my worst fears in that Francis had indeed lost all that kit. Snags aside though I still had a job to do so seven rods were soon set up. My reasoning for seven rods was that if it was going to be snaggy I couldn’t afford to spend loads of time tackling up, so should I lose everything pulling for a break I could quickly pick another rod up. Set up wise it was very similar to day one in that I set up four 13’ tournament distance rods and three 12-13 Tournament feeder rods at 12’. Reels were again Basia's on the big rods and TDR4012’s on the twelve footers. Hooklengths were 0.22 N-gauge to a size 10 wide gape hook as for day one.
After setting the rods up the next job was to work out where to fish. I had been told the peg on my left was snaggy long but the peg on my right clear. With this in mind I decided to fish on the limit of my peg to my right at forty-two metres as opposed to forty-five. I had a quick cast about with a lead and whilst I couldn’t find any snags I still felt coming slightly shorter would help as in when I did hook a fish I wouldn’t have quite so far to wind it back!
The baiting up hooter soon sounded and as on day one I put two big feeders full of hemp and corn in and waited for the match to start. C-section had been the best section on day one with Phil coming fourth with thirty kilos so I expected a few fish early. The starting hooter soon sounded and the pegs to my right were all into fish within the first ten minutes. Looking down the section though I hadn’t seen a fish caught to my left so it seemed I was right on the edge of them. After thirty minutes though I was still biteless and it was clear that the venue wasn’t going to fish as well as on day one. Just as I thought that though the tip pulled round lovely and slow and a two-kilo common carp was played like the crown jewels and into the waiting net. Next cast produced a small common of around five hundred grams and I was off and running.
At the end of the first hour I had four carp which looking around probably put me in third in the section. More importantly though I was ahead of both the Hungarian and South African anglers so from a team point of view I was holding my own. At the start of hour two though I picked up and was snagged solid, after pulling for a break I eventually lost the lot and from this point on my match started to deteriorate. The snags as I had been told were a nightmare and whilst I was getting bites the carp were small and if I played them softly they snagged me whilst if I wound them hard the hook pulled. It was a no win situation if I’m honest and whilst I was putting odd fish in the net those around me were starting to pull away. The frustrating thing was that I was getting the bites, but just not putting the fish in the net. Word on the bank though suggested that whilst I was struggling against those around me I was still in the top six in section and most importantly South Africa and Hungary were still struggling.
With two hours to go I had to do something so I decided to reclip at thirty-five metres just to try and find a clear spot. This wasn’t ideal but I was going nowhere fast on my original line due to snags. It took twenty minutes to get a bite on my new line but at least it ended up in the net giving me fresh hope. That didn’t last long though as after losing more kit on the next cast I wound the next two small carp off trying to keep them out of the snags.
With an hour to go I felt I had to do something to try and spark the swim into life and attract a few better carp so I put three big feeders in to top the swim up and cast straight on top of it. After five minutes the tip pulled round and I pulled as hard as I dare to keep the fish from the snags and eventually a nice two-kilo fish was in the net. Two more followed in the next two casts and all of a sudden I fancied nicking a couple more places in the section. Alas though it wasn’t meant to be as next cast I was snagged solid and lost the lot which meant retackling as I had run out of made up rods! This to be fair didn’t take long but it did upset my rhythm. I put a couple more feeders in to kick the swim off again and another nice common was the result before again I lost everything in a snag.
The last thirty minutes were poor as whilst I felt there were fish there I only managed two small carp, losing a further two in snags. The last five minutes saw me go biteless and when the hooter went to signal the end I have to admit I felt utterly deflated.
The scales soon arrived and the Czech on my left put a superb 31 kilos on the scales to take the lead in the section. This was the same guy who pipped me on day one so he was definitely my nemesis over the two days! It was my turn next and I put 21 kilo’s on the scales to take second, although that didn’t last long as the last three pegs all beat me putting me fifth in section.
Looking back I can’t help feeling like I was a bit unlucky over the two days. To put things into perspective there were very few snaggy pegs on the venue and to get two in two days should have been impossible. In fact the chances of getting two pegs with no snags in were much higher. In fact to put it into context I don’t think any of the rest of our team snagged up over both match days!
The day at this point didn’t get any better as word on the team started to spread down the bank. Mick was ninth off A1, that end of the section had been really poor and he struggled as a result. Phil had come back from the dead in B with four late two kilo plus carp getting him a fourth place when a bottom three looked inevitable with an hour to go. In D section though Adam had really struggled in a hard area and whilst Tommy had fished a captains match to finish second in E we knew it wasn’t going to be enough for the Gold we wanted. Sure enough South Africa had extended their lead and not only were they world champions but in Jumbo they also had the individual world champion too! Totting up the scores it soon became apparent we had tied with Hungary on points, but with it going down to weight they had beaten us for silver by Six kilo’s so we were third.
Now whilst third meant bronze my initial reaction was one of disappointment as we went to South Africa for gold. That said South Africa on home soil were outstanding and thoroughly deserved their win, they fished very differently to us and made it work, well and truly putting their knowledge of the dam to good use. In Jumbo as well they have not only one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet but the world individual feeder champion as well.
Going back to England after the dust has settled a bronze medal now looks a lot better than it did at the time, it follows up our bronze from last year in Ghent and at last we are starting to show some consistency! Roll on Ireland in 2014, maybe that will be our year……..