Last week saw the Ladies World Championship fished on the River Sorria in Corouche, Portugal, and like last year we had added interest as, as once again our very own Jeannette Halliday had been chosen to represent her country. Now back on home soil she has kindly written a few words and put together a short blog on this year’s event. So without further adue I’ll let her take it away…
Ladies World Championships 2014
2-3 weeks before the event saw me busy in my Tackle Box tying all manner of rigs and making sure my gear was ready and up for the job, I had a rough idea what the fishing was like and knew I needed a range of rigs with hook sizes from size 18-20 and with hooklengths from 0.9-0.12mm. A lot of the fishing was going to be on the pole for small Barbel, the other would be fishing large 16-30g Wagglers at distance, I didn’t leave anything to chance and to say I was ready would be an understatement.
A trip to Cambridge on the Thursday kicked it all off, I ventured down there to leave my gear with the ‘Travelling Van’; the van that would be taking everyone’s tackle to the event, kindly driven by Dave Brooks, Jason Kirk and Ant Dagnall.
Friday saw us catch our flight from Manchester Airport, departing at around 6.30pm and arriving in Lisbon around 8.40, Dave Brooks and the ‘Travelling Van’ arrived about midnight that evening. Bearing in mind they’d left at 5.00 Thursday it was a mammoth effort and I’d like to thank them for all there hard work, that much driving certainly takes some doing!
The following day we were given our first real taste of the venue and on first impressions it looked more like we were sea fishing, as a large sandy beach area ran the length of the river! This made it difficult to transport the gear to the pegs I can tell you!
With temperatures well into the thirty’s some serious sun cream was needed and so was a selection of brollies, not only for the anglers, but for our bait and tackle too!
The Practice Sessions…
Day One – Box (Peg) 11
The key to the practice sessions is that we all try something different, to hopefully find out a method or tactic that works and to eliminate those that don’t.
For me the first practice went well and I ended up finishing 3rd, not bad at all. One thing I was slightly concerned about though, was the amount of Bleak in the river, as these ravenous silverfish made it almost impossible to get a bait down to the bottom for the bigger species, however I was reassured that these tiny silvers would ease off as the week progressed.
Day Two – Box (Peg) 8
The fishing was very tough and weights throughout were very low, with most anglers resorting to catching Bleak, to A, give them at least something to weigh in and, to B, boost your weight if you did land a bigger fish.
I managed another third place finish with 2-3 small Barbel taken on the Waggler and some Bleak, a tough day, but once again I was relatively happy with my performance.
Day Three – Box (Peg) 6
This was a real funny area and once again fishing was hard! It was a case of resorting to the short whip and Bleak… again!
Many of the anglers resorted to this tactic and it was interesting watching them, it was also easy to recognize that some of the other nations were far better at this method than us, so we were all hoping it didn’t turn into a Bleak match!!!
Day Four – Box (Peg) 1
Unfortunately this was a bit of a non-starter, as this area wasn’t going to be pegged in the match, which was a great shame, as without doubt it was one of the better areas on the whole river! It turned up most of the better weights and bigger fish, with Catfish, Sunperch and Carassio all making an appearance. I had a great days fishing, and managed to finish second, however unfortunately I didn’t learn a great deal!
Day Five – Box (Peg) 4
By now, the last day of practice, we were starting to put a bit of a plan together, it looked almost certain that Bleak would play a large part in the final event so I opted for a 6m line and a waggler at distance. The short line produced lots of Bleak, with the odd bonus fish, while the Waggler at distance was purely for bigger fish. Laying lots of line on the bottom and firing balls of Sticky Magged Maggot over the top was my chosen method.
The World Championships…
The first day of the event and I’m over the moon, as I’m selected to fish and gain my first England cap!
Day One – Draw C10
C10 was a renowned difficult area and it didn’t help being pegged next to one of the top Dutch Team, I won’t lie I was pretty nervous! A couple of fish on the Waggler soon settled the nerves though and a couple more of the 6m line, along with a few Bleak saw me finish 8th in my section. I was quite pleased with my performance and finishing position, the fact I also finished in front of the Dutch angler also gave me an extra sense of achievement.
The team finished 7th overall, which was enough to keep us in the running and gave us all something to play for on Day 2. However If we were to finish on the podium we needed some extra special results, as the Italians and French had stormed it!
Day Two – Draw D9
For day two I was drawn in another tight section and was told that 2kg+ would be a decent weight, I’m also told to start of on the waggler and continually feed the shorter 6m line.
Ten minutes in and I’m into the first fish of the day, a small Barbel, which unfortunately sheds the hook half way across the river! Another fifteen minutes later and fish number two is hooked, only for it to also shed the hook just a few feet away from the net… gutted would be an understatement! I hadn’t lost a fish all week in practice, but had lost two in two chucks!!
The first hour passed and all I had to show for my efforts was a handful of Bleak, landed on the short line, this area almost seem devoid of fish and I was left scratching my head!
I cupped in a ball of sticky Magged Maggots and went straight in over the top, instantly getting a response as a steady run of Bleak followed and then a small Barbel, but by now I was already playing catch up! I kept my head down and continued to plug away, gradually adding more fish to my net and clawing my way back up my section.
By the time the hooter went to signal the end, I’d managed to come from pretty much last place to finish a respectable 8th, however I was still quite upset, thinking those lost fish had really cost the team! However Joe Roberts and Dick Clegg soon calmed me down and assured me the lost fish hadn’t affected the final result.
News soon filtered through that the other girls had fished well, with young Abbi Kendall, who was making her first England performance, even winning her section! However despite this it wasn’t enough to see us finish on the podium.
The Italian and French teams added to there superb performance on day one, to finish first and second, with the hosts Portugal claiming third spot, one place ahead of us in fourth.
Whatever the result it had been a truly fantastic week and I cannot thank everyone enough for there help and support, both personally and for the team, it was another great honor to represent my country and I just hope I can make the squad for Belgium next year.