Spinadesco Diary
The Heat is On!!!
Friday's final practice sessions leave many teams struggling

In very high temperatures, and bright sunshine, many of the teams used today’s final practice to refine the methods they’d used throughout the week. Although it was only over one 3-hour session, instead of the two sessions of the previous four days, all of the teams caught fish using different methods, but all on the 13-metre line.

Swede Marten Johanson, who is apparently known in his own country as 'End Peg Billy', nets and displays a plump carassio to one of his team members.

Dutchman Christian von Grinkel will have pleased his manager Jan Van Schendel with this chunky carassio... let's hope he does it tomorrow!

England's 'backroom' boys are a formidable trio.
Some of the nations who previously fished for carassio, have already got methods such as the waggler and, in some cases, their short lines sorted out. These methods may come into play for those countries like Spain and Portugal who fish for carassio at home, should they need a 'get out of jail free' card.

Today’s final session is also a prelude to the crucial captain’s meeting and the championship's opening ceremony, which was held this evening in the Piazza del Commune, and then the main event itself.

The Ukranian Denis Zhalyuk, needed to gain height to control a hard fighting carp/carassio on light elastic in front of one of his team followers. Unfortunately he suffered the fish got the better of him and all he ended up with was a 'birds nest' rig!

Part of the French line-up near the end of section A, featuring Diego da Silva in the foreground.

Generally, the day fished well for some teams and yet poor for others. Areas which had produced the previous day, were found wanting in the soaring temperatures with no really big weights. Teams, like red-hot favourites Italy, and some of the other suspected front-runners, had mixed results, although they must have answered many of the venues previous questions and settled on some form of 'attack' plan.

Belgian 'ace' Hans Slegers shows the technique which earned him the respect of tree sturgeons everywhere! That IS 11m of pole snagged on the top branches. He did however manage to net an offending 4kg carp after some adjustments.
Fishing in, or close to, the practice box that England fished on Thursday was Belgium’s Hans Slegers, who stood head and shoulders above his fellow country-men. Hans landed over 8 kilos, which included a single carp of 4kg+, which needed all of 11 metres of pole!

Final team meetings will plan how each team approaches day one of course, and all of these will be happening tonight, after the opening ceremony. Presiding over this will be the FIPS head 'honcho' Claudio Matteoli.

As you can see from some of the pictures we’ve included today, the main species was carassio, followed by some big carp, skimmers and the ever present 'Tommy' ruffe's, which seem to be partial to a cloudy groundbait mix!

As the real event starts tomorrow, many teams and anglers will be hoping to avoid the poorer areas, which have materialised over the week. Some have already fallen foul of these and have become the first day's runner, like England's Stu Conroy.

FIPS President Claudio Matteoli gives his administration team an 'eve of battle' pep talk!

England close ranks in readiness for the weekend's assault on 'gold'.

We’ll be continuing the coverage as soon as possible after tomorrow’s match is completed, with a full result sheet from the day, and more pictures.

Finally we’d like to wish every angler competing the very best of luck this weekend, especially the England lads.


Below is Thursday Diary 

England starts to pick up a gear, but home side Italy, loom menacingless!
Thursday saw England in a good area and improve of the previous days session by posting 45 kilos of carp, bream and skimmers on the the pole.

Will Raison with his 9kg haul from opposite the smelting works.
This followed their first day 36 kilos from their six man allocated box (area), with a poor draw for Tuesday for just  a 14kg+ total. However, they set this right on Wednesday with a respectable 24.5kg. Obviously more sensitive details of baits used and methods are restricted at this point. Joint Manager Mark Downes was happy with how the lads had performed and said “It's a very difficult venue, straight with relatively few features. From this outlook you would imagine that it would be consistent and even... but nothing can be further from it! There are areas with lots of big fish (carp), there are areas with quite a few small fish and there are areas with not a lot of fish. The problem with this situation is that there's 37 team, spread over the two match lengths, two sections above and three sections below the main central bridge. This could mean that you could get 3 to 4 areas within a section that vary greatly. You could be top weight in the first 20 pegs of a section and still end up 15th or 16th in that section!
The bigger the match the more important the draw becomes and over the two days of competition you just hope you get your fair number of decent pegs and a few bad ones as possible. Our last few internationals have produced a couple of bad draws for us and no matter how good our lads are, they can't get good points from them! We always hope the situation evens out over the two days but without a doubt one or two teams will have consistent draws over the period. We just hope that they're not the better teams because if they do then you can say good buy to the main medal. But we're not too unlucky and have been known to pull them out of the hat. So yes, its not too bad for us overall.”

England's Sean Ashby needs a little lift to get the better of this 2kg carp on light gear!

Safely in the net, sean adds to his 7kg, day 4 practice weight

The England 'crew' set about weighing in their day 4 returns.

The Spanish were doing well towards the end of the match length on day 4. One of their anglers poses with this fine 1.5kg carassio, taken on big waggler... he had a few others afterwards as well!!!

A note of caution: Italy are putting their home advantage to good use with an amazing effort on the first day of practice. They recorded between 10kg and 18kg+ for their six man allocated box! Confidence will no doubt be running high with them.
We'll bring you another Diary update tomorrow afternoon before our main reports start in earnest on Saturday evening.