This years Iberian Master's competition, proved a great international success yet again, with some of western Europe's finest anglers in attendance. In fact it's here where many of them start their own competitive season. Just south of the regions capital Valencia, is the small town of Fortaleny on the banks of the River Júgar, the home of the Iberian Masters and where weights of over 30 kilos are not uncommon.

Each year this event becomes stronger, consolidating its position as one of the 'must-attend' and important matches on the international circuit. Although naturally dominated by Spanish and Portuguese anglers, there were numerous high-profile anglers from France, Italy and Hungary. There was also one lone English representative, who apparently is as regular an attendee as the Spanish and Portuguese!

So why is the Iberian Master such a success? Apart from the obvious (normally) sunny location, the question has an easy answer... it's all down to the hard work of the organisers. It is a long-term job which begins directly after the competition finishes, when each member of the organising committee talks to every competitor to find out how their own particular event went and how they can make it better. This is unusual for most competitions, but the competitors opinions are, after all, central to an events future success. It therefore rests very heavily on how well the organisers take on-board and apply these comments. Thanks to this approach, the event has gone from strength to strength over the past five years.

Matchangler.com is grateful to Sergio at Clubpescabutarque.com for the following pictures and breakdown from this years event. We also include several links to their renown videos of the event, which although mostly in Spanish, have a great feel and flavour to them. We hope you enjoy them, especially the one of Jacopo playing the carp!!!.

The weather for the week, turned out to be untypical of this part of Spain. The Fortaleny area on Tuesday saw a light rain appear during the evening, but most anglers didn't seem to worried about it. Wednesday turned out cloudy with more light rain appearing.

Competitors get some practice in, ready for three days of competition on the River Jugar's deep and fast water.Competitors get some practice in, ready for three days of competition on the River Jugar's deep and fast water. THURSDAY, Official Training Session
For many, Thursday was the first official contact with the venue, but others had been there since Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday had been closed to all fishing.

A sunny Thursday allowed the competitors to wear lighter garments such as tee shirts, although some, like England's Brad Titmas, took them off and paid the ultimate price with a nice 'lobster' tan!!!

Although we could see plenty of fish caught, most anglers said that it had been less than in previous years. Some of them only managed two fish during the session. Portugal's Angela Carvalho, the only woman attending the match, won an 'honorary title' during training by picking up a good haul of carp.

The River Júgar was running quicker than normal which probably accounted for the slow response of the fish. Some anglers actually thought about the possibility of fishing for bleak on the first leg, because the river seemed full of them, however the problem here would be their small size balanced against the larger carp... not an easy choice for some! Even so, there were 73 competitors all eager to start the three-day contest in beautiful surroundings.

The anglers present represented 6 countries: Spain (29 anglers), Portugal (20), Italy (13), France (8), Hungary (2) and England (1).

When the anglers returned to the hotel, their first stop was the noticeboard to see the weather forecast for the following day. The forecast was for cloud with a light breeze and the possibility of light rain by the end of the match. There was also a most enjoyable hour-long video from the day's training session played in the hotel for all to view.

FRIDAY – 1st round
At seven o’clock, after breakfast, the competitors prepared to draw their first day pegs. The match length had been split into three sectors, so that each angler would fish one of them on each of the three days of competitions and were divided as follows: Sector A - 25 pegs, Sector B - 24 pegs and Sector C - 24 pegs. Each angler would then draw a peg number in each of the three sectors for the three days of competition.

There was, in common with many matches, a 'buzz' and an even friendly atmosphere, because of the mix of nationalities, during the draw. All were eager to get to the river, as 9am was the signal to enter their respective boxes/areas/pegs. The weather forecast was proving spot-on with cloud and light winds rippling the river's surface.

There was an air of anticipation and apprehension amongst all on the first day, as no-one wanted to have a poor day, which would effectively seal their chances of coming in the top group.

As expected, the river was pushing through quite fast, so flat floats/lollies of 25 to 50 grams would be necesary in order to fish properly and sector A was running fastest of all.

The main feature beginning to emaerge from this Iberian Masters, was the search for better fish, changing baits, rig presentation and what distance to fish at.

Just about all the anglers started with an initial feed of 20 to 25 balls of river leam and groundbait, the proportion being 3kg of leam to every kilo of groundbait. Many fed corn and sticky maggots on an 8 metre line.

Top-up feed consisted of a mix of chopped worms, corn, river leam and bentonite. Sticky magg was also used with a lot of gravel to get it down on the deck. This year the use of pole cups was less than in previous years, but this small detail of topping-up has been the key to many Iberian Master's. Those who understood their use would obtain a better position in the final classification.

If the top-up feed would become important, then the hook bait would prove equally so. Hook bait would be corn and best of all, worm, as big as the angler had.

Main line rigs were made up of 0.20/0.22mm, with 25-30cm hooklengths of 0.18/0.20mm and large hooks (8 to 12's). Two lines required two different types of floats. Close in required round-bodied models from 2 to 6 grams (and sometimes smaller flat floats). The 13 metre line would see flat floats/lollies between 25-50 grams used. While the closer line rigs would be for running through, the far line needed the bait to be 'nailed' to the deck over the feed area, hence the need for large 'flats'.

It's normal that in an international match of this nature, some sectors will always prove more difficult than others. Because of the quality of anglers attending, there can sometimes be an unbalanced distribution of them in the sectors. Then there was always the added problem created by individual sectors fishing better than others! Even so, it seemed there would be no real easy sectors!

Sector A saw Esteve Martinez, Ubaldo Tejeda, Andrea Fini, Angel Rodriguez, Mario Mateos, Juan A.Rodriguez (Curro), Vicente Quijal and a 'Masters' dual-winner Angel Mendoza, drawn there for the first day. Without doubt, it would be a close and hard fought sector.
Pegs numbers 18 and 19 had been removed from the draw and the organisation placed two 'blocker' anglers in them to avoid any kind of advantage to pegs 17 and 20.

Sector B also had some big-names present... Milo Colombo, Tomas Romera, Anibal Cruz, Jose Calado, Emilio Moya (2007 winner), Fred Chauvot, Roberto Rodriguez, Mario Baptista and Antonio Marques, to name just a few.

Perhaps sector C had the biggest 'guns' present and was therefore looked the toughest. It included the current champion Jacopo Falsini, Frances' Gerard Trinquier and Julien Turpin, England's Brad Titmas, Luis Tamarit (the youngest angler in the match), n A.Gonzalez (Riveri), Hungary's double world champion Tamas Walter and the current Spanish champion Fernando Martin.

At 11 o’clock, the signal marked the begining.

In A sector, Ubaldo Tejeda was running away with the sector using a pole cup to feed sticky corn and worms in leam. He eventually won the sector with 29,300kg, including a carp over 4 kilos. The battle for the second place was won by Angel Mendoza from Juan A.Rodriguez third and the local angler Vicente Quijal in fourth place.
It was unusual that the first few pegs, which had looked the best before the off, hadn't produced good weights.
On sector B, Tomas Romera won with 36.700kg, nearly a clear 12kg in front of Portugal's Anibal Cruz. Frenchman Fred Chauvot finished third, narrowly ahead of Italian 'giant' Milo Colombo.

The last sector was taken by Frances' Gerard Trinquier, beating England's Brad Titmas by just under 3kgs, who in turn beat Gerard's fellow countryman, Denis Gombert, by just over half a kilo! That was the tighest top-three finish of the day with just 3,420kgs separating all three!. Gerard's tactics were a little unusual as he fish with a slider, taking lots of carassins.

The first day's match produced some surprises. Current champion Jacopo Falsini scored only 7 points, while some of the other favourite anglers like Esteve Martinez, Jose Calado, Andrea Fini, Emilio Moya, Angel Rodriguez and Tamas Walter could finish in the top five of their respective sectors. This could make it very difficult for them to gain final victory!

It was raining outside as the day's prize giving took place after dinner, while others relaxed watching on the video summary of the day on the hotel's main TV. The weather forecast for Saturday showed a cold temperature.

SATURDAY – 2nd round
The weather had changed a lot with colder temperatures and rain now being the characteristics of the day.

After the first day, Tomas Romera was on the top of the qualification, but he found himself in a very 'tough' A sector. Gerard Trinquier, Milo Colombo, Julien Turpin, Anibal Cruz, Emilio Moya, Tamas Walter and Roberto Rodriguez were all looking to do well in the sector.

On the sector B were Jacopo Falsini, Brad Titmas, Juan A.Rodriguez, Juan A.Gonzalez, Carlos Sanz (a local angler) and Luis Tamarit, all hoping to make improvements on day one.

The last sector included Antonio Marques, Esteve Martinez, Vicente Quijal, Jose Calado, Angel Mendoza, Fred Chauvot, Ubaldo Tejeda and Mario Baptitsta.

After 5 hours, local angler Emilio Moya, on peg A23, weighed in 30,500kg, alternating between 13 and 8 metre lines. Francico J.Duro on A1 took second place with Julien Turpin third. Gerard Trinquier kept his options open for a final victory by obtaining 4th place, this time fishing with flat floats. Anibal Cruz, caught a carp nearly 6 kilos, which would be the biggest fish during this year's Iberian Master, and got the 5th place. Tomas Romera was still in contention for an overall victory with 7pts, while Milo recorded 8.5pts.

On sector B, Jacopo Falsini started his recovery by winning this round with 34,320kg. The second place was taken by Jose A.Garcia (Chino) and Luis Tamarit took 3rd place. It's worth mentioning that Portugal's Analidio Melrinho broke his pole and had to change all the rigs over to his new top kits, yet still took a 4th place in the sector! Brad Titmas finished with 6 points and would be in the fight for final vitory in the last leg. Spain's previous world champion Juan A.Rodriguez, was effectively eliminated from any ultimate victory because he got 21 points from a bad peg!

C sector saw Frenchman Fred Chauvot, on peg C24, take the sector with 45,500kg, beating Esteve Martinez by a tiny 200 grams!!! Local angler Vicente Quijal recorded 3 points while Portuguese 'legend' Jose Calado finished with 6 points. Day one sector A winner Ubaldo Tejeda, lost all posibility of taking the top prize of 6,000 euros with a poor 13 points from peg 14, in what turned out to be a high scoring sector.
Special appreciation went out to Italy's Andrea Fini who had severe  stomach troubles over the 5 hours, but in spite of this, he caught 21,460kg and would remain in contention for the final days battle.
Well done Andrea... that was some exceptional performance!

After 2 days, Fred Chauvot was lying top with 4 points. Gerard Trinquier was close behind with 5 points while Vicente Quijal and Anibal Cruz tied in fourth place with 7 points. Tomas Romera, Jacopo Falsini, Jose A.Garcia, Julien Turpin and Brad Titmas were all 'snapping' at their heels on 8 points each. One of these anglers would win the 5th Iberian Master's title.

SUNDAY – 3rd and final round
The draw on Friday morning meant that four of them would meet in the sector A on the final day (Fred, Jose, Jacopo and Brad), but other anglers like Pedro Vilela, Luis Tamarit, Juan A.Gonzalez, Analidio Melrinho, Mario Baptista, Antonio Marques and Carlos Sanz would not make it easy for them, because even though they couldn’t win the Iberian Master's, they could at least win some money from the sector. Many were discussing whether Fred could withstand the pressure of fishing a central peg in the sector (A17) where all could keep watch on him, like Jacopo Falsini (A15) and Brad on A12.

On sector B, the highly-experienced French match man, Gerard Trinquier, who is one of his countries finest carp anglers, was placed against Spain's Vicente Quijal and fellow countryman Julien Turpin. In this central sector, all the pegs are very similar because there isn't any end peg advantage. Esteve Martinez, Andrea Fini (now fully recovered from his day two illness), Angel Mendoza, Ubaldo Tejeda and Tamas Walter would not make winning an easy option.

In sector C, Tomas Romera and Anibal Cruz would do their best to win, but neither of them had drawn a particularly good peg.

It would be very difficult to make a prediction on who would win, because if Fred or Gerard didn’t take their respective sectors, this years Master's could be won with 8, 9 or even 10 points (last year it was won with 6 points).

But in angling, predictions are never simple. Jacopo in A sector, started the match catching carp, while Gerard in B sector tried to follow him, demonstrating that when it comes to this type of fishing, he has great quality. Fred Chauvot, looked very nervous and couldn’t match either of them.

Jacopo with his last days catch which sealed victory.Jacopo with his last days catch which sealed victory.Jacopo didn’t waste his oportunity and easily won the sector with 32,420kg followed by Portugal's Pedro Vilela with Spaniard Juan A.Gonzalez third. Fred made 24 points from A17 and missed out on a top ten finish, just like Brad Titmas (A12, 15pts) and Jose A. Garcia (A8) with 14pts. Francisco J.Jimenez (A20) took full advantage to snatch 5pts and finish in the top ten in th place.

Daniele Minorini won sector C from peg C24 with 23,800kg. Milo made 2pts from C6 and finished in a good 5th final place. Angel Rodriguez obtained 3pts, Tomas Romera 9pts and Anibal Cruz 10pts.

Jacopo Falsini or Gerard Trinquier looked the only anglers that could win the Iberian Master. If Gerard won the sector or made just 3 points, he would be the new Iberian Champion.

Andrea Fini won sector B with 30,620kg proving a great compliment to his friend Jacopo. Esteve Martinez took second place on this sector, making a superb recovery from his first two days total of 12pts, to obtain a well-deserved 3th position in the final placings. Massimo Venzalini got the 3th place in the sector, pushing Gerard into 4th place.

The final points total meant that Gerard's final 4pts had given him an overall 9pts for the three days, the same as Jacopo. But the final weight when added up saw that Jacopo Falsini (86,240kg) had won the Iberian Master's for the second year running, with almost 20kg more than Gerard (67,740kg).

Jacopo is presented with his trophy and a 6,000 euro cheque by the Fortaleny officials and Milo Colombo.Jacopo is presented with his trophy and a 6,000 euro cheque by the Fortaleny officials and Milo Colombo.
It looks like Gerard thinks he's holding TWO prizes!!!It looks like Gerard thinks he's holding TWO prizes!!!
Anibal with his well-deserved 3rd place prize.Anibal with his well-deserved 3rd place prize.
After an exciting battle on the final day, the 5th Iberian Master Champion was Jacopo Falsini of Italy. This means that he is now the first angler to win two years running, an incredible feat.

Next year, the River Jucar at Fortaleny will be waiting for and expecting another exciting Iberian Master's... we hope many of you will join us.
Here are all the results in downloadable PDF's:
FULL General Classifications
Individual details
Special charts showing every aspect of the 3 day event.

Here is a special video link for your further enjoyment, which leads on to many others via YouTube:
Jacopo nearly loses it!