Friday's Diary
This morning we awoke to another fine day with no more rain and although the River Savinja was still slightly coloured, more importantly, the raging flow had begun to ease up. Arriving at England’s box 22 just above the town bridge in Radece, we found a river with a lot less colour and less flow than the previous day. The team were now beginning to look at fishing longer lines into deeper water.

The day started well with Downsie driving the van all over the teams joker bait, courtesy of a well-meaning Polish angler who was assisting Mark to fit into a tight space! Those jokers were Steve Sanders pride and joy and I am sure I detected a tear in his eye after the bait had been scraped off the back wheels of the Mark's multipurpose vehicle.
England's motto is now...

Gear by Drennan, Bait by Michelin!

As an interesting note, there are standard measures for all your bait in the international matches. Steve Gardener laid his out so I could show you what the measures are like.

I left England tackling-up and recovering bait from the grassy knoll and made my way downstream to see the French on the deep pegs in box 19, which will be just outside the end of D section at the weekend.
The pegs here are really deep, with 9m plus of water at 11m and the flow comes right in at you from under the main road bridge. The near line is literally at 3-4m in about 2.5m of water. I watched Jean Desque ball in at the beginning of his session at both 5m and 13m but he suffered a very slow start, missing a few bites and catching a few vimba. He did ultimately end up with some quality roach.

Lee was watching the Italians at the start and they were soon into fish, although Falsini forgot to set up a landing net, much to the whole of his teams amusement!!!

With the reduced flow and subsequently reduced colour, all teams were finding it hard on the closer lines which had been productive the day before. Some teams were now finding the long line to be much more productive. Team Germany, in particular, were at the bottom of the deeper water and were right at home fishing in 9 metres of water at 13m with huge flat floats to 20gr.

Walking up through the sections, all the teams were catching, but no one was really catching quickly. One thing that was noticeable was that the size of the fish was generally bigger than on the previous day... but would the end results be bigger weights I wondered?

Talking to Eric Humphries, the Shimano Wales Manager, he explained that his guys had struggled initially but were beginning to get a grip on the venues moods and were looking forward to the event, he reckons they always have at least one good day during the weekend!

The Italians had drawn the next box to their 'B' team, San Marino, and both sets of anglers were catching, but an initial look suggested that the main body in Italy had the edge.

As I stood behind the Italians I noticed a big crowd a few boxes down, they turned out to be watching Czech team member Jan Heindreich playing what turned out to be a 3.8kg bream, which he eventually landed, a fantastic effort on light tackle.

Returning to the Italians, I met up with Lee and Dave and we returned to see how England were doing. The suggestions were that the team had been catching quite slowly at first, but as we arrived behind them they were started to catch really well.

The most noticeable change was the colour now coming into the river. We knew it wasn’t from the Savinja, as Steve Sanders had initially predicted, it was now the main river that was carrying the colour, and this was already colouring up the pegs in E section. This became music to Team Drennan England’s ears and really made the team optimistic for the weekend, because once again, no one could live with their catch rates. They were now beginning to accelerate away from the Belgians in the box above them.

Steve Hemingray seemed to be catching the best, but all the team were catching well, apart from Alan who had been instructed to fish shorter than the rest. This was just to make sure that they didn’t miss a trick as the river coloured up and whilst he was still in front the Belgians, his catch rate was not as good as the guys to his right on the longer poles.

Returning to the centre sections for the end of the session it became apparent that the whole river was now colouring up, but a few good stamp fish were still being picked up. However, once again, Drennan England looked to have dominated practice for consistency, Steve Hemingray topped with 7.5kg and the others all had 3.5kg+ in another excellent display… lets see if they can keep this up over the weekend, The extra colour in the river will mean that they are the obvious favourites in most peoples eyes for top medals. But as always, there are no certainties in the world of international angling.

Stop Press: The England Team has been picked and Darren Cox is reserve for the first day, leaving the team as follows:
Will Raison
Alan Scotthorne
Sean Ashby
Steve Hemingray
Steve Gardener.

We shall be including many of the practice days action and catch shots in slideshow galleries when we return to UK.