Packed, like Dorking, with high-class internationals such as previous world champ Jacopo Falsini, the 2011 world champion Andrea Fini and Italy’s manager Rudy Frigeri, the Pol. Oltrarno Colmic team swept all aside on their way to an emphatic victory. Unfortunately Dorking’s woes were compounded by several misfortunes, which became insurmountable over the two days of competition.

The preceding days practice sessions had looked good on paper for Dorking, with the team posting some excellent results. But a change in the conditions late Friday threw one of the teams major plans out the window… that of fishing for carp. Unbeknown to many, including the Portuguese team, cold water had been allowed to enter the River Raia in order to create a better flow, but all it did was clear the river of any semblance of colour and bring on the BLEAK!

Now, as many will be aware, bleak are not one of an English anglers favourite or, indeed, day-to-day catchable species, and this was to prove the first of several knock-backs for Dorking. That’s not to say that our guys are ‘muppets’ when it comes to catching these ‘silver darts’, far from it. But as the Italians, French and San Marino guys proved, there’s nothing like a fully developed bleak-technique, honed over many decades of fishing for them, to sort out the placings! And it showed in the first days’ result, as the Italian side dominated with what looked to be an unassailable lead. Only the San Marino and French sides came close. Dorking on the other hand salvaged what best they could from the day with solid fourth place. What proved an interesting slant between the Italian and French team tactics were their different approaches to catching bleak. The Italians opted for a more traditional bleak attack in clear conditions with maggot fished on longer lines, while the French ‘balled’ it and fished on the bottom with bloodworm. What this showed was while the Italians caught around 70 bleak to the kilo, the French took a better stamp of fish and registered nearer 50 to the kilo. Perhaps their thinking was that with a bait on the bottom, other larger species may arrive and boost their catch!

The only blot on an otherwise excellent performance from the French, was an 18 and 12 points score respectively on each of the two days. In fact they were the only side to post more than one section winner on any day… they managed THREE on the first day! Perhaps testament to their national ability of targetting smaller species?

Day two saw the English side consolidate with a consistent return and improve their position, as much due to the fall of the San Marino team from the top five, as anything else. A bronze was not what Dorking had hoped for, or came for, but to come away with a minor medal was still an achievement, in what proved to be a most technical match, for a species they are generally unfamiliar with. When it comes to the feeding and technique of bleak fishing, it showed just how much UK sides lag behind the countries of Italy and France, when it comes to the application and technique of bleak fishing. Maybe if we had a greater appetite for barbequing these ‘silver darts’, we might learn how to catch more of them!!!

Isn’t it about time we got things together and sorted out a suitable venue in England, where we could hold an international? You can’t convince me that this is unachievable…surely!

Unfortunately we have no pictures available, but here are the full results sheets, containing all the sections and each teams position for both days…