European Species Championship (Flatfish) Helsingor Denmark, Oct 23rd -24th 2015.
Fourteen anglers from EFSA England had decided to travel to Denmark to compete in this year’s species event many of whom had competed in the European boat and line event held at the same venue back in 2013.
We left England at around 10am hoping that the rain wouldn’t follow us, the flight time is only about 1 hour and forty minutes so we landed shortly before midday, baggage collected then of to purchase the train tickets for the 55 minute journey from Copenhagen airport. We decided that the best option would be to purchase a group ticket from the ticket office however this was not possible (still do not know why) so we were now reliant on self-service ticket machines, the attendant assisted Matt on the options required so 14 adult tickets at 108 Danish kroner each all relatively simple until 1300 DK was fed into the machine, this was more than it could handle and the computer said “No” and froze, the attendant made a phone call to find out what we could do next the advice was to cancel the transaction = great call as the machine then decided to keep all the money! Now you would think in this day of modern technology the funds inserted could be transferred to allow us to complete the purchase of said 14 tickets but no Matt then had to fill in a form to reclaim the lost funds and wait for 2 weeks for the reimbursement to reach his account. The assistant then helped us purchase family tickets at 75 DK per person (two at a time) by now we had missed 2 trains we did however receive a voucher for a free coffee each!
We had just missed a train by around 2 minutes so had to wait a further 20 for the next one still we were 1st in line, as we waited the platform filled when the train arrived the locals dashed to the entrances and the seats, we ended up spread across 2 carriages one of which turned out to be the pram and cycle store, the commuters did not seem amused that we had made use of the fold down seats as apparently these are only for show, one young lady managed to occupy a total of 4 seats one for herself and 3 for her pushbike! Another actually asked people to vacate their seats so that she could store her pushchair, we thought she was going to stay with it but no the baby was removed and she headed off to find a seat in another section of the carriage.
We arrived in Helsingor mid-afternoon and proceeded to the hotel which is located a minute away from the train station, once checked in it was off to the tackle shop a compulsory activity for a new venue, we walked the 10 minutes to the shop only to find its closed on Wednesdays so plan B was put into operation (plan Bar that is) a few beers then led to an Italian meal.
As most of us had rigs tied and bags packed for the day’s practice it was a swift continental style breakfast followed by a 10 minute walk to the boat. Now we know that the boats are large compared to the type we are used to but there were already 20 odd persons on-board, they struggled to find space for all of us, the Danish had a film crew on board to video there anglers which added to the congestion. With 17 anglers down each side it resembled the Admiralty pier when the mackerel are around! there was also the added bonus of force 5 wind and rain for the day.
The local rigs were pretty similar to the ones that we had tied with just slight variations on the colour of the attractors, pearlescent and yellow seemed to be the favoured colours. We all managed to catch the 3 main species (Plaice flounder and Dab) as well as the odd gurnard, cod, whiting and coal fish.
A change in the weather meant that we had a change of marks from the practice day with force 7 winds the boats sort shelter from the land, this would reduce the amount of plaice caught but increase the catches of dabs and flounder. The inline pirk rigs were pretty consistent with just about every angler using them, 2 down rigs just seem to tangle up possibly due to the lack of tide, the only other rig that I saw was a spreader this proved quite effective for the dabs.
Yellow pirks, beads, tubing, grubs and blades were the most popular with combinations of them used by most of the local anglers, it was quickly apparent that the Danish and Swedish had perfected this style of fishing, we would need a month of practice to enable us to compete against them.
Billy Cann was the top English rod with me finishing the day at 35th; the remaining English were spread across the field.
We had a brief team meeting to discuss the tackle and techniques that we had witnessed this was followed by the usual tweaks to the rigs mainly adding anything yellow that could be found.
The wind had eased which allowed the deeper water and plaice to come back into play, it is worth bearing in mind that you need to be rigged up and baited ready to fish within 10minutes of leaving the harbour as you are quickly on the fishing grounds.
The day followed a similar pattern to the 1st one with the local rods straight into scoring fish, despite having nearly identical rigs they were still managing to catch 2/3 fish to our 1, I had a 16 year old Swedish lad next to me who has fished these waters with his family for the best part of 10 years and a Danish man the other side who has his own boat, both used similar techniques to each other.
It appears that when the drift is in your favour let out line then retrieve by using a sink and draw methods, when the drift is against you hold the lead just off the bottom and either lift and lower or sway the rod from side to side both worked well for the dab and flounders.
The winning angler had 111 fish over the 2 days with a day 2 score of 200 points, the average fish total per angler was around 45 with over 3600 scoring fish caught between the 80 anglers. Billy Cann remained the best English angler finishing 19th overall.
England results; 19th Billy Cann, Nigel Hearn 35, Paul Hart 39, Martin Bobbett 40, Matt Osborne 49, Cliff Newbold 51, Ray Barron 53, Ken Smith 56, Neil Cottington 59, Richard Russell 60, Kim Bowden 61, Mike Smith 69, Dave Smith 73 and Dave Clark 77.
Somehow Matt, Nigel and Richard managed to be in the winning executive team so at least we managed to get on the stage and collect some medals and prizes.
Report by Martin Bobbett
Results EFSA European Species Championship