The event, in which England finished in tenth position, saw teams plagued by small, sub 1.5kg carp which weren’t elidgible to count under the organisation’s rules. One of England’s pairings caught over 30 carp in total, and not one of them counted. In his blog on the Korda website, Ali Hamidi explained:
“As we passed the 48-hour mark, England were catching extremely consistently, more so than other anglers in sections B and C, yet only one carp had weighed in for us from something like 30-odd fish in sector B. After probably the same amount of carp in sector C we had yet to catch a single carp that weighed over 1.5kg in that sector. However, in the whole of sector C only three to four teams had been lucky enough to weigh a fish in. Even though we were catching more than most, we hadn’t shared the same luck size-wise. Quite simply this lake didn’t have enough fish over the 1.5kg to benefit the most technical and those that caught the most. It was becoming more a case of those who fished more out of hope than design that would get bonus weighing fish, whilst the efficient English remained frustrated with a procession of pasties under the 1.5kg! Sector A was producing the most fish, as everyone knew it would, but here we had drawn a very shallow swim, and even though we were getting constant action only one fish had weighed in over 48 hours.
“As the match progressed, it was clear that the home nation would make local knowledge count, but we still hung on in hope that our luck would change and a procession of weighing carp would reward us for our constant bites in all sections. After all we were using all the same methods, and baits that had managed to single out the larger, 1.6kg specimens in practice (no sarcasm, honestly)! However, Kazakhstan who were next door to Kia Sanger and Jack Stamp in sector B, went from having some 20 odd fish that didn’t weigh to having a procession of weighing carp without changing any methods! It was clear that this venue was more pot luck than skill, not what you want at the biggest carp competition on the global scale and the official World Carp Championships!
“With the scoring system being on points, the lack of weighable carp in the whole match meant England were still in with a chance of medals going into the final night. Basically, the match is broken into three sections as explained. There was one pair from each of the 20 competing nations in each sector. The higher you finished in your section, the lower the points you got, so first place gets you one point, second gets you two points, third gets you three points and so on. Basically, the team with the lowest points across three sections wins! Three is a perfect score. However, due to the ‘luck factor’ involved in this match and the lack of weighable fish, this match was fast becoming a lottery, as to where a shoal containing slightly larger carp arrived, rather than a match contested by those who caught the most carp! Now I’m no genius, but surely a carp match should be contested by those who catch the most? Of course, you always catch the odd big fish, but when the final hooter went on Saturday, September 28th Billy Flowers and Jamie Londors in Sector C had caught over 60 carp, but unbelievably not one carp in 60 weighed over 1.5kg. Please, can someone on God’s green earth justify to me how a match could be held on a venue where one pair can catch over 60 carp using big-carp methods and not weigh one fish over the minimum limit SET BY THE GOVERNING BODY WHO PICK THE VENUE! 100 per cent of the fish they caught DIDN’T COUNT!
“The final hooter signaled a respectable 10th place for England, but even if we’d come 1st, 10th or 20th it wouldn’t have changed the fact that this was atrocious venue selection by FIPSed. I was able to meet Mr Matteoli, the president of FIPSed, on Saturday morning before the end of the match and I challenged him as to how he has allowed a match on there. His response was, “Well Portugal wanted the competition and this was the only venue they had.” My response was simple, “Ethiopia might want to host the Olympics but it doesn’t mean they can!” FIPSed’s own regulations state that a lake must hold a significant proportion of 4kg fish! Throughout this whole match only one 4kg fish was landed. This won the biggest fish competition. There was the odd 3kg fish in the thousands of carp that were caught. Doing some basic maths, England probably caught more than 200 carp amongst their three pairs, with ONLY 10 over the 1.5kg limit. That is 95 per cent of their fish NOT COUNTING!
“This is not sour grapes as I’m taking nothing away from Portugal, Croatia and Kazakhstan who came first, second and third. They fished their hearts out and were all in the same boat as England. But this was much more a match about hoping, than fishing your way to victory. I suspect that no matter what the circumstances, Portugal would have always finished on the podium, but certainly the other two places would have been contested more seriously by the likes of the mighty South Africa who, due to the horrendous venue selection, came LAST! Of course if the match were contested on numbers of fish caught we would have been majorly in the running for medals.
“Not only did FIPSed choose an unsuitable venue in accepting Portugal’s offer in hosting the event, they then failed to research the venue diligently enough to at least logically reduce the minimum limit to 1kg or 1.2kg to at least ensure the match was fair and could be contested by the most efficient and effective carp catchers, rather than those that basically used methods to hang out for the odd larger carp. It goes against everything that a ‘skill’ competition stands for. No matter how much technical ability you had, no matter how hard you worked, you needed lashings of luck.
“So many nations travelled thousands of miles, the cost of competing in this competition as an amateur event is huge! If you think we had spent a lot, South Africa, four-time World Champions, and the kings at this type of fishing don’t have a sponsor, yet had spent £80,000 of their own money to attend this event! Somebody must take responsibility for this monumental venue mistake. Romania 2012 was a fabulous spectacle as an event, but with the bait saga, so everyone was hoping that Portugal would be back to business. However, not only did the event lack any sparkle to show that angling is putting itself on a more professional platform; it also stunk of a severe lack of preparation. Even the national anthems at the opening ceremony weren’t all sorted.
“If FIPSed want to lose the trust of sponsors, supporting nations competing in this competition, and nations funding themselves out of their own pockets, they only need to keep walking down this path. Hearing the comments of captains and managers of different nations, FIPSed risk reducing the success of this event due to the last two years. Why enter events when you have no guarantee that the venue has been researched properly and you can be confident of a level playing field?
“After two years of sponsoring the England Team, we have been unfortunate that it has coincided with two extremely frustrating years. Portugal 2013 has not only reduced the kudos of this event, it has also severely reduced the desire of nations to enter this event in the future.
“Maybe now FIPSed will consider their venue choice more seriously and only consider nations when they are guaranteed adequate stock size, stock amount and suitable venue preparation.
“It’s a shame that this report had to take this tone, but being an angler, and witnessing what I saw, I realised that something has to be done now to ensure this event doesn’t become the laughing stock of the carp community, when it should be the event that youngsters dream of competing in. Not only was this lake totally unsuitable for a size of this magnitude, I felt the overall event was run like not much more than a ‘spit and sawdust’ club match! This event had been run on a shoestring budget and had the appearance of not much more than a club match on a larger scale! After the razmatazz of Romania last year, when the country spent a huge amount to make the event look amazing, this year was like taking a plunge back into the 1960s.
“FIPSed must now be more hands-on with the venue, and proposals of how the event will be run, promoted and delivered. This needs to be remedied from today, to ensure we never see another World Carp Fishing Championships like Portugal 2013. Otherwise you will see nations dropping out.”
To read Ali’s complete blog, click here!