A superb blog from our new veterans world champion - Harry Billing!
"I have just returned from the Czech Republic, where I represented Team England Veterans, fishing on the River Labe near Pardubice in the 9th FIPSed World Championships from 3rd - 4th June 2016.
We were the reigning World Champions both team and individually, and were hoping for a repeat performance. That is why the team decided to go out early and get 2 weeks practice in before the main event.
We practiced off the main match length for the first week and it was solid. We practiced slider, bolo, whip and pole fishing. No matter what we did it worked which gave us a lot of confidence and were hoping for a good result.
It became clear that it was going to be a pole job, fishing 11.5 metres with either 2 to 4 gm running rigs with spread shot, 3 to 8 gm flat floats or 3 to 6 gm bodied floats which were used to just edge the bait through the peg.
I must admit that the first day of official practice didn't go well, and I finished a poor 4th out of 5, not the start I was looking for as we were all fishing for our places. I asked a lot of questions after this session and realised I hadn't quite got the groudbait mix right or the presentation.
The following day I did a lot better and started to gain in confidence. Just small tweaks of either changing the shotting slightly or changing the depth an inch or 2 would make a difference. Especially as the level and flow would change a lot during the day and you had to have a marker in the water to register any changes in level.
After 4 days of official practice the team was announced and I had made the team. I must admit to being very pleased and relieved, as the standard was very high.
Day 1 saw me draw D13, which was one down from the upstream end peg and I had a very experienced Dutch angler on the end. I felt surprisingly calm, which was helped by the calming influence of Joe Roberts, the England manager, who was my bank runner for the day.
I had one of those matches that we all dream about. Everything seem to work, by feeding rock hard balls of Sensas groundbait right on the float every run down, and by swopping rigs when it went quiet, I kept a steady stream of fish going into the net.
I ended the match with over 32kgs, which was good enough to win the section but also the whole match length. I was ecstatic, especially when we heard that the team had done great, only dropping 2 points. We were 3 points in front of the Hungarians, but it was all to play for the next day.
Day 2 saw me on A12, which meant that I to beat the down stream end peg. A very good French angler had drawn that, together with the Italian and the Hungarian on better pegs than me, it was looking to be a damage limitation day.
I had a bad start and was only catching small fish. But by continually feeding hard balls of Sensas groundbait , changing rigs and changing hook bait, I started to catch odd better fish. At the end I had over 28kg, which again won the section and won the whole match length. I was especially pleased to hear that the team had done well again, only dropping 2 points again.
We were all delighted to find out that the team had retained the title and had won. I was pleased to win individual gold and Mark Downes had won the bronze. We also had 4th and 5th place overall with Danny and Steve doing brilliantly
I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my team mates and the helpers. Especially the following people who all helped to sort out the tactics and the groundbait mix
Joe Roberts (Manager), Mark Downes, Steve Sanders,Danny Sixsmith, Roger Marlow, Martin Halford, Kevin Folwell and Dicky Carr (Helpers)"
Overall top 6 Team Results;
Gold medal - England 12 points 196.008 kg
Silver medal - France 29 points 146.935 kg
Bronze medal - Hungary 30 points 162.359 kg
4th Italy 36 points 140.942 kg
5th Netherlands 37 points 133.343 kg
6th Czech Republic 60.5 points 98.574 kg
Overall top 6 Individual Results;
Gold medal - Harry Billing, England 2 points 60.720 kg
Silver medal - Gabor Timar, Hungary 2 points 53.220 kg
Bronze medal - Mark Downes, England 2 points 46.246 kg
4th Danny Sixsmith, England 4 points 46.044 kg
5th Steve Sanders, England 4 points 42.998 kg
6th Francois Bergault, France 4 points 38.138kg