Since our last article with Darran Bickerton came out, a lot has happened. Darran is not only still fishing for one of Englands´ best teams –the Kamasan Starlets- and is still one of the best canal anglers, he is now also part of Team England as manager. Together with living legend Mark Downes he travelled to Coruche where the World Championships took place at 6th and 7th of August. We took the chance to speak to the freshly baked World Champion and talked to him about his experience.
CT: Hello Darran, very kind of you taking the time to answer some questions about the World Championships in Coruche. At the beginning of the year I read that you and Mark Downes would be working together and you will become the new U23 National Team coach. Did you see this coming?
DB: Mark first asked me about becoming assistant coach during last years Sensas challenge final in France. It is a very difficult job to run a World championship team on your own and Mark needed help.
We both fish together in the Kamasan Starlets team and we had spoken about the role informally in the past, so yes, you could say I saw this coming.
CT: Let´s start directly with the important questions! Almost nobody can imagine how the work and organization for a national team go on. Can you tell me something about how to get into Team England? How you select your fishermen?
DB: In England we have a selection day so that the anglers with International ambitions can participate in a trial and then 5 anglers are selected to represent their country.
This year 4 of the 5 anglers selected had already fished at International level so they already had a lot of experience.
All of the anglers also fish for top teams domestically so we fish against them on a regular basis.
CT: Portugal isn´t near by. How did you and your team travel? Has there been a limitation of your tackle because of the distance?
DB: For a World Championship you cannot realistically have limitations on the amount of equipment that you take so the anglers had to travel by road, about 2000 km , in 2 different vehicles over a 2 day period ! The management flew to Portugal.
CT: When did you and your team arrive in Portugal? Which tactics did you try out in the practice week and how did they work?
DB: The team arrived 3 or 4 days early to acclimatise to the heat, 45 degrees C on match days and something we are not used to in England.
|Boiling heat and no shadows to escape- the hot sand made it a tough fishing experience.|
I arrived at the weekend, 2 days before official training.
Coruche is a well-used match length and most people already knew about tactics but you never know exactly what species and size of fish are present so that is what we needed to work out.
This year we had the usual barbel but no bleak and a lot of carassio.
CT: In the past, Coruche was well known for two things: the wagglerrod and feeding glued maggots. How important has this been this year? What about the pole?
DB: This year a lot of carrassio were in the venue and the pole played a far more important role than the waggler. We targeted the carrassio with groundbait and glued maggots on the pole and fished waggler with glued maggots for barbel if we couldn`t catch carrassio.
CT: We all have been reading the weight list and have seen that you all did very well at the first day. Please tell us a little bit about your first day as coach. Did you influence the tactics during the match? What kind of instructions did you give during the matches?
DB: We caught more carrassio than other teams because we targeted them with bigger floats and bigger hooks that the small barbel would not look at and only the carrassio would take the hookbait and these were on average bigger than the barbel.
|Big barbel have been rare. Carassio had to be caught!|
The only tactical influences and instructions during the match concerned the feeding, we realized we had to feed a lot heavier during the match as more teams copied us in trying to catch carrassio and we had to feed a lot more to keep the fish.
I had to keep the team calm and focused because we were doing so well.
CT: Any changes for the second matchday?
DB: I did not think we should change anything at the start of the match and the team was not changed from day 1 also! We already had a big lead and did not need to take any risks.
We would see how the match progressed and hopefully continue to all catch carrassio.
3 of the anglers had a perfect match and caught carassio from the start and were in control of their sections all match!
The only change I made during match day 2 was to tell my angler on D section to swap to a waggler match within the first hour because there was no carrassio.
CT: When you heard that you won, has it been a big surprise or have you always been informed how the match went? Looking back, what has been the key for Team England´s success in Portugal?
DB: It was no surprise but I was very proud of the team.
We were in radio contact all day and I knew that England were catching the most fish all championship.
The key to winning was targeting carassio with a heavy mix of Sensas lake, Sensas fine carp and Sensas Terre de Riviere and feeding after every 2 or 3 fish.
CT: Being that successful at the first time coaching the team, will we see you with the “adult Team“- as a fisherman or coach?
DB: It was an unbelievable experience to win a World Championship first time as a coach and I hope to carry on the role for several more years! ... and if I continue to enjoy it then one day for sure I would like to become part of the coaching team for the “adult England team”
CT: Thanks for the interview. All the best for you and your team!