So, everyone must of heard about the result by now, I know thousands did on our website, due to a silly technical mistake by myself!!! But what caused the obvious teams to fail, and the less obvious to succeed? Were England simply too dominant, or others not positive enough. Could it have been just a case of bad luck for some and too much luck for others?

Unlike other events, this year saw a fundamental change which caused at least two major teams, possibly more, fall victim to a poor showing. But, what dramatic change could have caused such downfalls? In simplistic terms it clearly started with the last minute switch from Lake Vicario to Merida. This may have placed a heavy emphasis on some national teams inability to alter their selected personnel. The biggest victim to fall prey to this particular issue must surely be France, and this we'll cover in greater detail later with a full overview of the French structure by David Ewing. Another factor could well have been the species... carp and carassio. Unfamiliar to numerous nations, but not those from the UK, Italy and Iberia.

Belgian Guido Nullens nets a carp during one of the Thursday practice sessions. The Belgian team looked strong for most of the week and must have fancied their chances of a podium finish.Belgian Guido Nullens nets a carp during one of the Thursday practice sessions. The Belgian team looked strong for most of the week and must have fancied their chances of a podium finish.
The French team prepare for Thursdays practice in what would be E section.The French team prepare for Thursdays practice in what would be E section.Obvious, or not, that is the question!

Those teams with obvious claims were Belgium, who looked strong during practice, while France opted for the more comfortable and familiar approach in which they excel... catching small fish. And then we have the two home nations... Spain and Portugal, They must be so familiar with the venue, it's inconceivable that they failed to make any impact at all! Of course there are others who fall into this category, Russia, South Africa (was my tip for a good 2010 placing after their strong showing in Holland last year) and not forgetting the 2009 World Champions, Slovakia. We'll cover these main teams in Part Two.

But while they may have surprised us all, it was other less well-thought about teams which came good in Merida. Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Finland and to some extent Germany. All these teams would normally have offered a blood sacrifice to gain a top ten position. But there are other teams who, on paper, have surely out-performed there own expectations... Why?

The following does not offer consoling excuses or even undeserved praise, we simply try to view it from a different perspective with the help from some more informative insiders. We have overviews from Finland, Ireland, Spain, Belgium and of course the French, as well as looking at England.

Next to their 7th team placing in 2005 on home soil, this years 8th place was an eye-opener, considering the talent they faced in Spain. MA Plus and Finnish team member Jouni Lillman explains what he believes contributed to his country's ultimate position:

How Team Finland managed to jump into the top ten
by Jouni Lillman, Finnish team member
Once we were informed of the venue change from Ciudad Real to Merida, we quickly began to find out as much information about the venue as possible, the same as many other teams. What kind of fish where present, rigs, baits, groundbait to use, etc. I also visited the venue myself, one month before the WC to see the Colmic Cup competition. There were many international teams present like Italy, Belgium, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain, along with many local teams. I have also fished the World Club Championships there in 1992, so had some basic information already.

During my time there I realised that carp and carassio will play big role during the WC. Even during this time, there were just a few bleak and catfish around, but we knew that in some WC sectors, bleak and catfish would be important. When I was back home we made our bait and groundbait orders.

As has happened many times before, our team have lost the first few practice days by testing rigs, elastics, groundbait etc. Now, we were better prepared before the practice sessions. Of course we found new things out during the week, but the basic idea was clear.

Our tactic was first to catch bleak during first hour, or longer, while following what was happening in each sector. Once carassio's and carp started to show, we also moved onto the 13m pole or slider line, depending on where we were. We tried to catch catfish regularly before the carp arrived. We had calculated that one catfish weighed the equivalent of two bleak, therefore 20 catfish was an easier target than trying to keep up with quicker teams who were catching 40+ bleak an hour!

Finland's Pekka Rintamaa had to play 'in-out' before he could get this 11kg catch weighed!Finland's Pekka Rintamaa had to play 'in-out' before he could get this 11kg catch weighed!Saturday's match we had Pekka Rintamaa on end peg B1 and he won his sector with over 11kg. Marko Ekroth also had a good day, finishing second in sector C10 with 7.405kgs, just over half a kilo off the winner, Ian Hughes of Wales. With a total of 35 points after the first day, we found ourselves in 10th position. Sunday also produced some goods results. Seppo Pönni was second and I managed a 6th. Another consistent performance all-round saw us record 37pts, giving us a maximum 72pts, good enough for one of our best finishes in 8th. This was good result for our team on this kind of venue because fish such as carp, carassio, barbel, catfish don´t swim in Finland, therefore it´s impossible to practice for them beforehand!

Finland's Rigs and Bait
Mainline: 0.20 or 0.18mm and hooklengths of 0.18 or 0.16mm.
Hooks: Milo Serie AS size 16 to 12's.
Floats: Milo Oxon 4x16 to 2 gram.
Baits: 1.75 litres sticky maggot, 0.25 litres joker and 0.5 litres of worms.
Groundbait: 2kg Sensas Super Fond, 2kg Sensas Carp Fine, 0.5kg TTX Mais, one bottle of Sensas Aromix Carp

Editors Note: Finland's approach was similar that of England. They knew that the carrasio/carassins and carp held the all-important balance of power, but recognised the need to keep putting fish in the net early on, while they waited for them to turn up. It was also an important decision to realise that catfish were superior in weight to bleak, something many teams fell down on!

It's not often the Irish have something to smile about in world angling. Memorable moments include the irrepressible Bobby Smithers winning individual gold in 1984, Willy Wheeler taking silver at Spinadesco in 2008 and this year Cathal Hughes followed them both by winning another individual silver. But can these truly be deemed as memorable as finishing fourth in the team points this year? I know it may not seem so when compared to the exploits of those three individuals, but the world champs is really about the team, isn't it?

For Ireland, even more than their previous fourth place at Coruche in 1993, this year must rank as one of their finest, because to finish behind England, Italy and Holland, with teams of such a high standard as Belgium, France, Spain, Hungary etc., finishing behind them, points out the real reason for Ireland to smile... it was a complete team effort. Bob Hulme takes us through…

Irish eyes definitely smiling!
By Bob Hulme, Irish team captain
There are several reasons why I felt we did well this year. We had arrived in Merida for a few days of extra fishing prior to practice week and although the we were off the match length, which was a little different, it did help us to acclimatise to the surroundings... essentially the crazy heat and fish!

We had originally been led to believe that you needed lightish elastics (i.e. blue/white Hydro) with small hooks (16 and 18's). The rigs were suppose to be light rigs with the shot spread out, and quite a way from the hook. We also expected it to be mainly stickymag fishing, however, during this early  acclimatisation, we found that our carp and carrasio/carassins 'target' fish loved worms and joker. In fact, we found that too much stickymag brought in catfish and bleak. It was also apparent that the big fish could turn up at any time during the session. During this period we also established that you could fish with heavier, more positive rigs, hooks, line and elastics, like black and grey Hydro!

Once the official practice week started, we found this trend followed a similar pattern. Typically, the six of us would start fishing and then two of us would catch big fish early into the allotted three hours, so we thought it imperative to fish for them for the full three hours and ignore the bleak. We didn't pretend that we could match any of the top teams at catching bleak and felt that there were enough big fish in the river to give us a fighting chance.

Over the practice week we found it was best to use the pole cup when topping-up, having first picked out a far bank marker so we knew exactly where our 'gear' would land. We also felt that with the possibility of bigger fish turning up late, if we used stickymag, it was likely to dissolve sooner and spread the feed area more, so we decided that casters would be a better option. Even though the groundbait limit was 17 litres, we settled on using just three bags, two of Carp Fine Mouture and one of Gallia as we would not be balling-in. Hookbaits would be 2/3 pieces of worms with 1 or 2 white maggots on a size 12 hook to an 0.16mm hooklength. Main line would be 0.18mm.

Cathal Hughes' score of 3 points and a combined weight of 24,680kgs gave him the edge over Bulgarian Rumen Vitkov and secured the silver medal.Cathal Hughes' score of 3 points and a combined weight of 24,680kgs gave him the edge over Bulgarian Rumen Vitkov and secured the silver medal.We felt really confident going into the first day because other teams had sent people to 'spy' on us! Even so, we knew though that there was no guarantee it would work over five pegs, but still felt that we could carry one bad result. Unfortunately for me, on the first day I was that bad result, up in D section with just 13pts. Although I was obviously very disappointed, this was a two day team event first and foremost, so I strapped on my trainers and ran the bank on Sunday for Cathal Hughes.

Before we left Ireland, we'd have been very happy with a top 10 finish, but to come fourth was just unbelievable, as was Cathal's thoroughly deserved silver medal!

Looking back, I believe the main reasons we did well were... we kept it simple... worked well together all week... the few extra days... and last but not least, the guidance of our manager Dick Caplice. He kept everything running smoothly, nothing was too much trouble for him, yet he left us all to formulate a plan between ourselves. It proved a brilliant trip for us all. Congratulations must go to Team England, Italy and Holland. These top teams are on another level, so it was great to get as close to them as we did.

It's a triple thumbs up from the jubilant Irish lads... Cathal, Bob and manager DickIt's a triple thumbs up from the jubilant Irish lads... Cathal, Bob and manager DickEditors Note: The Irish formulated a plan around catching big fish, something which Paco highlights in his overview of how Spain and Portugal approached the event in Part Two. But in this case, the Irish seemed to have taken the unusual step of not using the accepted stickymag top-up approach for the carp, but rather caster and worm in groundbait, as they felt stickymag would dissolve and disperse over a greater feeding zone. This, in effect, could take any individual, or small groups of carp and carassio's, away from their hookbaits. The accurate use of pole cups during and after pre-baiting was unusual and against the current trends, but once more allowed them to keep their top-up feed of caster and groundbait in a tight zone. It all seemed to work perfectly... who said the Irish were lucky!

The Scots seem to be gaining ground in WC rankings and would have been closer to the podium had they not had a mediocre day two. They proved that they had the capability, with an exceptional team display on the first day. Their talismatic Jamie Masson would not be out of place in any nations' side, as he once more showed his individual prowess with a 5th individual spot to follow last years 6th in Holland. How long before he takes the podium I wonder? Brian Clark also showed his consistency with a 3 pointer each day, to put him in the top ten and Davie Concoran took yet another WC section.

The Scots lads were all smiles (almost!) after the opening ceremony. They would have been grinning even more after their superb first days performance!The Scots lads were all smiles (almost!) after the opening ceremony. They would have been grinning even more after their superb first days performance!Luck... what luck!
by Gus Brindle, Team Scotland
Too be honest, I don't suppose we had any more, or less luck than others. We prefer to view our 2010 campaign as just hard work from a group of talented anglers with a well organised systematic approach and a strong team ethic.

Unfortunately, the Scots don't benefit from the high levels of funding available to teams such as England, Italy and this year Ireland, so cannot afford to spend an additional week practising on the venue, albeit off the match length. We therefore have to rely on gathering as much information as possible before arrival, and then utilising the NINE official practice sessions to maximum effect.

For this reason we have a fairly regimented approach to practice and always have at least two individuals trying each method, during each session. In the early part of the week we work to rule things out... as much as identify the winning tactics. After each of the morning sessions we weigh in and then the anglers talk through what they did, what they felt worked and what didn't. As the week progresses we begin to formulate tactics for the weekend.

The afternoon practice sessions are more about consolidation and allowing the anglers to sort things out, ready for the following day. This year however, with more and more carp coming onto the feed, not only in the afternoons but day-by-day, the afternoon sessions offered a unique opportunity to sort out the best hooks and elastics to stop their initial runs and land them as quickly as possible. We therefore ended up using the full afternoon sessions for these reasons. During these sessions we were also able to begin to work out exactly how much you could get away with feeding, in order to keep the fish coming into the peg one at a time, which hopefully avoids foul hooking them!

At the moment we have a very young and fairly attack-minded squad and this venue really suited us, especially as more and more carp started to show. Jamie Masson is an excellent angler and I am sure that many people would believe and expect him to dominate team meetings, but I can assure everyone that isn't the case. While Jamie brings a wealth of experience from his commercial carp fishing, as well as from his participation within the 'crack' northern side Maver Barnsley (also Alan Scotthorne's team), he's proven to be an excellent squad member and along with everyone else, contributes fully.

'Wee' Davie Concoran with his section winning 13.155kgs on day one. Davie led Scotland's charge for podium honours as the team finished with an outstanding 23pts... just 2pts off day one leaders England.'Wee' Davie Concoran with his section winning 13.155kgs on day one. Davie led Scotland's charge for podium honours as the team finished with an outstanding 23pts... just 2pts off day one leaders England.By the end of the final days practice, the whole squad was extremely confident that we had really sorted out the feeding and tactics, to maximise the chances of getting an early carp, keep catfish coming throughout the match and then to catch carp late and land them quickly. David Corcoran confirmed this by landing a 2kg carp and then two large carassio in the final 3 minutes of the first day to secure his section win in A section. Chris Paton and I then had that difficult decision to make regarding who to leave out, eventually deciding when we drove up to the captains meeting to do the section draw.

In essence our plan was to ball in 8 to 10 balls with the 'dolly-butt' off, then cup in 2 rich balls containing sweetcorn and 2 of stickymag at full length. We then fed a bleak line at 6 metres. The idea was to have one quick look for bleak short, then go straight on the long line to see if we could catch an early carp. The reason for trying bleak first was to identify if they were already there, thereby allowing each angler to decide how long they stayed longing for carp. If they did catch an early carp, there was of course little point in coming back for the bleak... and many of the lads did just that. After the first half hour it was a case of topping-up properly, to keep fish coming. We found that feeding a small ball of stickymag and a small ball of groundbait after every carp or carassio, (but not after catfish) worked best. As the match went on we cut-back on the amount of worm we introduced and increased the amount of corn, as this seemed to attract and hold the carp better. Best hook bait for the first two hours was either double white maggot or sections of dendrabena, but in the last hour, and particularly the last 30 minutes, corn on the hook sometimes produced a carp, even when the peg seemed devoid of fish.

Jamie Masson's section winning 18.860kgs (and day two's highest weight). Jamie actually recorded the heaviest combined weight over the two day event with 28.220kgs, but only finished in 5th individual position.Jamie Masson's section winning 18.860kgs (and day two's highest weight). Jamie actually recorded the heaviest combined weight over the two day event with 28.220kgs, but only finished in 5th individual position.After day one, the focus of the squad was totally on section winner Davie Corcoran, as he confirmed that the team tactics, previously worked out, had been spot on in A section. He described how and when he had increased the feeding to stay ahead of Alan Scotthorne, information that I'm sure was invaluable to Jamie Masson on day two, as he dominated the same section to comfortably win the section and day's match overall.

As Saturday's results showed, we were sitting in a silver medal position, just 2 points behind England, and our positive approach had worked in all but E section, where Ewan Weed had unfortunately hooked a late carp but failed to land it before the final whistle. At the team meeting that evening there was a great deal of discussion regarding slight adjustments to the tactics, especially as we knew that many more teams would be fishing more positively on day two. There were also dark clouds gathering above and we had been warned that if there was heavy rain, the carp may not show in the numbers they had been, and that bleak could dominate. However, as the threatening thunder storm failed to materialise, the team grew confident that the same plan would afford us the best opportunity of a podium finish, after all, we weren't going to win anything trying to target bleak!

So what happened on Sunday? Well, it's always easy to make excuses and on paper, looking at results from the previous day, we didn't draw particularly well on the final day. But I always feel that it's a bit of a lame excuse to lean on, after all, fish DO SWIM and who knows how the guy on the peg the day before fished it! In hindsight, I think that Chris and I should have paid more attention to the problems that Ewan Weed had experienced in E section. On day two 'Big' Davie Corcoran, having won his section on day one, found himself at the wrong end of E section and despite fishing a good match and sticking to the plan, the carp never showed up. Colin McKerrel, who replaced the unlucky Ewan Weed, drew the far end of D section and had a very similar day, loosing the only carp he hooked. If we could go back and do the second day again I think that we should have kept feeding the chopped worm long and then concentrated on catching as many catfish from D and E sections as possible, then perhaps we would come home with some silverware... but we'll never know!

At the end of the Championships, 5th place is an outstanding result for us and with two individuals finishing in the top ten, I am sure it won't be long before we get that elusive team medal. The squad is young, has good strength in depth and there is a batch of talent emerging that will be pushing for places in the coming years.

Editors Note: To see ALL of the UK and Ireland's teams occupying places within the top six, ON BOTH DAYS, was something very special, it's not often an event like this happens. One thing's clear from both Irish and Scottish approaches... they relied heavily on the carp and carassio's moving in, something many teams did, but failed to capitalise on. So what made them more successful than others. Reading both accounts, it seems that their confident feeding strategy, although somewhat different, played a heavy part in each teams successful campaign, a clear sign to others in the future. It may also be that because carp were the main target species for good points, both these teams, as well as Wales and England, had an immense depth of knowledge about them, due to the commercial fishing structure in the UK. Even so, there is always an element of luck present where carp are involved, but feeding and a focus on when to apply it, undoubtedly contributed to the Scots great showing. The luck factor was minimal and probably touched every team in the Championships at one time or another!

The above are not the only teams who have exceeded expectations. Both Wales and Germany finished within the top ten. Wales, like Scotland, saw day two get the better of them, but they still managed to hold on to a respectable position. Like the UK's other 'Celtic' sides, if they can develop a more consistent performance over two days, rather than just one, then entry into the top ten will undoubtedly become, once more, a welcome and regular occurrence. Wales actually won team gold in 1989 on the Plovdiv Canal in Bulgaria. They have also graced the podium on three other occasions in their history, 1970 (silver), 1974 and 1981 (bronze).

If Germany fished like they played football, then we would all be in trouble. Thankfully for us, they are still a little way off, but I know they are re-structuring their system to give themselves more strength in depth for future events. You also have to bear in mind that unlike the UK nations, Germany has little knowledge of the carp family, so their final 9th position was highly commendable and in some way testament to their future potential. Marco Beck showed that they have the individual talent, with a superb showing on day one, setting up the possible scenario of a German individual champion... something not seen since the great Wolf-Rudiger Kremkus took double gold in 1980 and 1983.

Part Two features three teams who surprised everyone, not least themselves, with a poor showing and we'll also look at England's approach leading up to, and during the Championships, in a separate feature later. See Steve Gardener's video interviews about that and other past team successes in Englands Golden Hero.