Fishing: Ewan Roberts gearing up for carp world championships challenge
Ewan Roberts is gearing up for the challenge of the carp world championships in Hungary next month (September) and the six-man squad have completed their final preparation.
Anglers, plus team manager, Kevin McConnell, will drive to the venue across Europe, expected to take 29 hours, and self-employed Roberts, from Uphall Station, will be paired with David Hearns from Uddingston in the 72-hour event.
It is the first time that the pair have fished together, but they know each other well as 58-year-old Roberts has been a member of the squad for four years after noting an advert on social media and performing well in two trials.
Also confirmed in the team are Alister Kirkhope from Hamilton, John Sweetland from near Sanquhar, Steve Warwick from Cumbria and Keith Findlay who is currently living in Catterick.
The team finished 16th on their debut in the event in South Africa out of 34 entrants three years ago. Roberts did not fish in that one and Scotland are aiming for a top ten finish.
The West Lothian-based angler, who runs a signwriting and manufacturing firm Fleet Grafix UK at Loanhead, is cramming work in now as he will have bills to pay and no income for the two weeks he is away.
Long-distance casting is a must at the Hungarian venue created by flooding a valley. The original river bed, which the fish use as a channel, is around 160 yards from the bank, so accuracy of casting and ground baiting is a must,
That is why they have been working on their technique at big waters like Castle Loch at Lochmaben, four miles from Lockerbie, and the home of the Scottish carp record of over 46lbs, and at the Linear Tar Farm complex (Lake 4) near Oxford.Edinburgh-born Roberts, who was brought up in Juniper Green and used to fish the Water of Leith for trout with his father as a youngster, said that many of the other nations will know the water as it was used as the world championship venue in 2017.
Experts say the key is swim building as there are lots of other species, including bream and tench, which could wreck a peg, and the Scots will have to think on their feet during the event.
The experienced angler, who is a grandfather, said: "This will be a physical challenge as long-distance casting is involved. It will not be sitting back in a chair with a fag and taking in the sun."
Scotland currently sit well down the rankings as they have not fished in major international events on a regular basis in recent years, but they are hoping for substantial ranking points this time to lift them up the table.
Apart from the marathon drive, with two vans and a car making the trip, the anglers have to make a detour in Germany to collect bait as they can't take it in their vehicles across the Channel as bait is classed as animal feed and that is a banned import, according to Roberts, following Brexit.
He added: "It's a great adventure. We have a lot of experience in the team and the guys blend well. I'm the oldest in the team at 58 and we have guys in their 30's. I'm old enough to be their dad."
Manager McConnell said a high finish there would be massive for Scotland on the world stage and he added: "We want to be in the world's top ten in the next five years, but that would require a massive commitment.
"It's a massive time commitment for the guys as well as we will be away for more than ten days and that is a long time for guys away from work."
The first day in Hungary, hopefully the Sunday, will be used as a recovery period with final preparations and familiarisation taking place on the Monday and Tuesday before the event starts on Wednesday, September 21.
The first draw takes place on the Tuesday before the final draw on Wednesday morning to determine where each pair will fish for the 72-hour event.
McConnell added that this is also a costly trip, but one of the cheapest on the world calendar. In two years time, for example, the competition is in America.
For the record, Ukraine was down to host the event his year but the Russian invasion halted that.
Wales have decided not to travel because of costs, but a strong England team is going and McConnell said: "We've done as much homework as we can on the water."
Meanwhile, the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland have interrupted their summer league during the hot weather in the interests of the fish. Rounds will be added later in the season when the water cools.
A new paperback, River Pike in Northern England by Bill Winship has arrived and the 300-plus page book claims to unlock the secrets which have enabled him to catch well over 50, 20lb pike in northern rivers.
One of the rivers which gets a mention is the Tweed which, of course, borders England and Scotland, and which, says the author, "does contain natural stocks of big pike and it always has".
However, he stressed: "I would like to make it clear from the start that I would no recommend anyone travel all the way to the River Tweed to fish for pike, unless, of course, you have an invite from one of the locals in the know and with authorised access."
Harrogate-based Winship, in his introduction, said: "Pike anglers struggle for years before catching their first big river pike and many give up long before then can experience the joy of a 20lb-er."The book has been a lifelong project for Winship and he includes pen pictures of some well-known and some not so well-known but significant figures in the pike world. A review will appear later.