‘We have a target’ - Ewan Roberts on Scotland’s aims at World Carp Championship
Latest fishing news ahead of the world carp championship next month in France
Ewan Roberts enters his second world carp championship next month in France as the oldest member of Scotland's six-strong team and the 59-year-old will be be using a fluorescent line favoured by the world's top nations.
The revolutionary line, made in Japan and marketed by Eastern European-based Kartan, is available to all team members at a discounted rate due to a new partnership and the Uphall Station-based angler has bought into the deal.
Basically, it glows in the dark under a headlight and is said to be invisible to the fish. This is a massive bonus for the team as leading nations already use the special line which is said to be particularly useful to plot casting accuracy in the dark as two or even three feet can make all the difference at the top level.
The event on the huge Lac de Panneciere features 32 nations including South Africa, Germany, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, USA, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Portugal Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
It is the 23rd world championship and is held over 72 hours between September 19 to September 23.
Self-employed Roberts, who runs a vehicle signage business called Fleet Grafix at Loanhead, near Edinburgh, is paired with Ralph Reddy from Middlesbrough but originally from Greenock, who is appearing in his first worlds. They have competition fished together before.
Other members of the team are Alister Kirkhope (Hamilton) who partners Ross Thornley (Helensburgh), who is a serving soldier with the Scots Guards, and one of two debutants at world level.
Kevin McConnell (Larkhall) is paired with John Sweetland (Sanquhar).
The team will be backed by volunteers from the Army carp team who are serving soldiers and recently lost to Scotland in a competition in England. Basically, they will spy on the opposition, watching how frequently they cast and change bait, try to find out what baits and tactics they are using.
Roberts said the venue is massive and the water is used to help with crop irrigation so they have no idea what the level will be during the competition. Brighton-based Joanne Barlow, captain of Scotland's women's carp team, has completed a recce of the venue as the women compete on the same water from September 25 to September 29 and she has passed on a dossier.
England are going for gold after being second last year and Scotland have upped their game and will be using European-style baits along with product from R G Baits who are based in Yorkshire. They market boilies which break down quicker.
The Tartan lads are self-funded and it is costing each team member between £2,000 and £2.500 to take part and Roberts believes that this will be a numbers game. Last year in Hungary, a substitute venue after anglers were unable to fish in Ukraine, the fish really did not turn up.
There are no official sponsors for the Scots although a number of big names in the fishing business like Daiwa and Shimano do give team members discounts.
However, Scotland are up against real heavyweights. Teams like Croatia and Lithuania and Ukraine have on-site chefs - the Scots will do their own cooking - and a back-up team which means that their total squad can be 20-strong. They also have resources the Scots don't have.
McConnell, who also acts as team manager, revealed that If one of the big teams breaks a rod, and top rods can cost £500 upwards, then they just throw them away and get another as they can have up to 30 rods ready to go on the bank.
McConnell firmly believes said that his men they can compete against the odds. They may not be as experienced at this level as others as Scotland's entry in 2022 was only their second world championships, but the Tartan team came 17th last year and were 21st in South Africa, their first worlds.
And, 12 months ago, they could have been in top ten had they landed one fish of over 2.5k, that is how close the competition was.
McConnell said: "We have a target and that is to make the top ten. We strongly believe that is possible and that would be a tremendous achievement as we are relatively new to the event."
Meanwhile, three clubs from Central Scotland have qualified for the final of the Scottish Club Championship, Heriot AC in seventh, Avonbank from Millhall Fishery at Polmont in ninth and West Lothian Fly Dressers tenth. The other seven qualifiers were from the west or north.
The event is sponsored by hosts, The Lake Of Menteith, Snowbee, Hope Embroidery, Glencairn Crystal, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Angus Angling, McLanachlan Transport Ltd and My Fishing Flies and 20 teams took part on a bright, breezy and showery day.
The 60 anglers caught 250 trout and, of the 106 brought to the scales, at least 16 were over 4lb. The topten teams go through to the final on September 29 also at the Lake of Menteith.
The top team were Firecats A represented by Joe Wood (ten fish), Campbell Cree (seven) and Kevin Craig (six ) for 52lb 2.4oz. Second with 21 trout for 48lb 13.3oz were Harelaw FF B and third with 17 fish for 45lb 2.2oz were Port Glasgow AC A. Most tempted their fish in Gateside Bay with teams of buzzers and a FAB on a floating line doing well.