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Drennan Team England (from
left): Matt Derry, James Dent, Steve Sanders
Team England are in Italy this weekend competing in the 23rd European Championship. The teams-of-five event sees 24 nations competing over two days on the Bianca Canal at Rovigo, on the 20th and 21st of May. England will be hoping to go one better than last year's event where they took a well-earned silver medal in Holland.
This year's talented England squad is a mixture of youth and experience with Alan Scotthorne, William Raison, Callum Dicks, Matt Godfrey, Matt Derry and James Dent involved. James is the only angler without senior World or European experience and earns his call up after impressive performances in the past two Home Internationals. Team manager Mark Downes is also assisted by Steve Sanders this year, following Mark Addy’s retirement.
The venue is in the north east of Italy, around 50km from Venice. It's a large navigable canal averaging 90m wide and 4m deep. Being just 15km from the sea with no sluices it is also subject to tidal variations which can see the flow change direction and the levels rise and fall by up to a metre.
The key species will be bream and skimmers up to 2kg, but other possible species include carassio, mullet, catfish and bleak. Pole fishing over an initial bombardment of heavy groundbait is likely to be the dominant tactic, with large lollipop-style flat floats as large as 25g to 30g playing a major role when the canal flows.
The two four-hour matches will be fished to international rules in this float-only event. This includes strict bait limits, a 10-minute pre-baiting period and a 13m pole limit.
Despite last year's resounding victory, Wales will sadly not be defending their crown as European Champions. Financial difficulties mean they have chosen to focus their attentions on the World Championship held in Belgium later on in the year.
Good luck to all of the competitors. The Italians are red-hot favourites and will be extremely difficult to beat on home soil, but we know Drennan Team England will be doing their very best to get on the podium!