Billy's gold medal winning secrets!

Team England took home gold in the 17th FIPPS World Carp Championships, as we reported at the time, with Billy Flowers.

These matches can be very different to style of carp fishing which most of are familiar with in this country, or even when compared to the UK carp match scene. We caught up with Billy to find out exactly how they tackled the venue, as well as the advance preparation for the event, to gain an insight into just what it takes to become World champions!

Billy recounts: “When we found out that the World Championships was being held on the River Ebro, we all knew this would be a very interesting venue. The famous river is known for the very big catfish that swim in its depths, and because so many anglers target them we knew that the fish would be seeing a lot of halibut pellets, normally dropped from a boat. But being a World Championships match, all angling would have to be done from the bank, and with the flow of the river we thought that this could make things very interesting.

“As a team, we decided we would have to go for at least one practice session on the river before the event. Three of the lads had not been before, so went over for a few days to try different tactics. From that first session we noticed that as long as you had a pellet for a hookbait, along with some pellets around it as free offerings, you could get bites quickly.

“After a team meeting and discussion, we all went out in August for a practice session, fishing three different areas of the river. We had plenty of bites between us, and soon whittled our tactics down to concentrating on just one method - that was to be solid bag fishing.”

“The reasoning behind this was that we needed to get a parcel of bait out into the middle of the river, as far as we could physically cast. We knew all the competitors were going to be set up in a big line, and know from our experience that in a 72-hour match the fish respond to the pressure, and they begin to push further and further out into the main river, away from anglers’ lines.

“This meant that the main tactic was to spod a mixture of different sized pellets and boilies to an area at around 110-130 yards, and then fish our solid bags beyond that at a range of over 175 yards! The advantage of the solid bag is that when constructed very tightly and aerodynamically, these things absolutely fly out there! Another huge bonus with solid bags is that it doesn’t matter how it lands in the water, as the rig is inside the bag, and it leaves a nice, neat pile of bait directly around your hookbait.”

“The rigs we used were standard blow-back set-ups, with a halibut pellet hookbait, and we also topped them with either imitation corn or small pieces of foam to make it more visual. The rig was created by whipping a size 4 Wide Gape hook to 18lb Supernatural and attaching it to a Flexi-Ring Swivel, with a 4-4.5oz square inline lead fitted with a Solid Bag Tail Rubber. This makes it very quick and easy to tie up perfect PVA bags, and we use the lick-and-stick method so no tape is required. One of the the best things about fishing this method, is that it allowed us to have lots and lots of Solidz bags already tied up, as we fished them on Solid Bag Leaders.
“On the reels we were fishing with, we had very thin main line to get maximum casting distance, followed by a long length of 30lb Arma-Kord shockleader material with a big loop in the end so that we could attach the bags loop-to-loop style, meaning we could get the rod back out in seconds. The bags we used were the Solidz XS ones, as they are the perfect size for this type of fishing, and once the corners are folded in and all the air is taken out, they fly like a dream and they can be punched a very long way! For extra attraction, we ‘injected’ the bags with Halibut Haze Goo before casting out.

“These tactics worked perfectly, and that’s how we went on to bring home the gold for England - a great honor and a privilege,” he concluded.