Team Malta European Float Fishing Championships 2013 in Algeciras ..... the experience
Come 1st October and teams Malta which were chosen after a national league hosted by the National Fed of sports Anglers Malta converged at MIA to depart on the first part of the journey on a flight to Seville from whence they would then drive all the way to Cadiz for a total of 6hrs journeying. But these barely felt like 6mins as all we could talk about was how we were going to fish in the Euro Championships, of what the venue would be like the weather and all things related, so excited were we. We arrived in Seville at around 1700hrs and at Puerto Bahia de Algeciras in Cadiz after a 3 hour drive around 2000hrs, with the van packed to the brim, suffice to say that it took us a good 30mins to fit all the stuff in!
Since it was too late to do any fishing or at least visiting the venue, we checked in and proceeded to the buffet. The next morning we woke up at 0700am and proceeded to eat a hearty breakfast, and then off to the venue, at this point we did not take our fishing gear with us as we just wanted to observe. When we got there we found the Italians, Spanish and French fishing, and we could immediately see that this was going to be a fruitful venue as most were catching some nice hefty mullets. We tried to spy on them, the Spanish and Italians in particular to deduce how they were fishing, and in fact were very surprised to observe that they were fishing only about a meter from the surface, when the actual depth was of more than 6m. After an hour or so we could not take it anymore and went in search of the nearest fishing shop to buy ground bait, and then off to a store to buy bread for bait, as this was the bait mostly used by our adversaries.
We started fishing and were amazed to see so much big fish mostly mullets on the surface and we thought we should easily catch some. This proved to be a much more difficult task than anticipated, as the fish were extremely crafty, going round the bait but barley touching it. But we did get some and a couple of great species in the process, weighing in at 1.5kg or thereabout.
In the evening we had the opening ceremony which took place in the streets of Algeciras, with our Champion John Attard carrying the flag and our proud solitary woman of the games Cathrine Farrugia holding Malta`s placard. We proceeded to Algeciras Town Hall were the Mayor and various other dignitaries made a short speech of welcome, after which the Mayor declared the Euro Champs officially open, this was followed by the various nationalities singing to their National Anthem. It was a moment never to forgot, if ever there was a time when we felt proud to be Maltese that was it, I can still feel shivers going down my Spine just recollecting the event.
The next day was the dress rehearsal, were a 4 hour training session was scheduled. This started at 0800 after the distribution of baits, which bait was the same for all, consisting of 3kgs powder cheese and 8kgs bread crumbs for ground bait and 4 slices of bread, 300g of prawns and one box of worms. The participating countries were Spain with 3 teams, Portugal 3 teams, Italy 2 teams, France 2 teams and last but not least Malta 2 teams.
Right from the beginning of this training it was already obvious that the Spanish were in a class of their own on home ground, with the Italians close behind. But Team Malta was not to be outdone catching some fine fish and finishing 5th from the 11 teams, the first 4 places dominated by the Spanish and 1 Italian team.
The next day was the first day of the competition proper, and the excitement was evident to all. Pegs were drawn the evening before, and after collecting the bait each proceeded to their respective peg, waiting for the horn at 0800 so as to be able to enter the peg. Again the Spanish dominated, but we still retained the 5th place we had acquired in training, with Adrian Nelson, Pierre Poulton and Fortune Calafato the pick of Malta.
The last day and we were all geared up to improve our ranking, but alas it was not to be although this was certainly not for trying. Again Fortune and Pierre did exceptionally well with Fortune catching a big Sargu of 1.140kgs on a .10mm line! But we still ended up in 6th placefrom 11 teams but 3rd as a country which considering is not a bad result at all. This we accomplished with no help from anyone as we ended up forking out some 1500 euros each, contrary to the other countries which were heavily sponsored. Suffice to say that they were all geared up with the latest expensive state of the art fishing seat boxes, never needing to get up for anything and we, sitting on plastic stools bought for a couple of euros from a store in Algeciras, a small fishing bag with rigs as we could not afford to carry anything heavier due to expenses of weight restrictions.
In the evening we had the prize giving and closing ceremony were Spain were crowned worthy champions. But the most precious thing that we will all cherish is the friendships that we made and our own team building which was exceptional.