Tronixpro is very proud to sponsor the new junior champion of the world!
Here Callum Graham gives us an exclusive interview and insight into what it took and what it means to be the best junior shore angler in the world:
[TP] How many times have you represented England?
[CG] Including this year I will have represented England for five years. Three of these years have been at world championships from which I have gained two silver team medals, one bronze team medal and an individual gold. The other two times representing England have been at home internationals from which I’ve won a gold team medal and a bronze team medal. I also have home internationals coming up in the end of June which are going to be held at Samphire Hoe in Kent.
[TP] What can you tell us about your preparations for this year’s world championships in Montenegro?
[CG] As soon as the team was announced in November preparation started. The baits supplied were to be prawn and mussel; therefore many nights were spent on my local beaches practicing with such unusual baits working out the best ways to bait up and present the baits.
Thankfully members of the England senior team as well as my manager, Chris Clark, had fished the beaches in previous world championship and provided me and the team with invaluable knowledge.
Obviously when flying, luggage is very limited, therefore refinement in tackle was incredibly important. This meant constantly watching on the weather in Montenegro so we knew what weight and styles of leads will be needed, the diameter of snood line, mainline and importantly the clothing we will need.
Once all the rig materials and components were finalised after months of testing, rig tying finally started. Due to the nature of the sea in Montenegro incredibly light and fine rigs were needed. I used the Asari size 14 micro swivels paired with the Asari micro beads to create a tiny snood connection, in conjunction with the Asari lead clips for a tangle free lead link.
[TP] How was the fishing during the practice days and were you feeling confident afterwards?
[CG] During the practice days plenty of fish were caught. Although the weather was against us with torrential rain and lightning storms, last minute rig modifications were able to take place. The practice gave me a general feeling of how the fish react; how and when to strike, type and importantly size of baits and the best rigs for each species. The practise sessions underlined the fact that my background work was accurate and most importantly allowed me to go to the matches confident in knowing that my techniques will be effective.
[TP] Talk us through the 4 days of competition with some of the highs and lows:
[CG] Due to heavy rain fall previously, there were high levels of fresh water within the sea during the first match day. I knew the fishing was going to be difficult but hoped my end peg would give me an advantage. The first two and a half hours saw me with nothing, not even a bite, when eventually I caught a sizeable Auxiliary Bream of 20cm over a small patch of eelgrass. This was closely followed by an undersized Bream. Although there were not many fish in my section I was sure that two decent sized bream had been caught. Knowingly, I continued to fish the single fish holding feature in my peg which had previously produced me two fish. Half an hour later, the rod tipped wrapped round, making me think that this wasn’t going to be another 10cm fish! A small battle resulted in a Mormora of 27 cm in the bucket. Having been told by my manager that I was probably winning my zone, the last half hour of the match was torture! Thankfully no more fish were caught and I had a clear section win.
Day two saw us fishing Slovenska , a clean, crystal clear beach with eel grass beds running parallel at 70 yds. The youth team having fished this beach the previous day found that incredible light snoods made a huge difference to the catch rate. Knowing this, I stepped down to just 0.14 snood line. During the match it seemed that all the resident fish of the grass beds had been wiped out the previous day. However I still managed to scratch out 4 fish around the 30yd range. The day saw quite a few blanks in my section and me with another section win. So having that extra inside knowledge paid dividends. At the end of day two I was ranked in gold medal position overall…. No pressure for the next day then!
Day three was the venue which saw most preparation. Buljarica is an incredibly rocky venue so I arrived at my peg with plenty of weak links ready tied to my weights and many rigs. Bizarrely I didn’t lose a single rig; I think I managed to get the only snag-less peg on the beach. As you can imagine without any snags there wasn’t many fish to be caught. Although having the third most amount of fish in my zone, with a mixed bag of Coomber and Rainbow Wrasse plus a bonus 23cm Weaver, I came fifth in my section.
On The final day i fished Jaz beach, the same venue that I fished the first day. This time round I was pegged in the middle of the venue. Throughout my zone there was a rocky outcrop running about 20 yards out, however the youth having fished this venue the previous day made us think that most of the resident fish would have been wiped out. Nevertheless conditions were on my side with flat calm, crystal clear sea, and scorching heat. No more than thirty seconds after the horn blew signalling the start of the match did I have my first fish, and a consistent stream of fish continued for the entire match. When fishing did slow down at the edge, a cast of 70 yds resulted in a decent size Scad of 30cm, giving my bag of fish the weight boost that it needed. The fishing wasn’t brilliant in other zones and my bag of fish not only won my zone but I also won the match overall.
[TP] What rods did you mainly use during the competition?
[CG] During the competition I used two different rods; Ultramarine Cinquemetri 130 and the Vercelli Spyra Aktiva. The Cinquemetri 130 came into its element when using such long and light rigs, the incredible bite detection allowed me to see every bite from even the smallest of fish, yet it still retainined the power in the mid and but section to be in control. What I liked about fishing with the Cinquemetri is its versatility. It may be a light rod but it still happily sent a bait out that little bit further when needed, Saving me time, as I didn’t have to constantly swap between rods during the match.
The Vercelli Spyra Aktiva came into the equation when distance was needed. With my reel loaded with 0.17 mainline, a simple off the ground cast with the Aktiva saw my baits sail off into the distance. With the Aktiva you get the option of two tips; the full carbon tip gives the rod an extremely fast recovery transmitting all the power of the cast into distance. Without any fancy casting styles the distance achievable with this rod are amazing. Switching to the glass tip transforms this rod into an excellent fishing tool. The bite detection gained from the glass is astounding, no matter whether fishing at 5 or 150 yards out the bite detection is just as positive. The ability to know exactly what is happening to your baits when fishing at range was huge advantage to me during the word championships, even bites from 12cm rainbow wrasse clearly showed on the rod, which allowed me to get the fish in before it worked itself free. There is no doubt that this rod caught me fish at the most vital moment in matches. I know for a fact just owning one of these rods gave me an advantage.
[TP] Finally, how did it feel when you found out you were the World Champion ?
[CG] Leaving the beach on the last day I didn’t know how the team or I had done in the overall placing. It was going to be along 2 hours before the weigh in and the official results were released, and all my concerns were with the team. The individual results were released first and when the news broke I was overwhelmed with emotions, although I was incredibly happy there was also elements of shock and surprise. I wanted to run and shout and punch the air but also wanted to sit down and take it all in. to know that from that point onwards I was the best junior angler in the world just blew me away. It was an incredible moment filled with every emotion, a moment I will never forget. Once the team result was released a cheer erupted from our room, everyone was jumping for joy. To know that all the hard work and effort put in by everybody had paid off was incredible. It was time for celebration!
[TP] Thank you very much for giving us this exclusive interview Callum, obviously we are so proud to sponsor a current world champion. We look forward to working with you for a long time to come and have every confidence in you achieving more great things in the future.