Eurobass Cup, the revenge of the Ryder Cup

The United States dominates Europe 19 points to 5,

Valladolid (Spain). September 2004. The U.S. professionals captained by Mike Iaconelli have proclaimed themselves champions of the 1st ever Eurobass Cup, the most important competition fought out in Europe this September 21 – 22. The great interest existing in this sport has been revealed on the Old Continent. The event was celebrated in Spain, at Lake Ricobayo, and was organized by the Semana Ibérica de Caza y Pesca (Iberian Hunting and Fishing Week), under the direct management of Javier Galiana, member of B.A.S.S. and much linked to the American professional anglers. The press has qualified this victory as "the revenge of the Ryder Cup". The U.S. anglers showed themselves superior to the Europeans, especially on the first day, with a result of 11 points to 1. In the second round the victory once again stood out but didn’t prove to be as crushing, with a result of 8 points to 4. Mike Iaconelli placed on record, once again, that he is a true specialist no matter where he fishes. He not only led the U.S. team but also achieved the victory in the individual classification, ahead of Jack A. Gadlage, and achieved the biggest fish weighing in at 4 lbs. 12 oz. The Eurobass Cup applies the formula of competition of the Ryder Cup of golf. Each angler competes individually against another and the winner achieves one point for the team. For the Europeans this novel competition has allowed everyone to see up close and personal the fishing techniques of these stars of bass fishing. The organizer of the Eurobass, Javier Galiana, pioneer in bass fishing in Spain and expert of the same, explains that "this type of fishing started in Spain in the year 1972, in the hands of American military men destined in Europe. The growth of this sport has been spectacular and the evolution experienced surprising, above all in the last 10 years, since currently there are more than 300 fishing clubs dedicated exclusively to bass fishing in Spain, France, Portugal and Italy". Javier Galiana has emphasized that in Europe "both fishing from the shoreline as well as fishing from boats are practiced, but that it is the latter that has developed into a more important and meaningful method". During the two days of competition of the Eurobass, 155 fish were caught, a figure that gives an idea of the splendid conditions that Lake Ricobayo offers for the fishing of bass. Numerous anglers from the four European countries with the greatest tradition in bass fishing travelled to the scene of the Eurobass, "demonstrating the profound effects that this tournament has had among the anglers. They have supported greatly this novel initiative", declared Javier Galiana. The U.S. professionals have praised this tournament as being something that can convert into the maximum ambition for European anglers, as is the Bassmaster Classic in the United States. The Eurobass Cup "can be that competition to which all bass anglers wish to participate in, much like the Bassmaster Classic in the United States is the maximum honor", affirmed Iaconelli. The Eurobass is an excellent formula to spread bass fishing in Europe, where in the last years a strong growth in numbers of amateurs, clubs and even competitions have been reported. Iaconelli proved to be very satisfied not only for final results but also for the characteristics of the event. He even stated that never in his fishing career had he achieved catching 50 valid bass, something that occurred in Lake Ricobayo. With regard to the fishing of the Europeans, the U.S. champion made known that he valued the evolution comparing it to the prior year, and most importantly it was affected by the use of different techniques in function with the characteristics of the place. "I had the impression that before they would look for a specific place and now they move around more and, as a result, change their form of fishing from one place to the other". Iaconelli emphasized that "sharing these days of fishing with other anglers is great, because you always learn something from the other; the exchange of information is reciprocal". John Murray, another specialist that already fished Lake Ricobayo the year prior, a professional with an extensive résumé and high classifications also stated similar ideas toward the event. (Even though in the first round of the Eurobass Cup luck wasn’t on his side). Murray’s opinion of the European anglers is that they are "more versatile; they use more and more techniques and choose the most adequate for each place, while before it seemed that they used to look for catching the fish in only a few places, the most important being finding where that one fish was". The seminars organized by the Iberian Week, organizing body of the Eurobass, have probably contributed to the spread of these types of fishing among anglers. "It’s probable that they have learned them here, and then, by different means of media and internet, the anglers have searched for this information". John Murray places great importance on sharing hours of fishing with other anglers, "I’ve been with four different anglers and that is always positive". Given the success of this first edition, professional anglers such as Zell Rowland and Takahiro Omori, among others, have already shown their desire to compete in 2005 in the 2nd Eurobass Cup.