Holmes makes no bones about his ‘massive’ England call-up

Chris Holmes and Neil Rivers celebrate their British Carp Angling Championship success.

Chris Holmes and Neil Rivers celebrate their British Carp Angling Championship success.

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British Carp Angling champion Chris Holmes from Hampton Magna says it is “massive” to be named in one of Team England’s three pairs for the World Championships in Caspe, Spain.

Holmes, 36, will be fishing on the River Ebro alongside Neil Rivers, with whom he clinched the £18,000 British Carp Angling Championship at Wraysbury near Heathrow last September.

“Getting to wear the Three Lions is massive,” said Holmes, who has been fishing competitively for 14 years.

“We’ll be up against some great teams. Romania, South Africa have won it before. All the best countries will be there. It’s exciting stuff.”

The duo have been fishing together for two years and have also qualified for the final of the highly regarded Erics Carp Championships.

However, it was their victory at the British Championships which catapulted them into the top echelons of the sport.

And despite angling being the UK’s number one participation sport, Holmes said there is no great secret to their success.

“It’s all about our preparation. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” said Holmes, who is known by his nickname of Bones.

“People who carp fish are obsessive. It takes research, lots of dedication and understanding girlfriends.”

The understanding girlfriends comment makes sense when you find out Rivers and Holmes spent 48 hours together with just four hours sleep to win the British title.

The World Championship will see them competing against the best in the world for a mammoth 72 hours, with hauls of more than 1,000lb not uncommon.

With the self-funded duo having used £600 worth of bait in their most recent competition and match fees rising to £500 in some cases, sponsorship from DNA Baits helps ease some of the burden.

“They look after us,” he said. “So many people support us.”

Among those are Holmes’ employers, The Orchard School of Cookery in Evesham, where he teaches.

He hopes to move into the trade in the not-too-distant future, but despite his culinary background, he says he has never been tempted to combine his two passions.

“That would be like someone who loved horses, eating horsemeat,” he explained.

The World Carp Angling Championships run from October 7-10.