James O’Doherty was delighted with his seventh place finish at the World Championships in South Africa, and indeed, only for small margins it could have been even better for the Enniskillen angler.

James was part of the Ireland team that competed on the Bloemhof Dam in South Africa, the competition commencing after five training days on the venue. The Ireland team consisted of five anglers and two managers.

And O’Doherty thoroughly enjoyed the experience of competing at the championships.

“To say this World Championships was unbelievable is an understatement. Everything associated with it was fantastic from the opening ceremony to the accommodation and especially the fishing.

“The fishing really was fantastic with lots of fish needed to do well. The venue was in a nature reserve so we seen lots of very interesting wildlife with my favourite being the flamingo’s,” he said.

There were 20 teams competing at the championships which meant there was five peg sections with 20 anglers at each where each member of the team fished against one angler from each other team. The angler in each section that caught the biggest weight was awarded with one point while the angler with the worst got 20 points so whoever got the lowest score won.

“Day one for me went extremely well,” said James. “I managed to catch 29.770kgs to come second in my section of 20 which was brilliant. This catch consisted of Common Carp and Grass Carp which where the main species to catch and I had 50 fish in total. Team Ireland also finished sixth on day one which we were very happy with.”

And Day Two was make or break for the Fermanagh man.

“I knew only a section win would get me a medal as the competition is so high at these senior events.

“At the weigh in I managed to catch 21.270kg but as I drew peg D3 on day two it meant it was an anxious wait to see if I had done it,” he added.

When the results were finalised there was agony for O’Doherty who just missed out on a medal.

“I finished second in my section again behind the newly crowned World Champion from Holland. However, I was pushed into second by only 60 grams which I was gutted about as this 60 grams has cost me winning a bronze medal and being the youngest ever angler to get on the podium!

“I finished seventh individually and although I got the same points as the French angler in third I lost out on weight where five other anglers had a four point score which shows you how competitive this competition is.

“Team Ireland finished in tenth position which the team were happy with but I was gutted missing out on an individual medal.” he explained.

The result though was one that James is proud of and he is determined to get his hands on that world medal at next year’s championships in France.

“I really felt I had done my team and Ireland proud in Africa and bettered my predictions which is all I can ask for. The event next year will take place in France where I will be on the hunt for that ever elusive medal that I feel is coming as I am only 20 years of age,” he stated.

The focus for James in the shorter term though will be the European Championships which will take place in Ireland in June.