Ex­clu­sive RiverFest Fi­nal preview

But what­ever the weather, it should be a crack­ing fi­nal on the River Wye

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

THIS time last year, an­glers com­pet­ing in the RiverFest fi­nal were pray­ing for the rain to stop.

Fast-for­ward 12 months and the com­plete op­po­site is true. The host venue for this year’s big-money fi­nal, the River Wye through Hereford, is low, clear and des­per­ately in need of some ex­tra wa­ter.

How­ever, that won’t affect the fish­ing on the big day one bit, ac­cord­ing to those in the know – and with just days to go un­til the 2016 fi­nal, plenty of fish are ex­pected what­ever state the Wye may even­tu­ally be in. In fact, many peo­ple are ex­pect­ing this to be the best fi­nal yet!

Seventy two qual­i­fiers from matches that be­gan way back in mid-June will line up on the river for two days of ac­tion. The over­all win­ner on com­bined weight will win the £12,000 first prize, and that list of names will in­clude the de­fend­ing cham­pion Tom Lane, England in­ter­na­tion­als and some of the best river an­glers in the UK.

Pick­ing a win­ner is im­pos­si­ble but it is al­most cer­tain that the lot­tery of a flooded river that played such a big part last Novem­ber won’t be a fac­tor.

“At the mo­ment the Wye is way too low. Lo­cal an­glers like to see a me­tre or a me­tre-and-a-half of ex­tra wa­ter on it for good fish­ing on the float, but although we’re not due any real amounts of rain I still think that the fish­ing will be su­perb,” said Angling Times colum­nist Dave Har­rell, one of the fi­nal­ists. “The re­cent Wye Champs on a low and clear river pro­vided as­ton­ish­ing fish­ing with plenty of dou­ble-fig­ure weights, and it’ll get even bet­ter with any ex­tra wa­ter on the river.

“The only thing missing from the equa­tion at present are roach and bar­bel, which need colour to re­ally feed well, but the chub, dace and perch are present in their thou­sands and can al­ways be re­lied upon. Bleak I don’t think will play any part un­less it rains for days on end and the river comes up by 10ft!

“I’d urge any an­gler in­ter­ested in river fish­ing to come down on one of the days, walk the banks and see some clas­sic river fish­ing,” he con­tin­ued. “The strength of tal­ent on the bank is un­be­liev­able, from Tom Lane, who will be de­fend­ing his ti­tle, to good lo­cals such as Hadrian Whit­tle and England men Wil­liam Rai­son and Sean Ashby.

“I can’t pick a win­ner but what I do know is that a lot more than the mid-40lb win­ning to­tal of pre­vi­ous fi­nals will be needed to take the ti­tle.”

Join Dave now as he dis­sects each area of the match length, dis­cussing the fish to catch and the meth­ods needed to catch them…

PEGS 1-20

An out-and-out big-fish area and the scene of many big match catches. You’re look­ing at chub and bar­bel, prob­a­bly more chub at the mo­ment, but if the weather stays mild I would still ex­pect some bar­bel to show, es­pe­cially on pegs 10 and 11.

The first two pegs on the length are scream­ers for chub on the

wag­gler or blockend feeder but pa­tience is im­por­tant here be­cause the fish are big and you won’t need many to do a weight.

PEGS 21-39

This is a bit of a mixed area, to be hon­est. Big fish are present and an­glers could also catch a lot of dace if the fish run this far up the river although ex­pe­ri­ence tells me that they reach to early 20’s and then fade away. Much will de­pend on the wa­ter level and colour for this to hap­pen. I’d ex­pect to find chub and in the up­per 30’s some bar­bel that are res­i­dent here although whether they will show in the clear wa­ter is still guess work.

PEGS 40-50

The high 40s through to the old rail­way bridge are cur­rently hold­ing a lot of dace and roach and won’t be a bad place to draw but I’d want a spot of colour in the wa­ter to catch the roach that seem to ap­pear out of nowhere with a tinge in the wa­ter. You can pick from wag­gler, stick float or bolo rod on this sec­tion.


This is the ab­so­lute hot­bed on the river at the mo­ment, with lit­er­ally thou­sands of dace and small chub all the way along the length. This is where I had 60lb in the Wye Champs and I’d ex­pect this to be where the over­all win­ner draws on one of the days. You can catch on the wag­gler or long whip to hand with ground­bait and re­ally at­tack­ing your fish­ing due to the num­ber of fish present. Big perch are also here, es­pe­cially on the pegs in front of the sea scout hut, and a pole and worm ap­proach could pro­duce 40lb of them.


Tom Lane won the match here on Sun­day last year and it can be bril­liant for bar­bel and chub when there’s ex­tra wa­ter on – but that’s not the case now. Chub would be your best bet, nor­mally found at the bot­tom end of this sec­tion on the wag­gler or feeder – it could be an area to avoid with low wa­ter, or a dream draw if there’s a few feet of ex­tra wa­ter.

The river is cur­rently very clear. Cur­rent cham­pion Tom Lane has qual­ifed again.

The Ten­nis Courts will pro­duce if we get a lot of rain.

Our own Dave Har­rell is a 2016 fi­nal­ist.

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