Exclusive RiverFest Final preview
But whatever the weather, it should be a cracking final on the River Wye
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…
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.
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.
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.
OLD RAILWAY BRIDGEOLD ROAD BRIDGE
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.