HOW RIVERFEST REVITALISED INTEREST IN RUNNING WATER
It started with hardcore matchmen, now it’s an institution
WHEN Dave Harrell first mooted a competition for river anglers to rival Fish O’Mania its first working title was ‘Rivermania’!
Originally – and I’m sure Dave won’t mind me saying this – there was a hardcore group who followed the matches around the country to quench their thirst for decent turnouts for their favourite styles of fishing.
I was actually sceptical that the event would grow much bigger... so, what do I know?
Dave’s enthusiasm and hard work, excellent management by the Angling Trust and, in no small part, the improvement of our river fishing as a whole, has made tickets hard to come by for most of the qualifiers.
In fact I’m not sure that our river fishing has improved during the life of RiverFest – perhaps it’s just that we are now more aware of how excellent sport on running waters is because there are match anglers fishing them again.
So, this year’s event culminated in the regular two-day final on the River Wye, a great venue for a great match. Having seen the first day result I had a feeling that Paul Bick could have done what cricket teams that enjoy a big score do occasionally, and declare! An advantage of 18lb on a tricky river that was only going to get worse seemed insurmountable and so it proved – just!
However, not being the declaring sort, Paul did it in style, trebling the next-best weight in his section on Saturday and doubling it on Sunday. I think that would go down as ‘conclusive’.
Great job, Dave Harrell, for not only having the vision for RiverFest but for seeing it through to a fabulous event. Roll on 2017.
The Wye, scene of a great RiverFest final.