It started with hard­core match­men, now it’s an in­sti­tu­tion

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

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.

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