All the action from RiverFest final
Chub and barbel decide a grueller
ANGLING TRUST RIVERFEST 2016 FINAL (SAT & SUN) River Wye, Hereford (72 pegs)
PAUL Bick has been crowned the 2016 RiverFest champion after a dominant first day performance.
The Shakespeare Bait-Tech man put the agony of finishing second and third in previous finals behind him to lift the coveted trophy and the £12,000 winner’s cheque as he totalled 55-2-0 across the two days of action on a very tough Wye.
On a river affected by snow water from the Welsh mountains, a hard frost before day one and then heavy rain on Saturday night, the fish stocks showed only in selected areas. Many blanks were recorded, but Worcester man Paul had a day one 46-4-0 chub and barbel net to thank for his winning weekend total.
Runner-up in his very first final and third on his other appearance, Paul topped up that first day performance with a near-9lb net of perch on Sunday to keep his challengers at arm’s length. Starlets old hand Paul Downes took second overall on both days to tally 44-15-0 and win £6,000. Nick West came in third with 42-4-0 on the leaderboard after topping day two with 37-12-0.
“I’d fished the practice on Wednesday and that was good, but I knew that with cold water going into the river the weekend would be poor – and after day one I was definitely hoping that it would be bad!” Paul said.
“I drew peg 101 on the tennis courts section on Saturday, one off the end where no one wanted to be, as it had been tough in the run-up to the final.
“As it happened, the fish were there and the river was at perfect winter level but very cold, so my only option was to go for the chub and barbel in that area.
“My tactics were a maggot feeder cast three quarters of the way across into a deep gully, with a stick float and bolo rod closer in.
“In the end I decided to take it easy with the feeder and used just a medium-sized Black Cap with a 4ft tail,” he continued.
“I had my first fish, a barbel, after 20 minutes. That surprised me, as I wasn’t expecting a quick response. It made me think that perhaps I was on the fish. My second fish came 10 minutes later, and it was then that I thought I could do a weight.”
The bites were very shy, with many of Paul’s indications being tiny taps on the tip. He cast regularly, as all his bites came within a minute of the feeder hitting bottom. The two float lines also produced a pair of chub apiece when he switched over to them to rest the feeder, and his final tally was five barbel, eight chub and a grayling – plus a 3lb trout that had to be returned!
“I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start because I had drawn what, historically, is
the big weight end of the match length – day two was never going to be anywhere near as easy,” he said. “However, I’d been in the position of winning the match on day one before, only to draw badly on the Sunday and miss out, so I desperately wanted to avoid pegs 24-40, which were a
more or less guaranteed blank.
“When cold water goes into the Wye and it rises, it never fishes well – and that was what seemed likely to happen on Sunday.”
The draw bag gave him peg 74 on the railings near the old railway bridge and Paul was happy enough as he knew a big perch shoal lived in that area. He set himself a target of 10lb to maintain the near-20lb weight advantage he had overnight.
“A flat float line went in at 10m, plus a bolo rod around four rodlengths out. I began on the worm, where I regularly fed chopped worm and caster via a bait dropper using a 6g flat float with lobworm tail on the hook and had an 8oz perch after 20 minutes,” Paul said.
“From then on it was a case of topping up, going on the bolo, coming back after 20 minutes and catching a perch – there always seemed to be one waiting!
“The bolo produced a few dace and chublets, and at the end I thought I had 6lb, so to weigh in almost 9lb was a great result.
“The next job was to find out which of the anglers behind me had done well,” he explained.
“Paul Downes went past on the far bank and shouted that he’d had two barbel for 16lb, so he couldn’t catch me, and Simon Willsmore and Deron Harper had both blown out. Tom Noton had also caught barbel, but not enough, and Sean Ashby was the only man that we didn’t know about. He’d drawn peg 11, a great barbel swim but it didn’t produce, so it looked as though I’d won but I never get too upbeat until the results are read out!
“It’s brilliant to have won RiverFest after missing out twice. I’ve won almost everything as a team with Shakespeare, but never anything big as an individual. To do it on a river as diverse as the Wye is a great achievement – winning on this river is as much about beating the venue itself as it is the other anglers!” Overall result: 1 P Bick, Shakespeare Bait-Tech, 55-2-0; 2 P Downes, Kamasan Starlets, 44-15-0; 3 N West, Matchman Supplies, 42-4-0; 4 S Ashby, Sensas, 33-13-0; 5 T Noton, Chesterfield, 33-2-0; 6 S Clark, Matrix Image, 26-7-0. Day one result: 1 P Bick, Shakespeare Bait-Tech, 46-4-0; 2 P Downes, Kamasan Starlets, 26-8-0; 3 D Harper, Woody’s Angling, 25-1-0; 4 S Willsmore, Drennan/D&A Tackle/Spotted Fin, 24-4-0; 5 S Hemingray, Drennan/ Sensas, 23-4-0; 6 S Ashby, Sensas, 21-12-0. Day two result: 1 N West, Matchman Supplies, 37-12-0; 2 P Downes, Kamasan Starlets, 16-7-0; 3 L Harries, DH Angling, 15-4-0; 4 T Noton, Chesterfield, 15-0-0; 5 K Hall, Champion Feed, 13-3-0; 6 M Nowicki, Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG, 13-2-0.
Winner Paul’s 46lb 4oz day one catch put him ahead of the chasing pack. Paul Downes, second on day two, found a pair of decent Wye barbel.
Winner Paul Bick in action on the pole. Third time lucky – winner Paul Bick celebrates.