All the ac­tion from RiverFest fi­nal

Chub and bar­bel decide a gru­eller

Angling Times (UK) - - MATCH NEWS -

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.

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