The state of the Wye will be crucial
How it will be won
THIS weekend the cream of our river match angling talent will battle it out on the River Wye for the Angling Trust RiverFest crown and the £12,000 top prize that goes with it.
Ability aside, the state of the river will play a huge part in deciding the 2017 result. The Wye through Hereford can rise and fall by several feet in a matter of hours, bringing with it cold muddy water and debris.
Catch it right, though, and the fishing will be fabulous. At the time of writing we need rain, as the river is low and clear.
The match is split into two zones – the upper sections, where chub and barbel dominate, and the town centre section packed with roach, dace, chublets and perch. That means the winner will need to master both styles of fishing.
From England internationals, former RiverFest champs, and rods who know the Wye like the back of their hands, the line-up is impressive. The previous four finals went to Andrew Murphy, Steve Sadler, Tom Lane and Paul Bick. Andrew and Paul are here again this time round, alongside Hadrian Whittle, Derron Harper, Lee Edwards and Brian Rigby. All these men fish the Wye regularly, and to them you can add England Float and Feeder men Sean Ashby, Alan Scotthorne, Steve Hemingray, Mick Vials, Eddie Bridon and Will Freeman, and England boss Mark Downes. Pick a winner from that lot!
YOU’LL NEED TO DRAW
“It doesn’t matter who you are, much will depend on the state of the river,” said Tri-Cast/Bait-Tech venue regular Dave Roberts.
“From previous years one thing is apparent – you need to draw two good pegs that give you the chance of catching a weight. On a river in normal nick, you can’t afford to catch ounces on one of the days. Around 40lb gets you in the money, going on past finals, and with the right peg, 30lb of that can come from the town centre section. Double figures from the bottom end should keep you in with a shout.”
THE RIGHT CONDITIONS
“At present the Wye is low and clear but the roach and dace fishing should be good and the chub and barbel will still feed,” continued Dave.
“What will wreck things is an influx of cold water, which we had on day two last year. This kills the fishing and makes it a real lottery, but looking at the forecast, not much rain is due so we should see a river in its normal state.”
ZONE A – BIG FISH OR BUST?
“The match is split into two zones, with anglers fishing each one over the weekend. Zone A is the top end on the Belmont section and this will be all about catching chub and barbel,” explained Dave.
“The silvers have pretty much moved into the town centre so on this zone it’ll be a feeder job, fishing to the middle or two thirds of the way across unless you have some far-bank tree cover. This will be maggot, hemp and caster fishing, looking for perhaps only three barbel or six chub to weigh in around 15lb.
“That sort of weight will keep you in the hunt, but if I was fishing and only caught 10lb I’d still be happy. What you can’t afford is a blank!
“With the Wye in normal nick I’d want to draw pegs 2 and 4, 10 and 11, 24 and the late 30s or early 40s. These are noted chub and barbel pegs, but right through the zone I’d fancy catching a fish off any peg.
Both zones can produce nets of good chub.