RiverFest Final 2014 – River Wye Hereford (Belmont)… 15th and 16th November

Here’s a great blog from Paul Bick who came 3rd in the Riverfest Final. Well done Paul and all our Supertam anglers that qualified for the final, we’re proud of you and your performances!

RiverFest Final 2014 – River Wye Hereford (Belmont)… 15th and 16th November

After finishing Joint 2nd in last year’s final I was determined to try and qualify again for this year’s final and I was delighted to win my zone and qualify again on the River Severn at Lower Loade back in July. This gave me loads of time to prepare for the final and ponder on last year’s result.
I was convinced that to win this event you needed to master the top end of the river where it is more wild and you are fishing for Chub and Barbel. The bottom end is out and out float fishing for Roach and Dace.
Events leading up to the Final are the Wye Charity and the Wye champs and I booked into both of these and also practised hard at catching the Wye’s Chub and Barbel using swimfeeder tactics in the weeks leading up to the final. You needed to ensure that your kit was up to the job for the top end and I was confident in using my trusty 14 foot Distance Shakespeare feeder rod coupled to Mach XT 0.22 Line.
Before the big day I enlisted the help of 4 times Wye Champion and local expert Colin Harvey as my Guru who I have known since I was a junior and also quizzed my Shakespeare Team mates constantly as they have a vast experience of Belmont from fishing the popular Wye Winter league.
Day 1
On the morning of the draw the buzz around the headquarters was electric it was full of England Internationals and top river anglers from around the country with big reputations all eager for the crucial good draw on the first day.
The river levels had come up in the week and it was touch and go as to whether the event would go ahead but at 8ft up the match was to go ahead as it was expected to drop over the weekend.
My draw put me on Permanent Peg 16 at the top end of Belmont it was the right area that I wanted as I felt that with the colour in the river the Barbel would feed and then come the next day we might catch a few on the float.
After seeking advice about the Peg all I could gather was that it may hold a few Barbel that may have dropped down the river from pegs 10 and 11 the normal barbell haunts.
So this was going to be my plan A. I also set up a pole feeder for fishing at about 6 Metres out and a 3 Metre bleak whip.
After an Hour I had my first bite on the Ground bait feeder with an 8mm Halibut pellet on the hook. I carefully played a 7lb Barbel to the net and was off the mark. Two hours later I had added another Barbel and a Chub but bites were at a premium and I felt that I needed to rest the swim for the last crucial hour back on feeder for a barbel. So I added a 12 oz roach on the pole feeder and about 100 tiny bleak on the whip during the 4th hour. Unfortunatley the last hour produced no more bites on the feeder and this was to be my final tally.
My 19lb 4oz total was enough to win the section and was 6th in the match. Steve Sadler leading with 30lb 11oz of Barbel from Peg 53.
So it was all to play for the next day.

Day 2
My Day two draw put me on permanent peg 63 this was 3 pegs up from the rowing club and with the river dropping a foot overnight it looked sock on for a weight on the float.
I literally set up everything including three 15ft Shakespeare Superteam float rods with a 6gram bolo and 4gram bolo then a 12 no 4 stick float.
An 8 meter whip was setup in case it was solid with small dace along with a 3 Meter bleak whip.
An 8 Gram flat float for fishing for perch and a Feeder rod in case I was struggling.
So I was ready for all eventualities.
I had found in practise that caster was far superior to maggot as the venue was solid with small dace and I wanted to avoid these and try to catch the roach but after half an hour of feeding caster I was biteless and a switch to feeding maggots quickly transformed my peg.
It was getting stronger and stronger as the match went on and I was pleased and surprised to weigh 23lb 8oz of all roach caught on the 4 Gram Bolo and stick float setups. This again won the section and was 4th in the match.

The match was won by Roger Wakenshaw with 30lb 8oz from Peg 86 that included a magnificent 20lb River Carp.
Overall Result
I was over the moon to be announced as coming 3rd but also made up for the newly crowned Riverfest Champion Steve Sadler as he is one of angling unsung heroes.
1st Steve Sadler 49-3-0
2nd Sean Ashby 45-7-0
3rd Paul Bick 42-12-0
4th Simon Willsmore 40-7-0
5th Sam Merry 38-12-0

I would like to thank Shakespeare for their continued support and to Dave Harrell and the Angling Trust for running such a magnificent competion that has captured the imaginations of so many River Anglers.
Roll on next Year.

James Robbins

Shakespeare Brand Manager – EMEA

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