My RiverFest Final

RiverFest Final Day 1. Peg 34 on the Roadside. I’ve nicknamed it the ‘rubber Jonnys’ peg as there were a few on the bank! Just got the roach going in the last hour and then some clown in a canoe starts sinking in front of me as the upstream rollers were so bad they’ve filled his boat with water. He has to scramble to the shore, metres down my peg and faff about emptying it. Not ideal!

It has to be the most exhausting days roach fishing I’ve ever had, battling the upstream rollers. Half the match I couldn’t hold my pole and feed at the same time. Putting the rig in nice was so difficult and every few runs through I’d get fine weed on the hook. Oh, and had five pike on!

But… when I did catch it was lovely. Beautiful plump Trent roach. Ended up with 18lb 11oz for a section win and sitting 8th out of 84 anglers going into Day 2.

The peg was worth 25lb though if I could’ve fished properly. It’s on weight so I’m hoping for a nice and calm pole peg today to make the all-important top 15 money places. 35lb is best so far off the barbel peg and 20lb is fourth. Definitely need to draw well Day Two. Aching too much to draw the barbel peg though. Wish me luck!

Second day of the RiverFest Final and hoped to draw up on the Rack for a steady days pole fishing, or the barbel peg for glory, but got peg 60 on the Nelson Field. Loads of room but was told by everyone it would be really tricky with the conditions. Once again it was upstream rollers; perhaps not quite as bad as yesterday, but still enough to spark my wind tourettes, plus it was ripping through!

I’ve balled it with the ever-faithful Sonubaits Black Roach, Sweet Skimmer, River and Terre d’Arthur, then ran 2g to 4g long line rigs all day, flapping through as best as I could against the upgate wind. I also managed five or six perch on the flat float, but sadly no much-needed specimens.

I’ve ended up with a hard-earned 9lb 8oz which wasn’t too bad on the day. The top 15 overall weights won money and I was over the moon to be read out in 14th place overall, earning £650 for my efforts.

Really happy with that on my first RiverFest Final, especially as I’d never seen Burton Joyce until a fortnight ago. Well done Kyle Wainwright on the win, plus Charlie Gooch and Jason Jeenes who were 2nd and 3rd overall and the rest of the top 15.

Hats off to Dave Harrell for creating this amazing event, James Lewis and everyone at the Angling Trust for the excellent organisation, Bait-Tech for sponsoring it and Ashfield AC for having us on such a special stretch of river.

Now I’ve got a taste I’m definitely going to try my hardest to get back in the Final!

There once was a fisherman called Jon,

Fished the Trent with a bit of wind on.

Fished it to win,

Canoeist sunk in my swim!

Now where’s that #$@##€@ axe gone?!


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