The biggest angling festival in the country takes place this weekend on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham and, judging by recent results, it looks set to be a weekend that will be dominated by big fish catches.
Bream to 6lb have been featuring in match weights up to 30lb, along with tench to 5lb and some very big chub.
Roach have been conspicuous by their absence, though, and many anglers are now convinced that the terrible flood of last July, which saw levels rise to a record 18 feet above normal, has taken its toll on stocks.
“Although I would love to see a roach-dominated weekend I can’t see it happening,” former Shakespeare Championship winner Wayne Swinscoe said. “I can see most competitors over the weekend going for big fish at some point and I won’t be surprised if a few anglers come back with a decent catch of bream or a couple of tench. That said, there have been festivals in the past when the roach suddenly switched on and ended up as the target fish, so I guess anything could happen.
“I’d be happy to draw an area where I felt I had a good chance of roach and bream so I’d have options available to me.”
The festival gets underway with the Shakespeare Championship on Saturday, August 23rd. This match carries a £5,000 top prize and a prize fund in excess of £10,000.
This event is followed by the Wychavon Championship on Sunday, August 24th. This match has a top prize of £2,500. Finally it’s the Match Fishing Team Championship on Monday, August 25th where 14 top teams go into battle for one of the most prestigious team titles in the calendar.
The matches all take place from 11am till 4pm and there will be a bookie in attendance over the weekend for spectators to have a flutter on their favourite anglers and teams with.
Last years festival attracted over 40,000 visitors and festival co-organiser and Working Group member Dave Harrell is expecting another bumper crowd again this time round. “The Evesham Angling Festival is a very special three days for many people,” he said. “It grows in size every year and there are many side attractions apart from the fishing for the whole family to come along and enjoy. The river is carrying extra water and colour and I’m expecting some good weights of big fish to take the main prizes.”