The Evesham Angling Festival attracted 44,000 visitors last year. It’s the biggest angling event in the country and this year it carries an increased prize kitty of £27,750! Dave Harrell, editor of Match Fishing magazine, looks forward to the three day angling extravaganza…

The Evesham Angling Festival weekend has been a special three days for me since the early 1980s. I was lucky enough to win the Saturday event in 1988, when it was known as the John Smiths, and also managed to win the Wychavon Championship in 1989 and 1992. I have also been fortunate enough to be in several winning teams in the Bank Holiday Monday team event, all of which hold very special memories for me after fishing alongside great names such as Ken Giles, Stan Piecha, Frank Barlow and Wayne Swinscoe.
The festival was originally the brainchild of Dick Derrington, who organised a competition called the Colt 45 back in 1978. From humble beginnings, the festival grew and grew and became a weekend that every top match angler in the country wanted to be a part of. It has now become a huge event that’s attended each year by more than 40,000 visitors, and every top match angler still wants to win on all of the days.
The fishing down the years has changed a lot, though. In the early days it was all about anglers catching roach, dace and chub but now many other species play a part. Nobody is ever quite sure what weight is going to win nor does anyone know whether that weight will be made up of small fish or one or two big fish like barbel or even carp.
Methods on the venue, which has depths from as little as four feet to as much as 14 feet along its 70 pegs, are also varied. To get the very best results from any situation that they’re likely to be faced with, anglers will need to be very prepared with plenty of pole rigs, running-line rigs and feeder gear. Baits will also need to be carefully considered.
The qualifiers for the Shakespeare Championship and the Abu Garcia Wychavon Championship over the past few weeks have seen some very impressive fish caught. It wouldn’t surprise me to see someone win the individual matches with a couple of big fish in the form of barbel or carp. That said, it wouldn’t shock me either to see these matches won with roach catches, if the right angler finds him or herself on the right pegs to do so, while there could be bream weights if there is colour in the river over the weekend. The matches could even be won with tench – that’s how varied the fishing can be.
The Match Fishing Team Championship will be contested by 14 teams of five from the top squads in the country. This is the only match of the season on the venue where bloodworm and joker are allowed and it’s an event that’s decided on points rather than weight. To do well in this one, each team member needs to winkle out every last ounce to get good points, and if last year’s match is anything to go by then we could well be in for the best Avon roach match of the season!
There will be host of top names to watch over the three days, so if you’ve never been to an Evesham Angling Festival weekend I sincerely hope that you can make it this year. In addition to the fishing, there’s a huge tented village with loads of tackle bargains and attractions for all the family to enjoy. There will also be a bookmaker in attendance for you to have a flutter on your favourite anglers.
So, who are the favourites? Well, a lot will depend on conditions, and whether roach or big fish dominate the matches of course. If it’s big fish, anyone could win but I’ve got a sneaking feeling that it could be roach. Tips well worth an each-way bet are regular venue winners Wayne Swinscoe, Steve Ashmore, Tony Skinner and Leigh Gardner. In the team stakes I reckon that it’s sure to be a shoot-out between Dorking, Saints, Shakespeare, Starlets and Van Den Eynde. If you take my advice and have a bet on any of my choices and win, don’t forget you owe me a beer afterwards! Enjoy the festival and hopefully I’ll see you there!
Dave Harrell

THE MATCHES
Venue: Warwickshire Avon – Evesham Town Waters and Hampton Ferry

 

Shakespeare Championship
Saturday, August 29th
70 pegs
Draw: 9am
Fishing: 11am to 4pm
Prize money
1st £6,000
2nd £2,000
3rd £1,000
4th £800
5th £500
Plus seven 10-peg section prizes of £150

 

Abu Garcia Wychavon Championship
Sunday, August 30th
70 pegs
Draw: 9am
Fishing: 11am to 4pm
Prize money
1st £3,000
2nd £2,000
3rd £1,000
4th £500
5th £250
Plus seven 10-peg section prizes of £150

 

Match Fishing Team Championship
Monday, August 31st
70 pegs (14 teams of five anglers)
Draw: 9am
Fishing: 11am to 4pm
Prize money
Team
1st £3,000
2nd £1,500
3rd £1,000
Individual
1st £750
2nd £500
3rd £250
Five section prizes of £150

 
Click on www.total-fishingclub.com – the UK’s No1 online match fishing club – to win a trip to the world match fishing championships, and save money off tackle

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