The fourth Avon Roach Project and Barbel Society joint annual Avon Fundraiser Event was held on the Somerley Estate Waters of the Hampshire Avon and was another great success, with sixty three taking part in a ‘friendly fishing match to the death’, where the winner on the day is the captor of the best specimen of any species.

The event raised just over five thousand pounds which will provide a much needed boost for the river which has been badly hit by cormorant predation in recent years.

This year, with a rising, colouring river, Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter headed for some slacker water and sat it out on the pellet feeder for a barbel of seven pounds eleven ounces which was enough to take the title over the handful of chub and dace which was all that was caught on a difficult day.

The fishing was followed by a wonderful three course meal at the Tyrrells Ford Country Inn and an amazing auction of around fifty lots, which included rods, reels, guided and exclusive fishing days, books and artwork.

Passion for Angling star Chris Yates donated some highly desirable items for auction including signed books, drawings and paintings as well as some traditional items of tackle. Other donors included Ringwood Tackle, Davis Tackle of Christchurch, Drennan and Masterline.

The event is organised by Budgie Price, Trevor Harrop and Pete Reading, and all proceeds are split equally between The Avon Roach Project and the Barbel Society Research and Conservation arm, and used exclusively for the Hampshire Avon.

Trevor Harrop said:
“Through the eye watering generosity of the folks who attend these annual events, we are able not only to take care of all the day to day running costs of the Roach Project, but also take it a stage further with a number of vital habitat restoration initiatives to improve the survival chances for young fish of all species including our roach.

We plan to co-fund and front a number of fry bay excavations and stream reinstatements, which will act as important sanctuary areas.

We are proud of our great relationship with the local EA fisheries department, and this partnership has borne further fruit with the offer of matchfunding for these initiatives. This means we can do a lot more with the money raised at our annual event. Some of the EA guys even came along and supported us on the day which was really great to see.”

Martin Salter said:
Apart from the odd charity outing in recent years my matchfishing days have been few and far between so my fellow competitors have had little to fear from me. However, thanks to a lucky barbel a brand new prize now sits proudly over the fireplace.

The Avon Roach Project annual fundraising match is more than just another good cause. It is a declaration of support for the wonderful work of Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price whose sterling efforts seek to return those beautiful roach to the middle reaches of the river where once they fulfilled countless anglers’ dreams.

The Avon roach were the biggest and best in Britain and have swum these waters since the Ice Age. As the cormorant population exploded out of control in the nineties, so the roach declined to the point where the EA stock surveys showed the middle Avon all but devoid of silver fish. The Angling Trust has put the inspirational work of the Avon Roach Project at the front and centre of our Action on Cormorants campaign.”