The River Calder hosted the opening qualifier for Riverfest 2017 and with the prize pool growing to a massive £39,500 it was inevitable that the 60 peg match would be fully booked.
Leeds star Dave Miles became the first angler to book a place in the big money November final when he put 22lb 6oz on the scales from peg 43 on the Calder Bank section.
The catch put Dave 4lb clear of his nearest challenger but it was achieved with a species that Dave himself didn’t expect to catch.
“My swim was really shallow and I was told at the draw that there was a good chance of dace and maybe an odd chub,” he said. “No-one mentioned bream as they are never normally caught from the shallow pegs where I was so imagine my surprise when I landed four two-pounders to go with my three chub, grayling and dace!
“There was a little band of slow water past the main current and I caught my fish by easing a tiny 2AAA Speci Waggler across there. I fed really carefully and only used about half a pint of maggots all match.
“I’m delighted to be through to the final on the Wye. It’s a venue I love and I’ll be going all out to win the £13,000 top prize!”
The top end section was a close run affair, which was eventually won by Ian Dawson, who has qualified for three years on the trot on this venue!
Going into the last hour, no-one knew who was going to win this zone as several anglers were in the running but Ian took the qualifying place with a level 15-0-0 mixed bag on waggler and caster from peg 8.
The middle zone proved to the hardest on the day but Shakespeare team man James Robbins turned on the style and came out on top with a 9-14-0 mixed catch on the waggler and pole with maggots from peg 25.
1. Dave Miles 22-6-0 (peg 43)
2. Steve Clegg 18-3-0 (peg 42)
3. Ian Dawson 15-0-0 (peg 8)
4. Mark Turner 13-5-0 (peg 13)
5. Darren Frost 12-8-0 (peg 17)
Dave Miles, Ian Dawson, James Robbins