More than 600 of the country’s finest anglers will line the River Huntspill, South Drain and Kings Sedgemoor Drain this weekend to compete in the most prestigious event in the angling calendar – the Division One National Championships.

 This year’s competition, which takes place on Saturday (6 September), includes no fewer than three world champion anglers who will be among the 63 teams chasing the National Champion title.

 Environment Agency staff have been busy preparing the watercourses in time for the top-flight tournament. Excess weed has been removed from river channels and cut-aways created on the banks to form new ‘swims’.

 The improvements have been carried out by the Environment Agency’s fishery, recreation and biodiversity team and operations delivery staff who used a special boat for the weed cutting.

 The tournament is being staged by the National Federation of Anglers (NFA) in association with the Environment Agency and Bridgwater Angling Association. It is sponsored by the photography company, Pentax.

 Dave Lloyd from the Environment Agency said: “The staging of the National Championships in Somerset is a marvellous opportunity for the Environment Agency to demonstrate the work it does to support anglers and protect the environment.

 “The National is angling’s Blue Ribbon event attracting the country’s very best fishermen at the pinnacle of the sport. We’ve put in a lot of time and effort to ensure the fishery is in tip top condition so that everything runs smoothly on the day.”

 This year, 630 anglers will take to the bank in teams of 10 to compete for the top prize – a place in next year’s World Club Championship. Participants include triple World Champion Matt Godfrey and Under 22 World Champion Callum Dicks. The ladies are also well represented with new World Champion Emma Pickering taking part.

 On Sunday (7 September) budding anglers can try their hand at fishing at a ‘Learn to Fish’ day on the River Huntspill. He event is free and open to people of all ages. Families are especially welcome. All equipment will be provided and professional National Federation of Anglers (NFA) coaches available to provide tuition.

 The event will be held at Sloway Lane (opposite Laburnum House), West Huntspill on Sunday between 9.30 – 5.00. It is being organised by the Environment Agency in association with the NFA and Bridgwater Angling Association. For further details contact Dave Lloyd at the Environment Agency on 01278 484655.