The Angling Trust RiverFest 2018 had its first year on new final location, The River Severn at Shrewsbury, with the Quarry and County Ground sections being used. Conditions on the two-day final were unseasonably warm and this saw a lot of silverfish being caught, especially in the county ground section.
Day one saw a few stand out performances and none more so than Lee Harries 28lb 10oz from the Quarry peg 11. This was made up of eight chub to nearly 5lb and was predominantly caught on the waggler and bronze maggot. Also in the mix was Cadences’ James Robbins who’d drawn on peg 90. James worked hard shipping 13 meters of pole and making his way to 18lb 6oz of mainly dace with a few roach thrown in, again on maggot. Also making up good weights were Adam Richards 24lb 12oz and Lee Wright 20lb 1oz 8 drams, who were pegged next to each other on 49 and 50. Both gents making the most of good shoals of dace and roach on the pole and waggler and both men taking the odd bonus perch on worm. With so many quality anglers in and around the 20lb mark it certainly wasn’t a done deal.
Day Two saw similar mild conditions to the first and a few expected the roach to come on strong. However, with the extra bait on the first day, the river fished a little slower on day two and the big chub in A section failed to show. It was James Robbins who put together the best weight on the day with 18lb 15oz of quality roach on the pole and maggot, giving him 37lb 5oz which was good enough for second in the final.
Second on the day, but combining for the overall win was Lee Wright, who had his second big weight of silvers with 18lb 2oz. Again, Lee caught these across both pole and waggler from peg 63 this time. Balling it in on his pole line with around 6 balls, with a further three cupped with pinkie and hemp inside. Roach made up the majority of Lee’s weight on day two and gave him a combined weight of 38lb 3oz 8drams. This was just enough to see him crowned RiverFest 2018 Champion.
Rounding out the top three for the weekend was Day 1 leader Lee Harries. Drawing on peg 66, Lee only really had small silvers to go at and put together 7lb 6oz of small dace and roach, combining for 36lb dead and rounding out an incredibly close top three.
Thanks first and foremost must go to Dave Harrell who is standing down as RiverFest Lead Organiser. Dave has been an inspirational organiser, creating the contest from scratch and putting in countless hours, a huge thanks from all of us here at the Angling Trust. Further thanks to Shrewsbury Town fisheries for their assistance with organising and running the final. Thanks to our sponsors Severn Trent Water, Thames Water, and Bait-tech and finally to all the local organisers and anglers who make this competition the finest in running water, we hope to see you all again next year.
1. Lee Wright 38.3.0 6. Leigh Gardner 23.2.0
2. James Robbins 37.5.0 7. Mark Downes 22.14.0
3. Lee Harries 36.0.0 8. Lee Edwards 22.3.0
4. Adam Richards 31.7.0 9. Lee Bennett 21.6.0
5. Ian Hughes 24.13.0 10. Steve Maher 21.4.8
Pictured: The top three from RiverFest 2018 with winner Leigh Wright centre holding trophy, Jamie Robbins (right) and Lee Harries (left).