With bright sunshine and a low clear river, the first Angling Trust RiverFest qualifier of the season held on Sunday 22nd June was fished in far from ideal conditions, but the River Calder at Mirfield didn’t disappoint as 17 of the 60 anglers returned double figure weights.

The match was won by Drennan Barnsley Blacks stalwart Keith Hobson with 25-14-0 of mainly chub from peg 46 on the Calder Bank Road section. Waggler and caster tactics saw Keith land fish up to 2-8-0, but it was a close run thing as he needed a late last gasp chub, landed in the dying seconds, to secure victory and a place in the big money River Wye final in November.

The second qualifying place went to Nottingham angler Simon Heaton on the Peartree section. The Maver Bait-Tech grouped angler used a waggler and caster approach, three quarters across the river for a mixed catch of roach and perch totalling 13-4-0.

Completing the qualification places at the Ship Inn zone was Stuart Tate from York. A member of the Helperby and Braffereton AC, Stuart employed stick float tactics, feeding with casters and used double red maggot hookbait to tempt 40 perch for an 8-7-0 total.

Unluckiest angler on the match was Mark Halksworth, one of last year’s finalists at Peg 42 below the old weir. Mark was on course to win for much of the match but his 25-6-0 total saw him finish an agonising 8 oz behind the match winner.

Top 6 individual results
1. Keith Hobson 25-14-0
2. Mark Halksworth 25-6-0
3. Jim Evans 16-2-0
4. Ian Dawson 15-4-0
5. Darren Middleton 14-14-0
6. Simon Heaton 13-4-0

The second RiverFest qualifier match of 2014 moves to the River Swale, Morton on Saturday 28th June.