Congratulations Tom Lane, RiverFest Champion 2015
After five months and twenty four qualifiers, the Angling Trust RiverFest 2015 competition reached its conclusion as 72 anglers descended upon the Hereford to compete for the title. The prestigious final was held on Hereford & District Angling Association on the River Wye, with a prize pool of over £34,000 and a top prize of £12,000 up for grabs.
After months of low water the Wye received some welcome rain in the week leading up to the final, resulting in fluctuating levels right up to and including the weekend of the final. As was the case in 2014, the forecast was showing heavy rain but conditions on Day One were good with 6ft showing on the gauge and the river carrying a little colour. Anglers were more concerned about water temperature which had dropped almost two degrees in the few days leading up to the final.
Day One started and continued in constant rain and competitors soon adopted a variety of tactics with some opting to target bleak on whips while others searched for perch, dace or roach on running line and the pole. The match length was split into A and B section located above and below the old railway bridge. Catches were evenly split between both sections and it was Welsh International Lee Edwards who led the way after the first day with a weight of 23lb 9oz from peg 97 in B section. Paul Hardy on peg 79 in B section and Simon Willsmore on peg 75 A section targeted bleak and weighed 21lb 7oz and 21lb 5oz respectively to finish second and third. Results showed that it was still an open competition as less than 6lb separated the top 10.
The heavy rain that fell to the west of the catchment on Saturday resulted in anglers being welcomed by a swollen and rising river on Day Two, which peaked at 11ft around mid day. For many anglers this would mean a big fish day or bust while some anglers fished slack water close in. A section provided the most reliable fishing in these conditions as twelve anglers recorded 10lb plus but it was down on peg 98 in B section that would provide the winner as 24 year old Tom Lane provided a scintillating performance that saw him storm through the field and rise from 62nd on Day One to first place by the close of play on Day Two to take the title of RiverFest Champion 2015 and a cheque for £12,000! The grandson of match fishing legend Billy Lane landed nine barbel weighing 43lb fishing lobworms or halibut pellets as hookbait with a 4oz feeder packed with 4mm halibut pellets as feed.
Another fantastic final in challenging conditions and all credit to Tom for his fantastic performance after enduring a difficult first day and many congratulations to him. It was a close run thing as Richard Tomala on peg 41 could have sneaked it with a few more fish and Alistair Ogilvie continued his fine year with another excellent performance and result,
The Angling Trust would like to thank all those who have contributed to RiverFest 2015 from the local organisers running qualifiers to Hereford & District Angling Association for hosting the final, match referee Tony Birt who did a fantastic job of officiating and our sponsors Thames Water, Severn Trent Water and Bait-Tech.
for RiverFest 2016 will begin soon and information will be available early in
Results can be found at the bottom of this page
pictured: Tom Lane,winner (center) Richard Tomala, runner up (left) Alistair Ogilvie, 3rd (right)