NEW VENUES AND MIDWEEK QUALIFIERS FOR RIVERFEST 2023
The UK’s number one river fishing competition gets underway again in June and this year there are some new venues added as well as a few midweek qualifiers.
The matches start on Friday June 16th on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham, a new venue for 2023 and the 26 match qualifying series will see 84 anglers make it through to the big money final at Burton Joyce.
Other new venues for this year include the River Trent at Collingham, where big weights of barbel and chub will be the target. Further up the river there will be a Wednesday qualifier on the Cuttle Brook, Ingleby and Branston Golf Course sections, which have been given a complete overhaul in recent seasons and there will be other midweek qualifiers at Newark and at Burton-on-Trent.
The two-day final takes place over the weekend of September 16th and 17th with a prize pot in excess of £50,000, subject to ticket sales. The winner will receive £14,000 and there are fourteen other main list prizes plus six peg section prizes to be paid out.
Tickets will be available from Tuesday 21st March (in two rounds as before) and they remain at £35, the same price as they’ve been for the past two years.
RiverFest creator Dave Harrell said, “Every year we try to develop the competition and make it even better and putting some of the qualifiers on midweek dates has allowed me to avoid too many weekend clashes on the same day.”
“I’m excited about the new venues we’ve added and am expecting some really good battles between June and September as anglers try to get into the 84 final places.”
RIVERFEST 2023 – QUALIFIER DATES AND VENUES
Friday 16th June – WARWICKSHIRE AVON, EVESHAM (60)
Saturday 17th June – RIVER CALDER, MIRFIELD (60)
Wednesday 21st June – RIVER TRENT, NEWARK (80)
Saturday 24th June – RIVER SEVERN, BEWDLEY (60)
Saturday 1st July – RIVER TRENT, CAYTHORPE (60)
Sunday 2nd July – RIVER TRENT, NEWARK (80)
Sunday 2nd July – RIVER MEDWAY, BARMING (40)
Saturday 8th July – RIVER SEVERN, BRIDGNORTH (60)
Sunday 9th July – WARWICKSHIRE AVON, STRATFORD (60)
Saturday 15th July – RIVER TRENT, CUTTLE BROOK AND INGLEBY (40)
Sunday 16th July – RIVER SOAR, SUTTON (60)
Saturday 22nd July – RIVER TRENT, BURTON JOYCE (80)
Sunday 23rd July – RIVER WEAVER, NORTHWICH (60)
Wednesday 26th July – RIVER TRENT, NEWARK (80)
Saturday 29th July – RIVER DON, SPROTBOROUGH (60)
Saturday 29th July – RIVER NENE, OUNDLE (60)
Sunday 30th July – WARWICKSHIRE AVON, STRATFORD (60)
Saturday 5th August – RIVER THAMES, CLANFIELD (60)
Sunday 6th August – TIDAL TRENT (80)
Sunday 13th August – RIVER TRENT, COLLINGHAM (60)
Saturday 19th August – RIVER TRENT, BURTON JOYCE (80)
Sunday 20th August – RIVER TRENT, TRENT LOCK (60)
Wednesday 23rd August – RIVER TRENT, CUTTLE BROOK, INGLEBY, GOLF COURSE (60)
Wednesday 30th August – RIVER TRENT, BURTON-ON-TRENT (60)
Saturday 2nd September – RIVER THAMES, READING (60)
Sunday 3rd September – RIVER THAMES, ABINGDON AREA (60)
Sunday 3rd September – TIDAL TRENT (80)
PRACTICE OPEN – up to 84 pegs
Saturday 9th September – RIVER TRENT, BURTON JOYCE
Saturday 16th September – RIVER TRENT, BURTON JOYCE (DAY ONE) 84 pegs
Sunday 17th September – RIVER TRENT, BURTON JOYCE (DAY TWO) 84 pegs
Tickets will be sold in 2 rounds:
Round 1: Opens 10.00am Tuesday 21st March 2023 & closes at 23.59 on Sunday 2nd April 2023. Maximum of 1 ticket per angler in this round.
Round 2 Opens 10.00am on Tuesday 4th April 2023, no restriction on the number of tickets that can be purchased. Round 2 ticket sales close at 12.00 noon Thursday 15th June 2023 for this qualifier.
Sit back and enjoy the RiverFest 2022 final in all its glory; bustling barbel, bin lid bream, and reams of roach all play their part as our cameras follow all the highs and lows across the weekend.
LEE EDWARDS WINS £14,000 RIVERFEST FINAL ON TRENT
River expert Lee Edwards is the 2022 Angling Trust RiverFest champion in a two-day event won with barbel but supported by superb silverfish catches.
Lee, from Caerphilly, South Wales, added the title and £14,000 paycheck to an incredible list of running water honours which include river records and championship victories.
The Wales international, who got through from to the final from the Warwickshire Avon qualifier in July, drew the famous barbel peg on the Nelson’s Field stretch on the first day and made the most of it with a superb display of feederfishing to take 14 barbel and three chub for an 88lb 13oz total.
Lee used a blockend feeder with hemp and caster and fed double pouches of hemp over the top, picking off fish steadily through the day with caster the best hookbait.
A draw at the top end of the Ferry Field on day two saw him focus on silvers on both pole and feeder to boost his overall weight and his target of 11lb 1oz – which would take him to a 100lb total – was surpassed thanks to a net of dace and perch plus a bonus 2lb barbel and a rogue grayling taking him to 14lb 15oz and a 103lb 12oz finish.
“This was the one I’ve wanted to win for ages,” admitted Lee, who had the honour of winning the 10th RiverFest final staged. “I knew the first day catch would put me in a good place, but you never know so it was a nervy second day for me. I really struggled in the middle of the match but caught dace well on the groundbait feeder in the last hour and the barbel was a handy bonus.”
Overnight temperatures were distinctly autumnal and coupled with low levels and flow it proved a tricky weekend for the 78 competitors although the leading weights were high and there were some fine back up catches of silverfish to over 20lb each day.
It was a big weight of bream which claimed the runner-up spot on day one and pushed the captor, Toby Bunting, to second overall after the two matches.
Local lad Toby, from Newark, drew the roadside ‘wires’ – permanent peg 19 – and finished with 69lb 9oz, backing it up with just 3lb 9oz on day two for a £7,000 payday.
His day one haul was made up of 13 bream all taken on groundbait feeder cast three-quarters of the way across the river with either worm or corn on the hook.
The bulk of Toby’s catch, 11 fish, came during a feeding spell in the first two hours with two further fish boosting his catch late on.
Those not on the noted pegs targeted silvers and the top weights saw a mix of river experts and England internationals lead the way with Cameron Hughes delivering 28lb 14oz, Jordan Holloway 26lb, Mark Turner on 24lb 12oz, Sean Ashby with 21lb 11oz, Ken Pacey with 20lb 11oz, and Alan Scotthorne with 19lb 10oz.
Day two saw Paul Passmore take 45lb 1oz of chub on the feeder from his peg in the Ferry Field, a catch that turned out to be the best across the board on the day.
It helped him to third spot for the second year in a row, his day one catch of 12lb 4oz adding up to 57lb 5oz and earning him £5,000.
Fourth was filled by Chris Hallows, who headed to the famed barbel swim at Nelson’s Field, although it proved a tougher nut to crack on the second day, with eight fish falling to his feeder tactics for a 43lb 14oz finish. That was enough to propel Chris to 4th place overall with 54lb 13oz in total.
England international Cam Hughes showed his quality once again with an amazing 25lb 2oz of pole-caught roach from the Rack section on day two to add to his 28lb 14oz from day one, securing him fifth spot overall, just ahead of his England teammate Sean Ashby on 47lb 3oz.
RIVERFEST 2022 TOP 10
1 Lee Edwards, 103lb 12oz
2 Toby Bunting, 73lb 2oz
3 Paul Passmore, 57lb 5oz
4 Chris Hallows, 54lb 13oz
5 Cam Hughes, 54lb
6 Sean Ashby, 47lb 3oz
7 Jordan Holloway, 41lb 4oz
8 Matt Hodgetts, 38lb 15oz
9 Tony Marshall, 33lb 6oz
10 Rich Offler, 30lb 14oz