By Liam Moakes 29/08 Updated: 29/08 11:35
RIVER legend Dave Harrell proved just why he is known as the King of the Avon by adding a second Evesham Angling Festival Shakespeare Championship title to his already impressive portfolio at the weekend.
After drawing peg 27 on the Evesham Town water, Harrell chose to buck the trend set by most of the field and opted not to ball in with groundbait and joker.
"I have long been convinced that the commotion of anglers balling in groundbait can make bigger fish like barbel back away," he said.
"For this reason, I decided to let the anglers around me do this, while I simply cast out a small open ended feeder stuffed with dampened pellets, with an 11mm halibut pellet on the hook.
"On my second cast of the day, around 15 minutes in, my rod arched over and a 13lb 5oz beast was hooked. I don't mind admitting that I was more than a bit nervous as I slipped the net under it - as many were predicting that the match would be a low weight affair."
With this monster in the bag, the rest of Harrell's match revolved largely around sitting on the same method in the hope of another pull, although he did add a few small dace to his net, to take his total to 14-0-0.
"I am delighted to have added a second Shakespeare trophy to my cabinet," he added.
"I have now won this event twice, the Wychavon Championship twice and the team match once - a feat I am extremely proud of.
"I am going to use the £6,000 winner's purse to treat my partner Becky to a much deserved holiday."
Romping home in second place was England ace Will Raison, who made the most of fancied peg 35 on the mouth of the River Isbourne.
Raison caught roach on bloodworm and joker early on in the match, before adding five good chub to his net on waggler and maggot tactics.
Local rod Gary Smith grabbed third spot, catching a bream on bloodworm early on in the session, a host of small roach to go with it and a bonus chub on waggler.
Result: 1 Dave Harrell (DH Angling/ Bait Tech) 14-0-0 (peg 27); 2 Will Raison (Daiwa/ Sensas) 10-10-0 (peg 35); 3 Gary Smith (Worcester Sports) 8-4-0 (peg 6); 4 Alan Scotthorne (Drennan/ Sensas) 6-11-0 (peg 8); 5 Leigh Gardner (Shakespeare Superteam) 6-9-8 (peg 36).
FIVE-TIME world champion Alan Scotthorne lifted the Wychavon Championship trophy for the second time in his illustrious career after a remarkable final on a coloured River Avon.
With water moving into the river overnight, the resident bream and skimmer shoals fed throughout the match length, meaning nearly 14lb was needed to make the main list prizes!
Drawn on peg 45, Scotthorne based his match around bloodworm and joker, throwing in 15 balls of Sensas River and Terre De River on an 11-metre pole line.
It was not long before the first of six bream fell to his bloodworm hookbait and, with plenty of smaller roach, skimmers and hybrids coming to the net in between, he wasted no time in putting together a winning haul.
"I am delighted to have got my hands back on the Wychavon trophy, especially as I have been having a bit of a bad run over the last few months," he said.
"I have been fishing the Warwickshire Avon here at Evesham since the early 80s and have always found it a really challenging but rewarding venue.
"The bream that dominate certain matches now never used to figure when I first started coming - it used to be a dace and chub river!"
In second place was another river legend, Wayne Swinscoe. After drawing peg two, he also pinned his faith in bloodworm and joker, balling in ten good sized balls on a 13-metre pole line.
He enjoyed a good first hour, taking a couple of 3lb bream early on in the match, before catching hybrids and roach regularly for the rest of the session for a 19-6-0 total.
Former Shakespeare champion Rob South did not have any bream as part of his third placed 17-2-0 net, although he did catch three barbel!
South set up just one rod to fish feeder and pellet a third of the way across the river and his gamble paid off and his three whiskers plus a 3lb chub took him to a 17-2-0 total.
Result: 1 Alan Scotthorne (Drennan/Sensas) 23-7-0 (peg 46); 2 Wayne Swinscoe (Maver Bait-tech) 9-6-0 (peg 2); 3 Rob South 17-3-0 (peg 31); 4 Dennis Lipscombe 14-8-0 (peg 66); 5 Rob Middleton (Shakespeare) 13-5-0 (peg 48).
KAMASAN STARLETS won the Match Fishing Team Championship, providing a dramatic finale to the Evesham Festival weekend.
With 14 of the country's top teams taking part, competition was always going to be intense, but few would have predicted the team result would still be hanging in the balance as the last of the 70 anglers was being weighed in.
Last year's champions Daiwa Dorking were favourites to take victory and many thought they had done enough to win the title for a third time.
As the weigh-in started on the final section, Dorking were leading by two points, but when Starlets skipper Mark Downes weighed in an impressive 8-7-8 it signalled a dramatic end to the day.
It was common knowledge that Dorking's Simon Willsmore had caught well on the end peg, but many thought he had more than the 6-9-0 he put on the scales. This gave Starlets four points and victory with a 59-point total.
Downes said: "I was delighted with our draw in the morning, although I knew that Dorking and Barnsley had good draws as well and that we would have to get things right on the day if we wanted to take victory.
"While many anglers sat for the big fish that so often figure in the frame weights at Evesham, we got our heads down with bloodworm and joker - trying to eek as much as we could from the river to gain valuable section points.
"After an initial bombardment of groundbait and soil, we started off targeting roach, and many including myself had a good first hour.
"As is often the case at Evesham, things got tougher as the day wore on and it was only by swapping between rigs and targeting other species such as perch that we were able to edge in front of rival teams. After several near misses in recent years, it is great to finally get our hands on the winners trophy!"
In the individual stakes, events took a similarly dramatic twist as the festival record got broken for a second time in the space of just 24 hours!
After drawing peg 27 that won the Shakespeare Final on Saturday, Daiwa Gordon League rod Martyn Howard set his stall out for barbel fishing an open ended feeder stuffed with dampened 4mm pellets and an 11mm hair rigged halibut pellet on the hook.
After two hours of the match, he landed the first of four barbel, which gave him a record-smashing 39-12-0 total.
Results: Team - 1 Kamasan Starlets 59pts; 2 Daiwa Dorking 57pts; 3 Ultimate Barnsley Blacks 52pts.
Individual - 1 Martyn Howard (Daiwa Gordon League) 39-12-0 (peg 27); 2 Tony Skinner (Shakespeare Superteam) 10-4-0 (peg 14); 3 Mark Downes (Kamasan Starlets) 8-7-8 (peg 7).
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