I couldn’t fish last nights qualifying match, but I made it to the venue just in time for the weigh in, and followed the scales along the match length. I watched Trevor Chalk weigh in 18lb of roach, saw Paul Glenfield tip 12lb chub and dace on the scales, and then watched fellow Yorkshire lad John Freeborn put two tench on the scales and secure a place in the Shakespeare final.
Three framing weights made up of three totally different species – and to think that not four weeks ago you needed to catch BREAM to do any good in the qualifying matches. If Evesham isn’t an interesting venue, then I don’t know what is.
My own campaign to qualify has so far been unsuccessful, but that’s not to say that I haven’t been enjoying it. I have fished six matches so far this season that could have seen me qualify for the Shakespeare or the Wychavon, and have had a fifth placing, three section wins and two blow outs – so it has proved profitable, even though I haven’t yet secured that golden ticket for the bank holiday weekend.
By my own admission, I have had some very nice draws which always help, I even drew peg one when it had won the match in three out of the four previous qualifiers. I don’t mind telling you that I literally ran to the peg, fully expecting a bumper bag of bream – but alas they seemed to have gone, and haven’t shown in the peg in any match since.
I think my most enjoyable days fishing was on peg 22, which is just below the town bridge. With a lot of colour in the river, I balled groundbait just five metres from the bank and caught perch, roach, gudgeon and bleak for a 7-10-0 total. It was literally a bite every chuck in, and the fact that it earned me fifth spot and a £110 pick up was the icing on an already very juicy cake.
It has also been nice to see some new faces on the bank at Evesham. I mentioned in my last blog how pleased I was for Nick Crouch, a mate of mine from Sheffield and until this season a river fishing virgin who broke the venue record with an 86lb haul on the opening weekend. John Freeborn, who qualified in yesterdays match is another new face on the bank this season. Having seen him fish in his native Yorkshire, I know he will be a big danger come festival weekend.
Then there is Adam Rumble, another angler who is new to river fishing and came down to observe,before deciding to have a go himself. I nearly fell off my box last weekend, when he rang me mid match and told me he had six eels in the net- normally at Evesham that would mean a 4-6lb net – but they were very small and only weighed 2-11-0. Still, a noble effort considering it was his first trip to the river, and it was nice to hear that he is keen to come back for more!
With the river fishing so well without bloodworm, it is scary to think how well it will fish with it allowed come the dedicated qualifiers in a couple of weeks time!
Tom Scholey is Pole Fishing magazine's Editorial Assistant, and a keen match angler.