This year’s Evesham Festival could be the best in decades as silvers go on the feed..
One of the biggest river festivals of the year is shaping up to be the best in decades following a string of qualifier weights that have stunned anglers and organisers alike.
The Evesham Festival sees the top anglers in the country contest the Shakespeare, Wychavon and the Match Fishing Team Championships the three days of the August bank holiday weekend on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham.
Qualifiers for the first two events have been running since February, but it’s recent matches that have seen the waterway where the events will be staged hit staggering form.
Already the match record for the stretch has been smashed twice this season, while the previous week’s qualifying action has seen the Avon’s roach come hard on the feed.
Last Saturday’s Wychavon competition delivered the first of a run of double-figure weights that sent Steve Ashmore through to the final with 10lb 11oz of mainly roach before Shakespeare Championship matches on Sunday and Wednesday really saw the figures rise.
The first competition saw an incredible bag of roach weighing in at 23lb 2oz fall to hemp tactics fished by angler Ian Shepher propelling him through the final. Behind him the rest of the top five anglers all posted double figures, with second-placed Tony Marshall weighing in 18lb 2oz of roach, again on hemp.
And the action continued last Wednesday where the latest Shakespeare Championship qualifier saw another big weight of 18lb 7oz amassed by winner Trevor Chalk, with the following pack in the top five again all posting 10lb plus nets thanks to the roach.
The superb run of form is being attributed to recent record rain fall that’s seen colour and pace added to the Avon, as Evesham Festival organiser Roger Mortimer explains:
"It's shaping up to be a fantastic weekend," Roger Mortimer told Angling News Week. "We've had unprecedented demand for tickets for the qualifying matches and the fishing has been the incredible.
“At the start of the season matches were being dominated by big weights of big fish, bream and chub. The coloured water from all the rain encouraged them to feed right through the match length. But since then, even as the colour has been dropping out the roach have gone barmy. It's as though someone sneaked down one night and stocked the river!"
"It's just what we needed after the washout of the early Summer. I can't wait for the final," he added.