Dean Barlow looks back at a tough but nevertheless enjoyable Bank Holiday Weekend spent on the Warwickshire Avon for the three-day Evesham Festival.
The Evesham Bank Holiday weekend has always been a big part of my life and fishing career. It started way back in 1979, when I used to go with my dad, the late Frank Barlow. Over the years this riverbank has been graced with some of the best anglers the world has seen!
My weekend started on Peg 72 – not the best of draws. When I got to my peg I was in very good company with ‘Five Times’ (Alan Scotthorne) next peg, Simon Wilsmore above him, then Des Shipp and Sam Wildsmith! So it was going to be a tough day!
I set up 13 metres of Acolyte pole and found about 14ft of water. Two rigs were set up; a 1g and a 1.5g. At the start, seven balls of groundbait and five of double leam were thrown to the end of the pole.
A single bloodworm was impaled on the size 20 Fine Match hook and lowered into the water. Straight away it went under and a small roach was in the net. More followed until the end of the first hour when I couldn’t get a bite. With 21 roach and
a couple of perch in the net it wasn’t a bad start.
I decided to have a chuck in on the feeder. A small Kamasan Black Cap was cast to an overhanging tree hoping to entice a couple of bites. A couple of missed bites then a small perch followed by an eel of about a pound. Then, nothing until half an hour to go. I went back on my bloodworm swim and had a small fish every chuck until the end of the match.
The scales came and I weighed 5lb 5oz, which I was happy with. Five Times had 3lb and Simon had some lovely big roach for 8lb and 3rd in the match. That meant I picked up the £150 section by default!
Sunday saw me pull Peg 59 out of the bag, which is a terrible draw but I’d still give it a good go. It wasn’t to be, however, with only 12 roach and a couple of perch weighing 1lb 5oz. Leigh Gardner had some stamp roach for 2lb 14 oz next peg, but Five Times fished a blinder, catching 3lb of timy chub and bleak at 16 metres to win the section.
The Monday I spent walking the bank, watching and learning from some of the best anglers in the world. It’s a pleasure to watch these guys do their thing. There aren’t many sports where you can get close and talk to multiple world champions and internationals!
So, Evesham is over for another year. For me now the World Pairs in Ireland is nearly here and I cannot wait for it!