Richie Tomala Qualifies For His Second Riverfest Final

Drennan RAF angler Richie Tomala recently made the 220-mile round trip to the River Yare at Langley for the latest Riverfest qualifier.

“Having watched the Yare Festival and open results deteriorate daily over the past week, coupled with it being a flooding tide all day, most knew the going would be tough and many predicted this would be a low weight pole match levelling the playing field.”

Drawing peg 81 in Zone A, Richie did not fancy his chances, this area had reportedly not fished well this year.

However, things rapidly improved. The first bonus of the day was that he could park right behind his peg – always welcomed on a natural venue! The second bonus was despite it being in the draw bag, peg 82 was not drawn due to anglers not turning up.

Richie decided to attack his peg on the pole, setting up three different pole rigs incorporating 2, 3 and 4g floats and 4-6 Aqua Bungee, which is perfect for deep water roach fishing.

“On the River Yare, it’s vital to remember the tide rises some two feet on a full flooding tide, so always leave enough line to adjust the depth. Also, remember as the pace increases, a heavier float will be required to create the same effect.”

As the tide would vary greatly, he elected to fish a ground bait ‘nugget’ approach rather than balling it in. Using this method you can get through a lot of groundbait if it works. Richie made a 5kg mix of Black Lake, Gros Gardon, Roach Noir and Secret, making it slightly over wet to carry straight to the bottom.

At the start, he elected for the 2g rig, starting 3 inches over depth and letting the float run at natural pace. “Red maggot worked well on the hook and I started catching small roach every run through whilst feeding a small ’10 pence’ size nugget with around 10 casters in,” he added.

After an hour, Richie had caught about 2lb and could see that no one else was catching. Doing the maths he knew if he could keep this up he would do ok but he still felt that 12-15lb would be needed to qualify. As a result, he started to play around with the depth and hook bait and soon discovered the bulk of the fish were sat 3-5 inches off the bottom. He also switched to a caster and started to hit more bites.

By the third hour, and now on the 4g rig with the river rapidly rising, he was catching well and knew he had between 8-9lb. He was, however, feeding heavily and had only brought 2.5 pints of caster with him, hence, at his current feed rate he would run out before the end of the match. This presented him with a tough decision: either cut back the feed or plunder the peg. “Catching well, I decided to plunder the peg and had a great 4th hour feeling he now had double his weight. As expected, in the last hour I did run out of caster! I then tried to feed red maggot instead but it was not the same, and my catch rate dropped due to missing bites.

Richie ended up weighing 12lb 6oz to win the section as well as the zone to qualify for his second Riverfest final in 3 years. Pleased wiht his result, he now just had to wait to see if he had framed. As he expected, the lack of extra bait proved costly as 12lb 8 oz, 12lb 10 oz and 12lb 12 oz all got in the main frame; the match was won with a 15lb weight.