Barford on the upper Warwickshire Avon is one of my favourite venues. It has varied fishing and good access, making it one of the best match venues on the Avon.
For various reasons, I have never had the chance to fish the summer festival here, so this year was my first time.
The festival is run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, rotating around three sections. One above the weir, where it is very deep and slow and two below the faster water.
Drawing peg five above the weir was not the draw I wanted. It is a poor peg for roach, so I just had to make the best of it. I scratched around all match on the pole for a few bites. I had a few fish over groundbait, a few roach on hemp, and a few small perch. Out of the blue, towards the end of the match, I netted a bonus perch over a pound which took me to 4lb and third in the section – a great start off a dodgy peg.
Drawing peg 69 below the weir was a great draw, one of five pegs I fancied. The peg runs onto the shallows above Barford Bridge and is a good dace peg and holds chub and barbel. I started on the whip to hand targeting dace with the Cadence CP200 whip elasticated with no eight elastic, in case I hooked a chub. The start was fantastic, with around 150 dace in the first couple of hours. Switching to a waggler on the Cadence CR10 14ft #3 Match fished downstream onto the ford found me a few chub late on to finish with 18lb 7oz for a section win. As I thought, the shallow pegs below the bridge threw up four double-figure weights, so it was close.
Another great draw, peg 88 below the weir. Although not an easy peg to fish in the summer with the vast amount of weed. I started on the whip again, 5m to hand. This was the only area of the peg with no weed. It was harder for the dace today. The river was so clear I could see the bottom and the dace flashing at the bait. I switched to the waggler on heavy gear and caught some big chub. It was hit-and-hold tactics, not giving them an inch to get into the weed. I landed six chub, which with the dace, gave me 20lb 12oz in total and a section win. I have the Cadence CR10 14ft #3 Match to thank for landing those chub, it’s a powerful rod, and for barbel and chub, it is unbeatable.
Back at the Granville Arms for the results, and it was soon apparent that I had won the festival, narrowly beating my good friend Tom Hitchman by a single point.
I am over the moon to win this festival. I have made so many friends at Barford over the years. It’s a special place for me.
Many thanks to the people who make this such a great event. Firstly, Colin Talbot for smoothly organising the festival. Colin fished well to take third place. Also, to James Robbins and Cadence Fishing for the generous sponsorship of the festival.
Most of all, I want to thank the Barford AA bank clearing team, who work hard to keep the pegs fishable. Well done to all involved!