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Festival Fever

Paul Glenfield accounts his prolific autumn event
Back in 2007, I was doing a Thames article at Clifton Hamden along with Dave Harrell and Jon Arthur. 

After catching a roach a chuck on pole and waggler, Dave asked me why nobody ran a Thames festival when the river is crying out for one!

In 2012, I asked Rachael if she’d like to run a three-day angling festival in 2013 on the Thames, and well to my surprise she said yes, but on the one condition that I did not fish! This was no problem for me. I got to spend time with her and felt that I was putting something back into the sport that I loved over the last 45 years.

So the 2013 Thames Festival got up and running with short notice. We got 48 anglers and some sponsorship from Peter Drennan in the shape of some rods and reels to raffle and felt it was a success.

I advertised the 2014 festival in the press and Facebook, within 10 days I got my full quotation of 60 anglers booked in!

The zones for this year's festival were A: Abingdon; B: Medley; C: Culham - all broken down into 10 or 11 pegs sections. The river was low clear and very little flow not ideal for fishing, but still it didn’t seem to effect sport at all!

Day One

John Beesley won Zone A with 15-13-0, taking roach and skimmers over groundbait on the pole at 13m and a 3lb 2oz perch over his chopped worm line at 6m from peg A18. Brett Cooper had 15-10-0 from peg A16 to finish second in the zone.

On pegs A1 to A11, Neil Richards won the section with 14-10-0 of skimmers. Second in that section was Sam Merry on Peg A1, who managed to line some roach up on the hemp at 14m and weighed in 1oz less than Neil.

Zone B was at Medley, where local angler Dave Kirk had drawn Peg B12. He worked with chop worm and casters at 14.5m and added roach from a line at 11m to end with 19lbs 1oz. This catch also included a bream of 4lb! River legend, Tony Marshall, had drawn Sandy Point Peg B19, a very good roach peg in the past and went to work at 16.5m on the pole and hemp long line using a 4x14 Chianti float to plunder the thames roach to 8ozs for second in zone and section with 18lbs.

Section B Pegs 1 to 11 was at the top end of Medley where Mike Bernson and Mark Lindsey were going head to head on Pegs B11 and B10 along with Micheal Buchwalder on B6 catching roach either caster fish or hemp roach with some chop fish thrown in all on the pole. Mike won the section with 17-7-0, with Mark second weighing 16-3-0 and Mr Buchwalder weighing 15-11-0 for third.

Zone C saw top Thames angler Paul Passmore make no mistakes after drawing peg C20 in the woods – a noted area for skimmers. Instead of balling in on the pole as most did, he cupped 10 balls in at 14m with some casters and chopped worms in, then clipped up his open ended feeder for just past the middle with worm on the hook or red maggot waited for an hour for the first of 12  skimmers taken from this line. He topped-up with a few more on the pole and 3lbs of roach at 4m with maggots, winning the section and the day with 22-15-0.

On Pegs C1 to C11, Daiwa Dorking captain Steve Saunders found him self on end Peg C1. He won this section with some quality roach and big perch and a 2lb hybrid cupping in casters over his grounbait line at 14m fishing a single caster on a 18 hook tied to 0.09mm hooklength. Second in that section was Bob Davis, who caught 16-5-0 of skimmers on the feeder with double red maggot.

Day Two

Abingdon Zone A saw Sensas Starlets man Joe Roberts drawn on Peg A6, where he put together a fine bag of skimmers and roach fishing tiny bits of worm on the hook again over groundbait at 13m to win zone. Steve Sanders managed another section win with 11lbs 11ozs fishing much the same as the day before on Peg A20.

The previous day's overall winner, Paul Passmore, bleaked-it for most of the match to finish third in that section from Peg A14, which was a good tactic as this was not a good peg in the festival.

At Medley, Neil Richards drew end Peg B22 and made the waggler and tares work, putting a level 16 lbs on the scales - all roach for another section win and a zone win. Pegs B1 to B11 at the top of Medley saw Sam Merry get the roach going on hemp again from peg B4 to put 11-9-0 on the scales.

In Zone C, Michael Buchwalder on Peg C16 balled-in groundbait at 13m and caught roach throughout the day to win the zone and the day with 19-2-0. Meanwhile, Tom Hobbs on C11 put together some roach and perch with three perch over 2lbs for 13-10-0 winning C1 to C11 on chopped worm at 7m and 14m. To show just how good the action was, we had 18 double figure weights on Day Two!

Day Three

We now had Neil Richards and Steve Sanders on minimum two-points, with Dave Kirk and Sam Merry on three points, then Michael Buchwalder and Paul Passmore on four. Going into the last day I felt some anglers would need some luck at the draw bag. After the draw my money was on Paul Passmore drawing peg 1 at Medley just below the lock. He went on the easily win the zone with 14-7-0. At the other end of Medley Dave Harrell was won the section with an all-out chopped worm attack at 14m, catching 14-1-0 of perch and a useful 4lb bream.

Simon Wilsmore made no mistakes in Zone C, winning with 12-13-0, catching small skimmers on feeder and  on a 4m whip catching bleak and dace. C1 to C11 was won by Dougie Forshaw on Peg C1, who was battling out with Maver Bait-Tech river legend Wayne Swinscoe on Peg C2. Dougie managed to beat Wayne by 1oz with a weight of 10lbs 6oz.

At Abingdon, Peg C2 came good again for Shaun Gould putting together a bream a few skimmers with small fish on the 13m line for 11lbs 9ozs.

The Final Presentation

My daughter and myself had some working out to do before the presentation at the Wagon And Horses pub, with a big buffet starting at 7.30pm and 64 cash prizes to give out, as well as a raffle of Drennan prizes! Nearly every one came back the buffet and did not disappoint !

Final Result

1 Paul Passmore (44-15-0) 5 Points
2 Neil Richards (40-2-0) 5 Points
3 Mark Lindsay (40-7-0) 6 Points
4 Simon Willsmore (39-3-0) 6 Points
5 Sam Merry (33-13-0) 7 Points
6 Steve Sanders (34-5-0) 8 Points

Just to sum up the festival, I feel the river stood up to the three days well. We had 67 double figure weights. Paul Passmore was a well deserved winner whose consistency is second to none around Oxford and on the upper Thames.

Of course I would like to thank all those who lent me scales, those who help with the weighing in, John Beesley for cutting out the pegs with me. Amish, who owns the pub put on a great breakfast and buffet.

A special thanks goes to my daughter Rachel Glenfield who without her I don't think I could have coped, even though she had the flu! Rachel would also like to thank all the anglers who chipped in buying her a lovely watch, presented by Dave Harrell - she was really over moon with it and thanks for the bottles of wine to Dave Roberts and Kevin Pack too!

A real thanks goes to all anglers that supported Rachel and myself - without you there would be no Thames Festival. Already bookings are being taken for next year, you can book on the festival by calling myself, Paul Glenfield on 07929 109572.

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