Tom Lane wins Riverfest after nightmare Day 1

Angling Trust RiverFest 2015 Final
River Wye, Hereford (72 pegs)

No matter how bad things are in fishing, you should never give up. That’s an adage
Tom Lane demonstrated in spades by winning this year’s final on a river that showed two very different faces to the 72 competitors.
Weighing in a total of 43-10-0, the Lane’s Bait rod from Coventry took the £12,000 first prize. You would have got very long odds on him doing that on Sunday morning though because the opening five hours of action on the Saturday saw the 24-year-old muster just 1-10-0 from a poor peg.
Day 2 didn’t promise much better as the river rose by several feet and was raging through. He stuck to his guns from his peg on the tennis courts section, making its debut in this year’s final, and calmly dismantled the field with nine barbel for 43-0-0 to win the day and the title.
But it was so close, with Garbolino Blackmore Vale man Richie Tomala turning in two great performances of small-fish work to reply with 42-0-0 and miss out by just one of the Wye’s famed chub or barbel. Lincolnshire’s Alistair Ogilvie finished third on 36-8-0.
Tom, grandson of late former World Champion Billy, got the family name back on a famous trophy with a feeder attack from peg 98 on the tennis courts. Ironically, that was one down from where Lee Edwards had won the Saturday match from, but in very different conditions.
Tom adopted a sit and wait approach, casting into a big slack a quarter of the way across the river to just do enough.
“Day 1 was a total write off,” Tom said. “I’ve been fishing the Wye in matches for five years and know how bad peg 47 is. It can be hit or miss, but is more often miss and I really struggled for 1-10-0 of tiny dace on the feeder.
“It poured with rain all day and I felt pretty deflated, especially as we all knew that the river would be up a lot on Sunday and could be almost unfishable.”
He was right on that score because the Wye came up over the rowing club HQ’s steps, forcing the rowers off the river and seeing onlookers think that the anglers setting up must have been mad! Trees were ploughing downriver plus a million leaves and the river was a filthy brown colour – not the stuff of legend!
Tom found himself heading to peg 98 where 18lb had been caught the day before, but Sunday would be totally different. He didn’t fancy it, but flooded rivers can spring all sorts of surprises.
“I’ve fished the Wye before with over 12ft of extra water in it and it was desperate, so I didn’t expect a lot,” he explained.
“I planned to fish the feeder into the slack looking for barbel because they do live around that area. I also put in a pole line using a flat float to catch some roach as a back-up. I began on the feeder and nothing happened, had a quick look on the pole without a bite and feared the worst.”
“I did know that next to nothing had been caught around me so went back on the tip and had my first barbel of around 4lb quite quickly on a bunch of five maggots,” Tom continued. “Another fish followed after 20 minutes and that was much bigger. After that it was a bit of a sit and wait job because the fish came in little bursts. They were moving around in the slack so I had to keep casting around to try and get a bite. Fortunately, I only missed one all day and never lost a fish, but I still felt as though I hadn’t done enough to win, and that was almost the case.”
After taking two fish on maggot, Tom changed to a hair-rigged lobworm to keep picking the fish off, ending up on two hair-rigged 8mm pellets. He packed his 4oz Kamasan Blackcap blockend feeder with 4mm halibut pellets and geared up with 10lb Pro Gold mainline to a 3ft hooklink of the same material and size 10 Drennan Super Spade or Specimen hooks.
“The peg was actually quite free of snags so there weren’t too many dramas getting the fish in, but all the while I kept an ear open to the people stood behind me. They reckoned there were a few big bleak weights taken that might beat me,” he reflected.
“I felt as though I would need one more barbel to really seal things, but it didn’t happen. It may have been close, but it’s a tremendous feeling, especially as I’m an out-and-out river angler and there aren’t many events like this around. Mind you, I was one who was questioning whether the match should even have gone ahead in the first place!”


Overall result: 1 T Lane, Lane’s Bait, 44-10-0;
2 R Tomala, Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG, 42-0-0; 3 A Ogilvie, Sensas, 36-8-0; 4 L Edwards, Garbolino/ABC, 34-8-0; 5 B Brown, Sensas, 30-12-0; 6 M Buchwalder, Preston Innovations, 29-8-0; 7 I Ward, Frenzee, 29-4-0; 8 I Dawson, Tri-Cast Calder, 29-2-0; 9 R Hoskins, Daiwa Gordon League, 28-15-0; 10 S Willsmore, Drennan/D&A Tackle, 28-13-0.
Day 2 result: 1 T Lane, Lane’s Bait, 43-0-0;
2 R Tomala, Garbolino Blackmore Vale MG, 23-7-0; 3 A Ogilvie, Sensas, 18-6-0; 4 J Summerson, Garbolino RAF, 13-2-0; 5 I Dawson, Tri-Cast Calder, 12-4-0; 6 S Ashby, Sensas, 12-7-0.