With just a few days to go until the start of the river season, the UK’s leading running-water enthusiasts have revealed their plans for the glorious June 16.
Last month we revealed how angling clubs have been preparing for the big day by improving access on popular river stretches – not to mention the thousands of fish that have been stocked into waterways across the country.
Bigger river events and match sell-outs have also provided positive signs that the resurgence of UK river fishing shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s certainly looking bright for the start of the season, but what are you plans for June 16?
We caught up with some of the biggest names in the sport to see what they have up their sleeves for the start of the season on running water…
Angling Times columnist - Des Taylor
“I’ll be on my beloved Middle Severn during the opening week in search of some chub and barbel. I’m not after big fish and simply want a few bites and to enjoy a lovely day on the bank.
“I’m going to fish a feeder with boilies with a fantastic groundbait made of crushed boilies and pellets that works wonders on this river.”
Angling Times columnist - Martin Bowler
“I never have to leave the rivers due to being a salmon angler, but that doesn’t mean June 16 isn’t magical.
“I hope this season will bring with it more opportunities to target big roach. One day I might even tempt a 3lb monster!
“However, first will probably be barbel on the float. I might catch a few less than I would with a feeder but each one will be double the fun!”
BBC Go Fish presenter - Will Milliard
“This season is going to be the one! There have been some great fly hatches on the Wye, and I have a feeling we’re in for a mega year.
“I’m thinking about a campaign on the Wye at Monmouth, but I’m also contemplating doing some pre-baiting on the Taff, or exploring the River Ely in Cardiff.”
Top River Trent angler - Bob Roberts
“I have issues with the 16th and feel it is too early. The fish have barely done with spawning and if we have a warm spell they will probably go again.
“I will catch the odd barbel here and there in the opening weeks in short sessions, but not go all out to do so. I will celebrate being back on the rivers and indulge myself with different methods and species, but not at the expense of fish welfare.
“On the other hand I have been working on creating an ultimate guide to the River Trent, which features a detailed description of which clubs own particular stretches on the river. You can find the Trent Guide by visiting my website at www.bobrobertsonline.co.uk/the-ultimate-trent-guide/.”
River fishing expert - Dave Harrell
“I’ve got tickets for 12 qualifiers this year and I’m very much looking forward to another bid on making the final!
“I’ll be starting on the Swale and Calder in Yorkshire, and I have lots of other matches and festivals throughout the year. Lots of these events have sold out, which is a fantastic sign for river anglers.”
Two-time Drennan Cup winner Dai Gribble
“June 16 is a little different for me as I’ve spent what’s probably 25 of the last 30-odd opening days fishing a stillwater that still upholds the current closed season law. I head out on my boat and target tench on the float and leger – you can probably tell it’s become somewhat of a tradition for me now!
“I like to leave the barbel and chub fishing at least until July or August so that they have longer to recover from spawning. I find barbel and chub are particularly vulnerable after spawning so the more time you can give them, the better.”
Specimen Ace and Bait Doc - Paul Garner
“Rivers across the country fished incredibly well last season, and I can’t see why they would get any worse this time. I could see the barbel record going, especially after multiple fish around the 20lb mark were caught last season.
“In terms of my own fishing, I’ll be spending most of the summer filming barbel underwater which I’m really looking forward to.
“Towards the back end of the season a big pike would be nice, and as always I’ll go for a few chub.”