River Ure Angling Festival

Bream and tench throw up a surprise win as anglers take some good weights.

The first week in October saw 36 Anglers compete in Ripon Piscatorial Associations Inaugural River Ure Festival Trophy.

The sections used ran from above the city’s North Bridge down to Hewick Bridge near the racecourse, with the pegs cherry picked from the clubs available 65 in the stream sections which ensured a fair festival was in prospect.
A busy year of planning which involved the river being totally re-pegged and lots of tree clearance, pegs were made more accessible so the sections to be used were suitable for such an event.

A very generous payout for a festival this size due to some local sponsorship ensured a quality line-up of the North’s river anglers, with everything ready it promised to be a tight competition and it didn’t disappoint.
Myself and Steve Newns who helped organise the festival decided to keep the numbers down for the first festival as we were unsure how the venue would react to 3 days of competition.

This ensured that competitors had a choice of two pegs to fish, which certainly helps on the Ure as the Chub don’t give themselves up that easy!! River conditions on the first and second day warranted this as the river was low with very little colour present, something of a rarity this season.
The weather gods seemed to be on our side for a change but Yorkshire weather can be unpredictable to say the least and a sure enough some drama came on day 3, but more of that later.

Day 1

Chub came out of there hideaways among the tangled branches of the Ure to provide a steady but consistent start for competitors along the three 12 peg Zones. Competitors fished for a 12 peg Zone win worth £120.00 and with two £75.00 six peg section prizes in each Zone competition was fierce.

Bradford’s Eric Wright enjoyed a good day on peg 38/39 on the noted Skitter gate run where he snared 24lbs 9ozs of chub to record the day’s top weight and secured Zone B’.Also in B’ the second best weight of the day was also on the noted peg 71/72 ‘Myers,’ where Barnsley’s Danny Watson brought 21lbs 3ozs of chub to the scales for the 6 peg win.
Up river in Zone A’ Johnny Bath took the spoils with a 17lbs 7ozs catch of Chub from Island peg 14/15. And further up in Zone A’ KL Tackles Rob Pickles from Silsden recorded 15lbs 6oz of chub from the big gravel bend on peg 6 to secure the six peg win, more of peg 6 later.

Down in C’ section things were considerably tougher but River Ure ‘maestro’ Steve Hodson took the Zone with 14lbs 7ozs of chub from ‘challenging’ peg 100/101.Steve is no stranger to Festivals and a superb float angler a certain Mr Harrell will remember him on the Wye a couple of years ago!
The one other catch worthy of note on Day1 was KL Tackles Kevin Wright’s 13lbs 12ozs of Dace, well over a hundred fish on the ‘stick’ fantastic sport but no coin, you can’t have it all though!!

Throughout the Ripon reaches there are some big Perch residing and some over 3lbs were caught during the festival this year, so there are always a few options if you follow match results and peg numbers in the press.

Day 2

Day two was real ‘test’ day of the festival with many expecting (including myself) a drop in the returns as the low and clear conditions prevailed.
These doubts were soon put aside as Dave Robson put together a fantastic net of big Ure chub on corn over caster feed to beat the hordes of minnows on the ‘stick ‘and ‘bomb’ at intervals, four lost chub didn’t matter as 16 went on the scales for a 58lbs 6oz tally from peg 6 to secure him A’ Zone.

Below on peg 7 RSPS river legend Jim Taylor netted 29lbs 4ozs from a classic feature peg but get it wrong and you will spend your day tackling up again and again!!
Third best weight and securing Zone B’ was Ripon angler Shaun Slator who winkled out chub tight under cover on Skitter gate 38/39 for a 20lbs 4 oz total, the same peg which produced the previous days winner proving the Ure can stand the pressure of a festival.  

Zone C’ again proved the hardest nut to crack but Terry Morgan took the win with 10lbs 3ozs below Hewick Bridge, this section did not withstand the pressure as well as the rest but pleasure catches show the fish are there, but under match conditions it just didn’t produce the goods.

Day 3

Going into Day 3 those Ure chub had proved they are a hardy breed, much like the festival competitors who often fish in terrible conditions and still catch fish.
Anyone who knows the Ure and its moods are well aware of the speed this spate river can come up during heavy rainfall, three or four feet in just over an hour won’t raise any eyebrows, but it can also fall almost as fast.

I checked the EA’S website at the end of day 2 just before bed and the level showed no increase so I was content with the final days pegging and prep. It had rained in the night so on the morning of day 3 I thought I would have a quick look and yes you guessed it over a metre of the Yorkshire Dales finest dirty brown floodwater was charging its way downstream to the festival length.

I had to make a quick decision and luckily I had arranged some contingency pegging for such an event and decided to go with it in the hope the level would run off. Luckily the river dropped around 18 inches during the match to a fishable level.

Weights were far from disastrous but some sections did return a few blanks, but after all that can happen on any river never mind one that has just had rapid flush-out!!Top weight on day 3 and securing Zone A’ went to Bradford Number 1 angler Jamie Houlders whose 8lbs 10 oz catch of Dace from ‘silver’ peg 1/2 gave him  plenty of bites on the ‘stick,’ and a well deserved win for Jamie.  

Zone B was secured by Leeds angler Steve Beckwith with (7lbs 4ozs) on peg 40/41 on the Fishermans rocks; a good performance not just on fishing terms as 24 hours earlier Steve had suffered severe sickness, that Yorkshire grit has won him many matches over the years at Ripon and another regular  KL Tackle's Rob Pickles took Zone C’ and weighed a hard earned 5lbs 8 ozs off peg 75 on the Skell mouth, another good performance on a tricky day from big Rob.

The Result

Going into the final day three anglers were on 3 points, Terry Morgan, Jim Taylor and Dave Robson but with quite a few anglers also on 4 points (me included) it was there for the taking.

You may recall I mentioned the name of a certain Mr Morgan or “Morgo” as he is known to many of his friends earlier, Terry rarely slips up when on Chub pegs and on the final day this proved to be no exception.

A six peg win in lower Zone A gave him just 1 point and ‘mercurial Morgan’ ensured he has the first name on the festival trophy finishing on 4 points. As with many of the nation’s top anglers he is approachable and appreciative of the hard work and effort which goes into organizing such an event and in short a genuine nice guy, so well done Terry on your fourth festival win of the year!!

So on reflection a good result for the first Ripon Festival, big thanks must go to KL Tackle’s Steve Newns who assisted me greatly over the past year trying to drum up some sponsorship from tackle companies, sadly to no avail this time. His knowledge from fishing other festivals around the country was priceless and the draw ran very smoothly as a result despite the unpredictable weather and we even managed to win a section each so it was nice to get a little bit back.

Interest is already high for next year’s event and all those who fished this time around will get first refusal, so I may have to look at increasing the pegging next time. It would be nice to get a tackle sponsor to join us as River angling is definitely still on the up in the North East, so what better way for companies who still make river rods to sell their products, after all its us who will be the ones who buy them.  

So if you fancy a crack at next year’s festival trophy in the City of Ripon at the gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, details will be available to Match Fishing magazine in the New Year, It will be scheduled again around the first week in October 2012.

For details on membership and Match results go to the Ripon Piscatorial Association website here.