‘Hit the wet bit’ in a bid to mop up big money

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Having taken running water match fishing to another level, the Angling Trust’s Riverfest series now has a welcome rival to its match calendar.

Feeder Master, sponsored by tackle giant Preston Innovations together with England stars Mick Vials and Lee Kerry at the helm, look to have a sure-fire winner in the shape of a big-money, feeder-only competition.

Using everything good gleaned from the expertly run Riverfest, Feeder Master will use the same tried and tested 60-peg matches split into three 20-peg sections known as zones, with the winner of each zone making the final in one hit.

Everything will be aimed at making the competition easy to enter on a first come, first served basis, with the organisers looking to give everyone that can follow the old saying “anyone can chuck a feeder” a great chance of becoming a champion.

The rules are simple: hit the wet bit with an overhead cast, using any fishery-legal feeder, open ender, maggot, frame, banjo or method, and as long as it sinks when emptied, it’s allowed.

It’s not a groundbait throwing contest, so all bait must be introduced through a feeder – no loose feed, no straight ledgering though a lead can be used for plumbing up, single rod only.

Qualifiers will be held through the summer on carefully selected commercials, natural lakes and major rivers through England, Ireland and Holland with Kent’s Bough Beech Reservoir home of some clonking roach, massive bream shoals and the usual big rogue carp hosting the two-day final in late September.

Leeds & District, together with Bradford No1, will be joining forces to provide its waters for Yorkshire’s only Feeder Master river qualifier, using the lower River Aire above and below Beal Bridge, with a single zone at nearby Chapel Haddersley.

August 27 should prove perfect timing for a classic Aire tip match (details in match diary).

An estimated final prize pot of over £27,000 will provide a bumper payout for those making the leader board and section winners, with the overall champion guaranteed a cool £12,000 – and deserved bragging rights of being Europe’s best.

Catching grayling to order proved more difficult than anticipated last week with the Environment Agency’s Calverton team needing two trips north to reach its quota. With the river rising and dropping quickly, and in not so good bright sunny conditions, agency team leaders decided to split its volunteer anglers over miles of river, using Poole in Wharfedale, Harewood Bridge and the prolific Boston Spa waters.

The decision proved spot on, though the sought-after females were outnumbered by smaller, hungrier males. Over 100 fish were taken, making it a job well done.

After a complex series of hormone treatments to mimic natural surges at spawning times, the fish are kept separately until incubation and the eggs treated to improve fertilization.

As incubation finishes and the fry thrive, all the adult fish are returned home followed later by thousands of fingerlings that should secure the future of the Wharfe as a top grayling fishery.