Well done Angling Trust, lobbying Govt to allow anglers to fish during the lockdown
What does a bloke addicted to match fishing do for a stag night? A night on the piss? Erh No, I'm to old for all that. Well why not go away for 3 days doing what I like best, a fishing festival down in somerset with 12 my fishing mates. That's what I did, 24th-26th March 2017
So with my wedding coming up in Las Vegas soon STAGfest was born. I kitted out everyone fishing with a STAGfest fishing cap for the weekend and a nice engraved Silver Salver (well not quite silver, but it was still a bit pricey) was for the winner to keep forever.
We fished 3 pools down in Somerset, Emerald pools, Avalon fisheries and Trinity Waters with 3 sections of 4 anglers each day counting towards the overall festival winner, The daily winner got a small payout which paid for his tea and we also had a daily silvers pool each day.
This was a early start for us all, on the road at 6.00am to travel down the motorway to Bridgwater for breakfast at our digs for the weekend and then onto Emerald pools for the first match. Ruby pool is a small pool and mainly full of Carp and well suited to us as it's depth's were similar to the Jubilee fishery.
Steve Foster caught well on the pole from the all in and won the match with 61lb 7oz, with the other section winners being Mark Birbeck 46lb 3oz and John Swain 29lb 3oz. I drew the wrong end of the pool and weighed in the grant total of 3lb 13oz!! Maybe my presents from Mark Birbeck and Ian Pitman put me off. I was told to wear a pink T-shirt for the duration of the match and also had a pink blow up doll by the name of Daisy who sat on her own deck-chair beside me for the match. Maybe she would have caught more fish than me if I'd have given her one of my rods. I was then presented with another prize after the weigh in.......The Wooden spoon. After the match we all returned to our digs and Steve foster promptly opened up a bottle of Vodka at 5.30pm. I think his idea was to ply me with drink before we hit the bar in the clubhouse.
So an evening of plenty of drink and banter followed in the bar where I was presented with another couple of gifts, a Pink blow up pig called Peter and a musical singing Willie from Ron Evans (thanks Ron) which then set the tone for the evening!! We were all in bed my 12 midnight because we all had another match in the morning.
I made my come back on this match winning the match with 39lb 12oz which also included winning the silvers pool as I weighed in a nice bag of Silvers for 25lb along along with 3 Carp, one of which was a lovely looking ghostie The other section winners were Rob Butcher 33lb 7oz and Graham Scott with 20lb 11oz. Steve Foster day one winner, drew the wrong end of the pool this time and picked up the Wooden spoon.
The evening pretty much followed the same as the night before, plenty of banter and a few drinks. Mark Birbeck had a big surprise for me though.
About 9.00pm I was told to sit on a chair in the middle of the room. I was a bit worried what was to follow! He had gone and organised a stripper for me. We all had a great laugh. It was all good clean fun though. I was just glad she didn't weigh 20 stone or was called Dave!!
The clocks were going forward tonight and we were all losing another hours sleep so we all left the bar around midnight, as going into the last day things were looking tight on the points. John Swain was leading the festival on 3 points with Graham Scott in 2nd place with 4 points. There were then 7 of us all on 5 points. So it was all to play for on the last day.
Going into the 3rd day myself and Steve Foster my room mate, both had a match win but also a Wooden Spoon each. It was all on the last match.
After another cooked breakfast we all checked out of our rooms and travelled over to Trinity Waters for the final match of the festival. With the festival being decided on 4 man sections all over the 3 days everybody was in with a chance of lifting the title. John Swain was the man to beat.
John actually won the match with 70lb 12oz catching mainly Carp on the bomb and so he claimed the festival title in fine form with 2 section wins and a 2nd. Rob Butcher won his section with 62lb 15oz and Andy Mitchell won the final section with 57lb 13oz.
I struggled again and picked up another wooden spoon but to be honest a never really wanted to win my own trophy,
I'd brought a nice engraved silver Salver for the winner and I didn't want it so maybe I didn't fish it in the right mind set. I was glad John won the festival. Apart from me I think he was the only angler to wear his STAGfest cap for the whole duration of the three days including the evenings!
I would like to thank Mark Birbeck for organising STAGfest, the weather for the time of year was fantastic over all three days and plenty of drink and banter flowed in the evenings. The only bad thing over the 3 days was the drive home. The M5 had major delays and it took me a couple of extra hours to get home.
I was starving when I got back to Evesham so I decided to go through the drive-though for a Big Mac. When I got to the window the girl on the till couldn't stop laughing. I couldn't work out why until I looked to my left. The picture below taken on the last day before the drive home explains why!! I'd driven all up the M5 with Daisy by my side.(a present from the lads) I was wondering why lots of people where looking at me puzzled all the time.
This weekend was great fun and I really enjoyed it, Thanks to everyone that came to STAGfest