Evesham Dominance – Spud Murphy

The Evesham Angling Festival held over August Bank Holiday annually is one of the most prestigious events in the angling calendar to win one event in a lifetime is incredible, to win multiple events is unbelievable! Spud Murphy won two of the three days in the 2019 festival and reveals all in his latest blog…

The Journey

With Evesham being 75 miles from Home I decided to drive there and back each day, with the temperatures predicted to soar above 30+°C for the duration of the weekend bait needed my full attention before and after each match and keeping it in good condition vital.

My Pegs

Day (1) peg 74. No bloodworm allowed.

Day (2) peg 8. Bloodworm allowed.

Day (3) peg 15, Bloodworm allowed.

Groundbait Mixes and preparation

Firstly some Pro Natural Fine Lake Dark was mixed then added to soil, to prepare this correctly I mix the groundbait then wait a little before adding more water then mixing it again until its slightly wetter than required!. I then add the soil, the extra moisture from the groundbait gets absorbed by the soil, it then needs to be mixed in thoroughly by adding water via an atomiser, this process needs to done slowly so that it doesn’t clog-up, when the texture seams correct the whole mix needs to be sieved through. The mix would be approximately 25% groundbait and 75% soil, the higher proportion of soil used on this occasion is because I am trying to create a mix that is as natural as possible for a low clear river.

Day 1

Saturday, Peg 74 was about 12’ feet deep with no flow, this day would be all about trying to win the section (worth £200) by basically trying to catch anything that swims because this was always going to be a bad area. It did carry an outside chance of a bream! So I would fish long with a 3grm float to hold it still to give myself at least a chance, some perch and eel rigs were also assembled. To cut a long story short I weighed in 1lb 5oz and have already forgotten about this one!

Day 2

Sunday, Peg 8 had some very nice flow especially with the river being low. I was well happy with this peg being in a good area for roach, I set up various sized rigs, 0.4grm 0.6grm 0.8grm and 1grm. The peg plumbed up very nice with eight feet of depth and would be fished at 14.5mtrs trying to attract roach, there was also a chance of a barbel if I needed to turn my match around.

Initial Feeding

Being a typical bloodworm affair I balled in eight balls at the start with not much joker within, this was quickly followed by two smaller richer double leamed balls being cupped in over the top to create a catching zone for the fish to home in on, this would be fished out until the need for topping-up was required in reaction to how the fish responded.  It’s worth mentioning at this point that when I feed these soil mixes the balls are so heavy when they are formed that I believe that they actually land on the river bed almost exactly where they hit the water on impact (especially on a slow/low moving river like Evesham). Therefore you need to understand that where you want to be able to catch your fish is where your balls need to hit the water preferably slightly down stream. You will see some cloud drifting off down the peg but don’t be fooled that this is where your balls are heading because it’s likely to be just the colour change instantly created from the outer side of the soil naturally breaking away on impact with the water.  

I believe that when everyone is balling in at the same time the fish act on instinct and home into the noise and colour/cloud that your feeding creates therefore there is no need to feed too much joker at this point as bites are usually instant at this early stage. This way your hook bait will stand out even more, allowing you to keep a greater volume of joker back that could be introduced later in the match when the need for trying to make bites become greater.

Some chop-worm and casters were cupped in at 6mtrs with perch in mind if required!

I started off with a 1grm rig with the olivette fixed about 18’ inches above the hook with 3 x No9 droppers, first run down and a roach was quickly swung to hand, this went on for about 45 minutes before I felt the need to top up with another double leamed ball as the bites were starting to slow-up, this again brought a response and with the odd net roach also starting to put in an appearance.

With one hour gone my fish count was 25 for about 4lb and a great start, with bites continuing but slightly slower than the initial hour my total for the second hour was now 40 x roach all on the same rig with the swim being topped-up twice during this second hour.

The third hour was a tricky one with fish moving in and out of the peg but the ones being caught were now mostly net roach so there was no need to push the peg, by rotating all three rigs and topping-up occasionally I could still put fish in the net and with three hours gone I now had 55 fish.

The forth hour was my worst (no complaints) as I went 45 minutes for two small roach so decided to re-ball the peg with four more balls of my initial feed with hardly anything in them hoping that the noise factor would attract them to once again find my feed. I didn’t panic just keeping my faith in what I was doing, instantly I netted a 12oz chub first drop in then eventually being rewarded towards the end of the forth hour and a flying finish in the fifth hour ending with a total of 75 fish, unbelievably weighing more than I thought with 11lb and a match winning cool £3,500.

I fished 14.5mtrs for the full five hours without trying any other areas of the peg, a lovely and not too complicated day with the spoils of my first hour allowing me to keep faith.

Winning this event for a record breaking third time after previously winning in 2011 and 2015, I was well chuffed.

Day 3

Monday, Peg 15 I was again happy with the draw as it was only seven pegs downstream from yesterday even though it had not produced the day before However when I arrived at the peg I noticed there was nowhere near as much flow as the day before! The only flow was out in the middle of the river and beyond therefore I put in a platform that helped me gain possibly another 1.5mtrs.

I settled on a 14.5mtr line again but with my platform in the water this would in theory be much further out reaching the middle of the river, the peg was a foot deeper than the day before at 9 feet deep so the same rigs were again assembled with new hook-lengths attached. However my rigs would now be a foot shorter than the day before because of the extra depth this would hopefully work in my favour as the rigs travelled at less pace so hopefully attracting bites in a more confined area.

There was also the chance of a barbel here if we as a team felt that I needed to chase for one (but hopefully not)!

My initial feed was exactly the same as the day before at 14.5mtrs but this time I also fed a close in line at 7mtrs for small fish by cupping in 3 x balls with some joker in, the depth here being about 7 feet and was fished with a 0.75grm float with the olivette much closer to the hook.

My match started off very slow compared to the day before (but so did everyone else around me) with only 8 x roach caught in the first hour but some of these were again net roach. The second hour was better and by altering rigs and topping up I was now up to 25 x fish but the best thing being that they were now all mostly net roach!

The third hour was a bit quieter so half way through I again topped-up long and left this to settle while I fished my 7mtr line expecting to put some small fish in the net just to keep things ticking over. This worked a treat with a bite from little roach each drop in. Then out of the blue I had a much better roach, then another wow! Totally unexpected, I quickly moved the olivette up to create a longer more natural drop.

With the crowd behind me now growing I could sense things were going my way!

The rest of the match was spent rotating both lines long and short while topping-up one line then fishing out the other to my surprise catching many more net roach from my 7mtr line ending the match with 62 x fish, not as many as the day before however this time I did have more net roach so I believed that I had a similar weight to the day before.

I eventually weighed in 12.10.0 for another section and match win worth another £500.


With very good consistent team points arriving back from our team my thoughts were that we would finish in the top three. Eventually finding out after a very long wait that we had in fact won again as a team two years on the trot! Winning another £500 each in the process.

A special thanks to all my team members who all played their part in this very special win, some of them having to knuckle down catching bleak, eels, perch also hemp roach absolutely brilliant!. One of our men even encountering a naked male swimmer who was enjoying the bank holiday weekend a little too much, jumping into his peg and swimming around the river before the Police eventually turned up and escorted him away to the cells.

On Reflection

On my 14.5mtr line the 1grm rig worked best for me all weekend allowing me to run the rig and also hold onto it enticing bites from a much bigger stamp of roach.

The short 7mtr line on day three was totally unexpected and was a real bonus! My thoughts here were that because the roach were of the same stamp ‘long and short’ I believe they were the same shoal turning up between both lines at different occasions as when one line went quiet the other would be good in rotation.

Having confidence in my methods were my strengths this weekend catching net roach early on both days helped me to believe in my strengths.

A little tip

Because the weekend was so warm (extreme conditions) 33°C at times bait needed to be nursed! Traditionally you fill up a bait box with water and put some bloodworms into this to be selected as hook-bait throughout the match however for most this small volume of water would soon warm up and in effect quickly boil the bloodworm firstly making them weak then eventually killing them off leaving some anglers without any bloodworm to continue.

I came across some small ice-packs that can be added underneath your bloodworm tray keeping them cool all day by replacing with fresh as the day went on – these were stored within another cool box amongst larger ice-packs to keep them iced, a white hooker storage box also helps by not attracting heat from the sun. Just a little thing but a massive help to me throughout the weekend!

 The Qualifiers

Apparently a new rule is now in place that because of this win I now get automatic qualification via invitation for the whole weekend next year.

After getting up between 4am-5am each morning and then arriving home at 20:30hrs each afternoon finally catching up with me l now plan to take a few weeks off preparing for Shrewsbury & R.Wye with October/November/December already scheduled as being busy months.

A weekend away with the family has been arranged so I can chill-out and reflect on what has just occurred with a little celebration, oh and ponder on what to do with my £4,500 winnings.


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