Fenny Compton angler Mike Bedding is £13,000 richer after claiming victory at the 2017 Riverfest.
Bedding, who qualified for the 72-man final after finishing second at Clanfield on the River Thames in one of the 24 qualifiers, led the way after day one with a fine haul of 41lb 10oz.
An influx of compensation water made conditions much harder on day two of the River Wye-based final with Bedding only weighing in 8lb 13oz.
However, it was good enough to win a competition the 33-year-old described as “as big as it gets in river fishing”.
Bedding finished just 15 ounces clear of Shakespeare Superteam colleague Sam Merry to keep up an impressive record for the Bait-Tech-sponsored outfit who have now won three of the five editions of Riverfest.
And Bedding, a finalist in 2015 and 2016, says the experience which comes with fishing for Shakespeare has proved invaluable.
“I’m fishing for one of the best teams in the country and it’s also a build-up of experience over the years - I’ve been match fishing since I was 18,” said Bedding who plans to use his cash windfall as a deposit for a house.
“Since fishing for Shakespeare and the quality of anglers, the information shared is really important.
“There are no secrets and it’s decent knowledge.”
Bedding admitted a “mega” draw on Saturday proved a factor in his victory, which he also attributed to using vast quantities of bait.
“I caught mainly chub down the middle of the river feeding hemp and maggots. It is a big, heavy river and can rise three feet in a few hours. I needed a lot of bait.”
However, despite his victory, Bedding would not be drawn on his chances of a repeat in 2018.
“It’s hard enough to even qualify for the final,” he said. “Hundreds, if not thousands, of very good anglers did not make it.”