|River Legend, Dave Harrell|
Against Men and Fish - It’s widely known that you are a fan of moving water but what’s your favourite style of fishing rivers?
Dave Harrell - I like all methods that catch me fish. Float fishing is my main passion but I’m not averse to catching big weights on the feeder too!When commercial style venues first came on the scene many years ago, I watched you at Woodlands View catching carp on meat. You won a lot of matches there so why did you stop fishing carp venues and do you ever fish stillwaters these days?
I enjoyed fishing commercials for a few years but then got bored with them. Tight pegging, same depths on every peg, fish at one end of a lake but not the other…all these things contributed. For me though, the challenge of fishing on a man made pool was never the same as it was on a natural river.
Where is your favourite venue?I don’t have one. I love to fish different river venues throughout a season and all are favourites at some point.
And favourite species of fish?Roach
Still on the subject of rivers can you tell us your favourite groundbait mixes for balling it in and also for fishing the feeder?I use Bait-Tech Pro Natural for nearly all of my river fishing these days. It’s a very versatile and easy to use mix for balling in. For bream fishing I use Bait-Tech Omen mixed 50/50 with brown crumb.
Pro Natural is my favourite Bait Tech groundbait and you were heavily involved in its development, can you tell us a bit about the process? And what are you working on now?It’s mine too! It took a long time to get Pro Natural right but we achieved it and in my opinion it’s the best silver fish mix ever. With regard to new developments, I’m sworn to secrecy!
I’m a big fan of fishing small rivers but I struggle to know how much to feed, particularly when to increase or decrease my loose feed, any tips?My advice is to always feed to response. If you’re getting regular bites, feed more. If bites are hard to come by, feed less. It’s not rocket science. It’s all about thinking about what is happening in front of you and keeping fish feeding.
You’ve won a host of big events during your career including the John Smiths and Wychavon events as well as twice being crowned Kamasan Matchman of the year, are there any other titles you would love to win?I would love to win the RiverFest competition and will be going all out to qualify for the final next time round. It’s a great competition and aside from the big prize money, it has brought together a lot of good anglers from all over the country. I’m delighted how it has evolved.
Your company, Dave Harrell Angling, has a fantastic range of floats for running line and the pole but do you have any plans in the pipeline for other items of tackle?I’ve been trading just over two years with my new company now and things are going well. I’m currently working on more new float patterns and also a range of accessories.
When I started fishing aged 10 (many years ago!), there was no such thing as a commercial fishery and I had to learn my apprenticeship on natural venues. How do we get today’s youngsters back on the rivers?I think we need initiatives from the Angling Trust and Environment Agency for this to happen, in conjunction with the angling media. Young anglers need exposing to the good things about rivers but it will need a lot of hard work and dedication as well as manpower.
Recently there seems to have been a move away from carp to some extent with a boom in silver fish festivals and some big river matches, what do you think the future of match fishing will look like?Match fishing is very fragmented now and I think it will continue the same way. It’s about choice really. There are too many small matches in my opinion but this was always inevitable as more and more commercial fisheries were created.
The Angling Trust Riverfest sponsored by Bait Tech was your brain child and has been a resounding success but was it just hard core river anglers who fished it or did some commercial experts fish it as well?There was a real mixture of people in RiverFest 2013, some who hardly ever fish on rivers and some dedicated river guys. It has been a big success so far and will continue to grow in the forthcoming years. The format is spot on in my opinion.
Before we finish, here’s a few quick-fire questions,Have you any angling heroes or anyone who has inspired you?
I have many but I’d single out Ivan Marks, Kevin Ashurst, Ken Giles, Clive Smith, Mark Downes and Dick Clegg.What’s your biggest fish in the UK? And abroad?
25lb carp and a 300lb shark!What’s your favourite drink?
I love good wine. Red and white.Favourite meal?
Terminator 2TV show?
Match Of The DayWhat music do you listen to?
I have a very varied list of all sorts ranging over a number of years.And lastly, you’ve been the editor of Match Fishing magazine, been involved in tackle manufacturing, firstly with MAP and now with your own company as well as being an angling coach and let’s not forget your involvement with Bait Tech and the Angling Trust as well as writing for the Angling Times – phew!, what’s next for Dave Harrell?
I love my life and my involvement in angling. I’m very true to myself and these days I only get involved in things that I really want to do. I meet too many people who don’t enjoy their lives or their work which is a shame. Hopefully I’ll keep fishing and catching loads of fish for many years to come!Thank you Dave it’s been a pleasure talking to you,
Against Men and Fish