Rob Butcher wins the 3 Day Somerset Leveller Festival


The Jubilee Nomads and guests fished Mark Birbeck’s, 3 day Somerset Leveller festival over a long weekend. Fishing Carey at Viaduct, Tile at The Sedges and Moor pool at Avalon fisheries. 

The festival was run over 3 sections over the 3 days which always gives everybody a chance of doing well.  8 Tonne plus weight were recorded over the 3 days and the fishing was generally very good for most. The weather forecast wasn’t that good with heavy rain and wind forecast but we managed to avoid the worst of the weather and there was no wet tackle left in the cars this year.  As always the fishing and the banter back at the digs in the evening was excellent and we all had a good couple of evening meals down at the local pub. 

Day One, Carey pool, Viaduct fishery. This match saw some big carp dominate on certain pegs but generally weights were poor for this noted big weight venue. Robin Ballard won the match with 131lb 10oz, 2nd was Phil Seedhouse with 123lb 13oz and 3rd was Pete Dutton 78lb 5oz.Section winners:- Robin Ballard, Graham Scott and James Gardner. Wooden spoon winner Stu Thomson. 

Day Two, Tile pool, The Sedges. This match saw all anglers catch some good bags of fish after a slow start. Rob Butcher won the match with 166lb 5oz, 2nd was Steve Foster with 92lb 13oz and 3rd was Pete Dutton with 73lb 2oz. Section Winners:- Rob Butcher, Phil Seedhouse and Steve Foster. Wooden Spoon winner Doug Smith.

Day Three, Moors pool, Avalon Fisheries. Going into the final day Graham Scott and Phil Seedhouse led the points table with 3 points each, closely followed by Rob Butcher on 4 points. So everything was to play for. Avalon fished really well with 5 tonne plus weights recorded. Rob Butcher claimed his 2nd win, this time with 178lb 11oz. 2nd was Robin Ballard with 131lb 0oz and 3rd was Mark Birbeck with 119lb 13oz. The other tonne plus weights came from Steve Foster 114lb 8oz and Andy Mitchell with 113lb 4oz. Also of note was Phil Seedhouse’s net of fish that weighed in at 78lb 4oz which included 54lb of Silvers. The final day section winners were Rob Butcher, Robin Ballard and Mark Birbeck. Wooden Spoon shared between James Gardner and Richard Walker.

After the match the points and weights were all worked out. This saw Rob Butcher and Phil Seedhouse tied on 5 points. Robs aggregate weight (379lb 6oz) was much higher than Phil’s (274lb 5oz) and he took the Silver Salver plate home this year, with Phil Seedhouse the runner up.  Robin Ballard and Graham Scott finished on 6 points so weight count back again came into play. Robins 327lb 6oz weight was greater than Grahams 185lb 9oz and Robin took 3rd overall place.   The dredged Overall Wooden spoon winner this year was…………………. Doug Smith finishing on 12 points. This was yet another well run and organised festival from Mark Birbeck. Despite the bad weather forecast prior to travelling down to Somerset we just about got anyway with it weather wise this year. Roll on the next time. 

2nd placed on the Moors pool, Avalon Fisheries, 78lb


This match was the last match of a 3 day festival down in Somerset at 3 different venues. I’d struggled at Viaduct with a last in section on day 1 which really blew my chances of doing well this year. Then on the 2nd day at The Sedges I managed a 2nd in section. So I really needed a good result on this last match to finish up in a reasonable place. 

This final match on the Moors pool at Avalon fisheries saw me draw end peg 21 (and the longest walk) So I felt it may be OK for a few fish.   

On arrival at my peg I set up a bomb rod for throwing over to the island, long and short pole lines and a margin line to my left. I started on the bomb, a method which bores me to death but it can’t be ignored with the island being well out of pole range. I fired out a few pellets and baited up with an 8mm hard pellet on the hook while I potted in 6mm hard pellets at 13 metres and a pot of corn on my short pole line.  

The first hour on the bomb produced 3 carp and then it slowed down. I’d been topping up the 13 metre pole line with 6mm pellets every five minutes during the time I was fishing the bomb so after an hour and 20 minutes I tried there next fishing an 8mm hard pellet. I began getting bites and was soon catching some Carp. This continued for the next hour while I was pinging in 6mm’s before it started to slow down and I was catching the odd Skimmer. 

So at this point I potted in a cup of corn into my short left pole line where I’d fed a pot at the start of the match. The left margin also got a pot of meat for later in the match. Then I tried on my short right pole line where I’d  also fed pellets but I never had a bite. So I swapped to the short left pole line but this only produced a couple of Skimmers. It this point I’d now stopped catching carp so I decided to have a look in the margin. Nothing came from here in 15 minutes so I re-fed it and left. I was really scratching my head now. I’d had a good first two hours but I was really struggling. I went on the long pole line which again wasn’t producing and also the Bomb line and the margin line but again nothing and I now gone two hours without a carp. 

Going into the last hour a needed find some carp so I decided to return to the long pole line where I’d caught carp early in the match but I still couldn’t catch anything. 

At this point I made a change to my feeding and stopped feeding 6mm pellets and I started pinging in 8mm’s, after 10 minutes I was catching carp again, the feeding change had worked and I landed several more carp in the next 45 minutes before the all out. 

I weighed in 78ln 10oz which gave me 2nd place in the match and more importantly a section win. 96lb won the match. I just wish I’d made the change to 8mm feed pellets sooner! 

After the first days poor result at Viaduct This section win helped me climb the overall festival table and got me up to 7th overall.   

Hard Pellet Rig – 0.5g Nick Gilbert NG XT Finesse Power pole float set up on 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge with a bulk of no.8 shot, 18 inches from the hook with two no.10 dropper shot. above a 6 inch 0.15mm size 14 Guru SLWG banded hook. set up on Black Hydro.   

Bomb Rig – 8lb main line with a Preston Innovations ICS inline 20g match cube/bomb set up with a pre-tied size 12 banded Preston innovations KKM-B hook with a 0.19mm hook length. 

STAGfest – a 3 day fishing festival down in Somerset


What does a bloke addicted to match fishing do for a stag weekend

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.

Evening banter in full swing back at the digs

Day 1 – Ruby pool, Emerald pools

Ruby pool – Emerald pools

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.

Day 2 – Moors pool, Avalon

Moors pool – Avalon
25lb of Silvers

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!!
Theclocks 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.

Day 3 – Woodland pool, Trinity Waters

Woodland pool – Trinity Waters

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!

The final Result

John Swain, STAGfest winner

John Swain – STAGfest winner

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!

STAGfest result

Thanks to Mark & The Journey home

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

Daisy and me going through the MacDonalds drive though back home in Eveshham