WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, the boss of leading online tackle retailers Harris Sportsmail.

Steve’s blogs focus mainly on match fishing but also delve into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.

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WELL this past weekend, Grand National weekend, saw the big money boys driving up and down the country on their quest for fame and fortune as the Maver Match This and Fish ‘O’Mania heats began.

This for me will be the first time in years I haven’t applied to go down the Fish’O’ route, but that’s to do with angling politics, a subject I won’t go into now. But I must admit, I miss the buzz, the tension beforehand and the catching up with the same old faces who seem to make the pilgrimage every year. Down at Viaduct Fishery in Somerset there is always a really good vibe, and then you draw…

The reality of getting up at 3am, spending £­­­90 on fuel and £50 on pools suddenly comes crashing home. You have drawn a bummer, as I have done, every year until now, purely down to the quality of anglers who attend these matches.

If the drawbag gods don’t look favourably towards you, you have wasted your money. Pretty much like having a flutter on the National, form and everything else goes out of the window, you need to draw well, you can’t catch em if they are not there.

So Saturday afternoon comes and the excitement for those not attending seems to become more than those that are, and the who’s won texts come thick and fast. This is what match fishing’s all about for me, the buzz. Even the inclusion of the fisho becoming a trending word on Twitter, it’s all good for the sport.

Anyhow, the texts were coming through that the unflappable Andy Power might have this one at the first time of asking. My spies were telling me that he had not fed a single piece of bait and was fishing a straight lead and waggler hauling monsters.

So when the scales read 179 lb 14 oz, the excitement was over, young Andy has done it again, a big money master so it seems. We will have to wait and see come final day, but nevertheless a superb feat, and well done Andy.

Meanwhile the Midlands was having a big money day with the potential of a £100,000 qualifier, and a guaranteed £50,000. The Maver Match This first round was taking place at Woodland View, and before the match I had a few favourites, who I am sure would do well.

But again it was down to the draw. Do you see a pattern…?

And although Woodlands didn’t really switch on as it is more than capable of doing, the bitter Easterly wind ensured that the weights were going to be and every fish would count. So with peg 4 drawn, Ray Lamb chose to fish long down the edge and 6m in front of him with the trusty pellet to put 55 lb 9 oz on the scales, and give him the longest run up to the big money final.

So again another week for me without touching a pole, and it’s been amazing how I have seen the big money matches unfold from afar. The backstabbing, the slagging, the praise and the disappointment, but all in all it’s been a learning curve for me.

I think these “big money” matches are here to stay, and some anglers are gearing their whole seasons towards the big two. Can it be a bad thing? I don’t think so.

With all of the high profile matches going on this weekend a few real battles had sneaked under my radar, and in all it looks like the fishing up and down the country was improving.

One match I had a call about was the amazing match at Heronbrook fisheries where this week’s performance of the week heads. Ian Sullivan (Leigh Tackle and Bait) is the deserved recipient, after catching over a 130 small F1s on the pole to amass a staggering weight of 126-4oz.Taking a very close fought match where over a 100lb was needed to frame.

A great days fishing indeed and worthy of this week’s Anglers Mail Performance of the week… Ian Sullivan, F1 champ, take a bow.






SUPERB British made match tackle, and a fantastic Action Replay, where rising match star Brad Gibbons targets silver fish before switching to specimen carp. All in this week’s TOP VALUE Angler’s Mail!