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. He also appears regularly in Angler’s Mail magazine.

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WELL I’ll nail my colours to the mast straight away and tell you that I’m not so keen.

Even though they have become the bread and butter of many a commercial fishery nowadays, I’m still not convinced. When I was looking at purchasing a fishery full of them, it reinforced my dislikes of the species.

I would be the first to admit that I am no good fishing for them. I just can’t compete with the newly formed F1 specialists dotted around the country and it’s for a number of reasons.

I won’t blow my trumpet, but If I concentrated my efforts on F1 fishing for the rest of the year, I would no doubt be sufficient enough to gain a few Kamasan points on these new single species dominated venues, but I just cannot bring myself to do it. And cannot get motivated to catch several of the same species, the same size, the same way.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I don’t like to know what I am going to catch every time my float dips under. Unfortunately for angling in the UK that’s the road we are going down, should you choose to.

Fancy a netful of these? Some anglers do, but many – it seems – do not…

When I went to have a look at the venue I was considering purchasing, the owner informed me that he has “re stocked” this year with 5,000 F1s and the weights have been great on the matches, but the attendances have been down? (I wonder why).

‘Over 100lb a man is easy,’ he said… but they only get 8-15 fishing the matches. He couldn’t understand why.

Looking at the previous result sheets he had kept, it became pretty obvious that these new super F1 fish swim round in big shoals around and around his island on a canal shaped venue, getting caught along the way on different days, as they move round. It was the same sequence of pegs, every month, so you have got this kind of scenario:

  • The same fish every time your float goes under
  • The same size
  • The same pegs

Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t fill my fishy blood with adrenaline. I can’t get in the frame of mind as to even bother trying to compete with F1 specialists, but I don’t think I am alone.

Every angler I talk to who has either ventured to the dark side of specimen fishing or has opted to tackle natural venues feels the same. It’s like hook a duck at the fair, being a fairly common comment, and I am finding it tough to get motivated to fish these matches.

Now there is no doubt whatsoever that to become successful at catching these little critters is an art form, light elastics, small hooks and tons of prep is needed.

But as I have seen covering matches up and down the country they are very very peggy, and although there may be thousands of them in a venue, a large proportion of them will be shoaled up somewhere.

After all of this prep and the hope of a good draw, are they really that nice to look at?

On a bagging venue, have you ever really looked at one, or is it netted at a hundred miles per hour and thrown in a net without a second glance?

Whatever it is with F1s – love ’em or hate ’em – I still like a bit of mystique when my float goes under or my tip goes round.


It’s been a scorcher for many parts of the UK this week and the high pressure has meant that a lot of fish have been caught “shalla” and weights have soared once again. Controversy has been rife in the match world, where dobbing, dapping and mugging have been the trend words in cyberspace. As was foul hooking spawning fish, but I’ll get on to that in a later blog.

Amongst the millions of F1s caught up and down the country a real proper finale was going on at the Kings Lock section of the Trent and Mersey canal as the Middlewich Spring League drew to a close. It was Rob Porter who topped the 60 strong field to win with 8-9-14 of squatt fish from the Tetton Lane end. A great result and a great league, well done Rob, this week’s recipient of the coveted Angler’s Mail performance of the week.




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