Former National Champion and ace all-rounder Steve Collett blogs for AM and appears regularly in the magazine.

WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.

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THE past few weeks, like many matchmen up and down the country, has seen me practising for a forthcoming winter league semi-final.

Is it a lottery on commercials?

To be honest I can’t wait to see the back of this winter.  It’s been wet, cold, floods, and most importantly it’s been a poor fishing year.

Anyway, this weekend I had booked myself in along with the Matrix Dynamite Trentmen, into the Sunday practice match at Makins Fishery. It’s not really what I wanted to be doing, but there would be a few anglers there so I thought I would get along and see what I could learn.

As you may or may not know, I do a lot of different types of fishing, from pike to carp and basically anything that swims. The weather plays a very important part in my preparation, and decides if I actually go or not, so I called upon my “spessy weather” experience and decided before the match that it would be hard. A cold week, followed by a mild crazy spell, reaching into double-figures and the water temperature was up and down, and all over the place… but would this affect a fish filled commercial?

Well “yes” is the answer. Whilst I was sat there for three hours, following orders, I decided enough was enough and throw caution to the wind, and fish non-conventional baits like crazy baits, baits that the kids have never heard of – casters!

The aim was to try and catch anything that moves, as there were fish in the area, the same peg had produced 30lb for the awesome Dave Brown the day before, and the peg to my right had won the lake with over 70lb. Now whilst that may sound like an amazing days fishing the winter, it was in fact only seven bites for Dave, a bite and half an hour! So hardly frantic but they were there.

If Dave Brown can’t catch, who can?

So with the last two hours to go, it was all change, rigs changed, lighter lines, strung out 13s and smaller hooks. I decided to fish every inch of my swim, ten casters thrown in and I would fish them out for 10-15 mins, no bite and I would add a metre and start again.

And to cut a long story short I managed to go from a dry net to 17 lb that on the day would have meant good points. There was a DNW to my right and 14lb to my voodoo Mr King on my left. I managed to get out of jail, but I could help feeling for some of the other poor souls around the venue.

Take Dave Brown, Maver Midlands supremo, he always manages to catch fish. On the day he had two roach. Tom Scholey who has recently enjoyed a few wins at Makins managed 5 lb or so, and looking round the rest of the lakes you could see other “names” with DNWs or odd roach.

It leaves you thinking, it’s not fishing this, it’s drawing! Those names I have just mentioned, you could put your house on to catch a fish, but on the day they struggled. Why, I caught because they were in front of me, not because I am an angling god, they were there. If they are not, you can’t catch em, simple as that.

So is match fishing on commercials a lottery, or is there a real skill element?

A former world champion said this time and time again, If the fish are not there, you can’t catch them, and how very true that is during the winter. If I was speci fishing I would have moved, unfortunately we are not given that option.


Darren Bickerton, Steve Collett’s performance of the week

There have been a few great results this week, and the warmer weather meant some of the carp lakes were producing some 100lb plus weights but the natural venues have again provided some great sport and quality anglers have shone through.

This week’s award has to go to Darran Bickerton (Starlets) who is never far out of the frame on any venue, but this week he stood head and shoulders above a quality field on the Leicester Sensas Pairs match on the Grand Union Canal at Loughborough with 58 roach on B&J from peg 226. And in the process he took home a healthy pay-packet.

A truly superb performance and well worthy of this week’s Anglers Mail Performance of the week.








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