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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Big barbel are what everyone’s after this weekend, reckons Steve – seen here with a biggie.


WELL it’s been a long Close Season for me, a good one – I’m not knocking it. I decided to delve into the “darkside” and did a bit of carp fishing…

To be honest I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can see myself edging towards that way in the near future, but overall I think it’s good to have a change, or a dabble in other sectors of our sport to keep the real “fire” going, the excitement of the unknown, not the thought of another 1 lb scabby carp! But hey I’ve already waxed lyrical about that, this week is all about the anticipation, the build-up, the excitement of June the 16th the glorious one.

It is the most exciting day of the year for the anglers whom like a bit of moving water, and after a few months of the rivers looking glorious, fish topping everywhere, and then like magic, the 16th is here and they all disappear. Or do they? It could be our presence on the bank that puts these fish on edge, as they are not like their fast food type cousins who inhabit a farmers gravel extracting hole. These are the real deal, it’s man against fish, mother nature, and endurance, real “mon” fishing.

I can honestly say there is not another angler in the country who will be more excited than me, I absolutely love it, and I shall probably be on my beloved river Severn or Trent at 11.59pm with rod in hand waiting… and back home by 9am moaning about the rivers!

But with all this excitement there is a serious side to it, my gear, lines need to be changed, reels checked, nets checked to see if rodents haven’t taken a liking to them.

And then my number one ambition, to lighten my gear. I seem to take more and more each year, yet use less and less as I get into the swing of methods, so I am aiming for less than 10kilos for pleasure fishing and 30kilos for matches.

My Rive has to go, and I shall purchase a much lighter box, I may even go for a retro blue Shakespeare box, as I will either be standing, or just perched with my head looking upwards. I don’t see the need for these Carlos Fandango contraptions on the river; a baitwaiter and a blue Shakepseare box, it’s the future. And you read it here first.

Take your litter home.

So if you’re heading down to a bit of running water this weekend, don’t forget: No litter, they have been fairly tidy for a few months, no tins, or groundbait bags. If you see litter mounting up after mid-June it’s only us to blame.

If you’re off onto the Severn don’t go mad with the feed for the first few days. And if your fishing the feeder, give yourself a longer tail, you may need to drop down a little in diameter in your line, and go a little more carefully.

And if you do catch a barbel or two, and this is only down to personal preference, if you’re going to use a keepnet at all, don’t have them in there all day. Make sure they are fit as fiddles and swim each one back individually.

On the match fishing front, the Tidal Trent shall be my main focus for the first few weeks, as the practice matches for the Winter League final should swell the attendances a little. And then I shall be on the Trent and Mersey for a few practice matches before the National starts.

I’ll not be going on any of the “en vogue “ river fest matches as I like to see a pay-out matrix before I pay my hard-earned, and I like to know where the excess goes, so I’ll vote with my foot as far as they go. But it is great to see the river matches back on the calendar again.


Nathan Watson nets performance of the week.

This week’s award has to go to one of the most consistent big money anglers out there, who despite having tons of big match successes, very rarely steals the limelight, or the big money sponsorships, as he is a “character” …

I hope he won’t mind me saying that, as I find him essential to match fishing, and unusually for me I like him! And apart from being a very good angler, and his work rate and effort to get to these big money affairs is second to none, I am of course talking about Nathan Watson.

He has yet again managed to qualify for the big Fish’O’Mania final, and deservedly so, with a 154 lb from Ghost 11 at Woodland View. He made it into the final for an incredible fifth time… remarkable. Nath, take a bow son – this week’s performance of the week.


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