Tony Keeling

WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean match fishing. This week Steve Collett has gone fishing – a top secret mission – which he’ll tell you about at a later date.

Into his blogging boots steps Angler’s Mail match fishing reporter and Where To Fish sage, Tony Keeling. One of the best canal anglers (and match organisers) in his younger days, top man Tony is still an ace to be reckoned with, and very much in touch with the whole scene.

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AS YOU all probably know match fishing has formed a big chunk of my life. After over 50 years of it I would not change a thing. I also feel I have given a fair bit back to the game through running Nationals, countless Leagues and open matches. I have also put a fair chunk of my coin into sponsored matches and so forth.

Anyway, enough personal details, there was a 90-peg Winter League right on my doorstep last Sunday to look forward to – or was there?…

I live within walking distance of my local Staffs-Worcs but the midweek banter of where the pegs were going really made me cringe, nothing was thought out properly and there was nearly an unmitigated disaster that could have been avoided.

I drew a section called the Arches and in the sloppy mud I would never have made it to my peg without the help of Steve Broome, Steve is a really good egg and has helped me more than once.

This, with your kit was the mother of all walks and I knew what we were going to – SOD ALL. Fifteen of us in a line, detached from the rest – it was a disaster waiting to happen and it so nearly did.

I was late starting but not bothered as you could all but see straight across the cut and as it was well below the where the water is ‘drawn off’ there was no flow. It was obvious this shouldn’t have been in.

The match started and it wasn’t long before the phone started ringing and ringing and ringing. A few of our lads were doing well which cheered me up, we were also having the usual banter between the guys around me, at least it was great company.

Gudgeon… at last!

With an hour to go I was the only non-catcher in our team as the seemingly millionth phone call revealed. Tony Barker had a roach barely an inch long, I swear blind someone threw it him from the back of a boat!

All of a sudden Damian Parry had a mini gudgeon then other one. Despite my appeal to put one on eBay he was taking no notice.

Anyway half an hour to go and the float sides gracefully under and after clenching my cheeks as tight as they would go a 4 dram roach was well worn out. Anyhows, I had five more to weigh in a magical 2 oz 5 drams despite the scales giving me an ounce start and won the section but more importantly it gave us good points. By my reckoning, allowing for the ounce out on the scales, three ounces was the sum total in my section.

I also had to record the weights and I was last off the bank. A big thanks to Tony Barker for carrying my holdall back before I started on the long drudge back. The mud was thicker and despite the ridiculous walk it was fun up to now but this is where everything started to go wrong…

We can’t all walk for miles, and miles… and pegging shouldn’t overstretch us.

As I was walking back at my own pace, repairing my trolley several times as the wheels kept falling off,  it was blatantly obvious that there was a guy in deep trouble. He was pegged next to me and had fallen over his barrow on his way back. This was not funny one little bit, he was in a terrible state.

I was left with him on our own, waiting to help to arrive. Thankfully it did but he could have done well without this walk, to be honest he was ill enough before this.

He also had no idea on how far his walk was before the start. He did recover but I never want to see anything like this again, it was totally unnecessary.

What is wrong with pegging in a straight line especially when you can? I have run lots of 100-plus peggers on this length without needlessly splitting the pegs up and without dry nets.

There certainly would have been no ‘dries’ either if it was pegged in sensible fashion where all the flow was.

It is simply not worth pegging all over the place, there is safety in numbers; the dangers are here to see…

Food for thought.




Fred Cheetham

Matchman of the century just has to be my team captain Fred Cheetham.
Like a good bottle of win he gets better with age, he won this match in question with 18 lb odd of hemp roach, never has there been a more deserving winner.








Keep catching whatever the weather – there’s loads of great tips in this week’s Angler’s Mail.