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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I REMEMBER a few years ago when after 3pm and the “all out” was signalled, a quick walk round the bank asking “done any good mate?” would be greeted by, “yes mate had about 30-40lb.”

Smiling faces and a very good chance of a brown envelope made match fishing quite a pleasant place, a very nice way to enjoy a Sunday morning.

Then only a few weeks ago, I presented the same question to my fellow angler in the next peg whom had been catching all day, and so had I, the answer was very different! “No Sh#t mate, probably 100lb-120lb not good enough though! NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”

This made my wee boil, but gave me inspiration for this blog. Where has it all gone wrong? If it has, and where are we going with commercial match fishing?

I suppose it’s the nature of the beast that as human beings we always want to go one better than our fellow man. We are competitive by our very nature and even more so when we add match fishing into the mix.

But are we really enjoying ourselves in our thirst for huge bulging bags of carp? What is it that is driving us to want to put more and more in our keepnets? Where will it end? 500lb… 600lb… a 1,000lb maybe, would you enjoy that?

I’ve had big bags of carp, but it’s not the most enjoyable form of fishing for me…far from it.

In the early days of match-fishing, when I say early I mean the 80s BF1 (before F1s), a 10lb carp in a match would be headline news and a 60-70lb net of fish would have almost definitely put a big brown envelope in your sky rocket.

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting old but the match-fishing world, whilst still very highly competitive, seemed a more enjoyable place. A day out was a day out, with 20lb you were always in with a shout.

Then came larger match size carp, or did we suss out how to catch them, whichever way you look at it, times were a changing.

My wake-up call came in the early 90s when I managed to fluke 288 lb 10o z in a match that was somewhat a talking point. It was colossal at the time, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Every time I chucked my bagging waggler in, a fish was on, and I was knackered by the end of it. Having only one keepenet, as was the norm, the weigh in gathered quite a crowd, and there they were 55 carp, like peas in a pod.

After a few weighs they all went back, and instead of looking to the sky and marvelling in my own achievement, I suddenly thought: “I didn’t really enjoy that.” Don’t get me wrong I am not being big headed; it was just not why I go fishing.

You see like most of you, I love the process of working something out when fishing, seeing it all come together. The good feeling of tricking a few roach, tempting a tench or two on an inside line, not the robotic process of accumulating a big weight just because I can, and that’s what’s happening in my eyes. Commercial carp fishing has become a robotic weights and measures operation missing the biggest thing of all, enjoyment.

So where is it all going to end up? Should we be singing the praises of 300 lb plus weights, or championing a 20 lb skimmer catch? It’s different blokes for different strokes I suppose, but I think we are in danger of missing the FUN bit, as a win at all costs mentality creeps in.

This need for 100 lb-plus bags could be dangerous for angling, has the excitement or thought process gone out of it, or do we want more? I think we need to be careful what we wish for!

A gorgeous week again for many and a few venues have seen the resident carp looking for love and things other than a 4mm pellet. But a few hardy souls have ventured onto the natural waterways and one in particular fished well with great catches all round.

The competition needed more than 12lb to beat this week’s winner of the Anglers Mail performance of the week Gary Owen (good intent) who had 12-13-4; of caster fish. But he was helped by a real “beast” of around 8lb in the shape of a carp to see him take the honours on the Birmingham/Worcs Canal at Purdiswell, and lead the field by more than 3lb with a little help.

But nonetheless, a great performance and a great tale, take a bow Gary Owen, this week’s Anglers Mail performance of the week.


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