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 DREAD to think how many match anglers I have seen come and go… ten-peg wonders, big matchwinners,  Angler’s Mail Matchman of the Year points toppers, even some match fishing household names.

On the flip side, also how many newcomers I have seen hit the spotlight. Being a bit of a sports analyst I like to look at what makes these guys good, what makes them bad, and generally anything I can steal from their minds to selfishly improve my angling!

Whenever I am out on features with these anglers, I’m always looking for what gives a lot of the top ‘uns the edge, and just the other week it hit me like a train. The recipe for success in this game is, well, read on…

I have just got back from fishing with the Dynamite Matrix Trentmen (mouthful I know) on the Ouse at Littleport. Thinking that this was going to be a tough old match I decided to step forward and join the seven-man squad hoping to make it into the six, based purely on it being a scratching match.

Travelling partners are the key

Travelling partners are the key

Despite the massive costs this is the closest thing us UK anglers get to international fishing, with bait limits, pole lengths, and other CIPS rules, and I’m all for that. Believe me it’s a far cry from plonking your bum down at the local commercial and pinging a few pellets at carp.

So with a lot of prep I looked forward to my first weekend and drafted in my long suffering, and at 22 years old, an international veteran, Samantha Perkins for help. I’m glad I did, and this is where my story unfolds regarding the recipe for match fishing success….Travelling partners.

It’s hard coming up with new writing material week in week out, and it would be easy to draw myself into a style of blogging that has become popular with match blokes, like “drew peg 22 used a float, it went down, caught lots of fish, I’m very good, won the match.” (Well it would be easy if I did actually win something!) I try to bring something else to the table, and whenever I am out and about fishing nowadays, I’m always looking forward to learning things, and gaining material to write about. This week the importance of good traveling partners stood out like a salmon in Makins.

A fellow member of the trade and very good angler Mr Tom Scholey came under my scrutiny this week, and drawing next to him in practise matches, I just could not believe, and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, how much he had come on, he was awesome.

I suppose being involved with a match fishing magazine, or being involved in the fishing media, you are never really looked on as a big threat. There is always a flowery feel to our conversations not a fear factor. So I was looking forward to a few days with Tom, now I hate him, he gave all of us a spanking.

A lesson in bloodworm fishing, it’s as if he had been cloned into “Big Al” overnight, but could it be the draw? No, anywhere he drew,  he caught fish, lots of them. He had it all – the rhythm, the right mix, the right gear, and I am sure as a match angler you will know what I mean when I say it was a joy to watch.

But how had Tom done this, where has this sudden godliness on the bank come from?

Travelling partners Tom and Matt

Travelling partners Tom and Matt

Well fast forward a few days, and enter Tom’s new “husband” Mr Matt Godfrey. He only made the practise sessions a little late on due to work commitments.

Matt is a real genius, a performer of the highest standard and along with James Dent, Matt is one of the finest anglers we are ever going to see. And this is where it all begins to fit into place – he also happens to be Toms travelling buddy.

I’m not saying that Tom was crap to begin with, well I am sort of, but I can see how Tom’s boyfriend has rubbed off on him. I can imagine the “bedtime discussions”, of how much leam to use, how much joker to put in. Whatever it is, it’s worked, and joking aside, obviously travelling long distances to and from matches Tom and Matt have to discuss something, and post-match analysis is always good if you can pick something up from a section winner or a framer… even better if you can combine two great fishing minds.

After a few days practise it became apparent, Tom is one of the most improved anglers I have seen in years, and I love seeing it. Even if he did absolutely batter me every day, there is something very heart-warming about seeing nice blokes in angling do very well, and Tom is one of them.

So there you have it, it’s not the pole, the bait, or the lucky drawing arm, it’s all there, it’s the secret to match fishing fame and fortune; The Travelling Partner.

If you haven’t framed for a few weeks, I’m afraid it might be time for the “discussion” with your current fishing pal, and a classified ad in the back of the Angler’s Mail.

collett match awards

Sam lloyd bridgnorthThis week has seen some amazing team performances with Barnsley totally dominating the Preston World Club Champs Qualifier, and there have been some amazing individual performances, young Matt Godfrey winning both days on that match.

Joe Oakes superb 25lb of hemp fish on the River Soar winter league practise, but as ever one performance stood out. This young lad, has been fishing for a few years now, and I remember him talking to me about match fishing, only last year, so I was delighted to see this picture. “First match win.”

I was buzzing yet alone him, and hopefully in a few years we will hear more about young Sam Lloyd from Bridgnorth who had his first match win on the Hoccum pool with 37lb 9oz.

Well done young Sam, a deserved Angler’s Mail performance of the week.




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