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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WELL I don’t know about you, I really enjoyed this weekend’s Fishomania final, it had everything. To me it is THE match fishing event, unless Phil Briscoe’s Maver Match this ever gets the Sky TV treatment that is.

But what is it about this 16-pegger that we all enjoy so much?

For myself it’s the build-up, the wait for the tickets (I didn’t apply this year due to angling politics, another story) then for most of us it’s the scrolling down the web page to see if my names on the list.

After what seems like an eternity it’s usually a long trip down to Viaduct Fishery to catch up with the familiar faces as the Fisho band waggon rolls on. Then for me it’s usually a really crap peg, and a drive of 300 miles chuntering to myself: ‘why do I bother?!’

I really enjoy it. I must say I preferred it when we had the qualifiers on natural venues, but at the moment apart from the National it’s our only well attended event. And the lure of the £30,000 winner-takes-all-final is enough to keep us travelling up and down the country to get a chance to take part in this weekend’s 16 pegger.

Action from the second day at Cudmore, where Sky Sports transmitted hours of weekend live angling and comment.

I love it, but is it just us hardened matchmen that enjoy it? I asked a few people to take part in a little experiment and torture or pleasure them in to watching all of Fishomania on TV. Two anglers of different disciplines, and two non-anglers. The results were surprising…

Subject A, whom shall remain nameless!

What a bunch of noddies. For a start they all had white shirts on and looked like they were trying to scare the fish by waving the pole around, what’s all that about? No wonder half of ’em didn’t catch ‘owt. I don’t get it, Steve, to me it looked like one bloke who sat on the plum peg for the day and went home happy with 30 grand. And I’m amazed they get away with that kind of fish care?

Subject B, again full anonymity!

The bit of totty was alright! I thought it was ok Steve but once that bloke had got so far ahead I must admit I reneged on the deal, and channel hopped! Ok to switch to, but struggled a bit Stevie. On the Sunday, I thought they were supposed to be the best of the best but they didn’t catch as much, and they didn’t explain why? I would like to see a carp champs on the telly though.

Now obviously those two were the anglers, and also hardened carp campers. I mean catchers so it may not be their bag, different blokes for different strokes. And until I explained in detail what was happening, they just don’t get it. Maybe that’s a modern carper, who had jumped straight into a bivvie and a buzzer, not a bent pin and a bullhead?

Then two non-anglers. I thought this would be a struggle…

Subject C, a female!

I quite enjoyed it Steve. I must admit to being a bit baffled, and did not understand why their rods were so long (gigitty, it’s a fishing thang love) and why they have to drag them in so quickly? And I suppose it might have been nice to include if you could eat them or not? Did the eat them all? But I have a confession: I fell asleep so missed the end, and couldn’t bear to stay in the house for another day on Sunday, sorry Steve.

Subject D, a male non angler!

Bloody hell Steve, it’s a bit technical for me, and a bit too long. I did find it more exciting than I thought I would, and it opened my eyes as I thought it was a relaxing pastime. You can’t call this a sport though Steve. This level of fishing stuff seems full-on, I didn’t understand what was going on with the very thick line they had hanging out of the rods, and all of the helpers? Why drag them in so fast, why put them back, lots of head scratching. I would need to watch it or read up on it next time Steve, baffled me.


So a few interesting views, and I think it shows that we can be a bit blinkered when it comes to putting these events on TV. Sky and the Matchroom team have to be applauded for this, as it’s quite apparent it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it may get a few new faces into the sport (or pastime depending on your view).

While most of us think it’s great viewing, the rest of the non-believers need a bit of educating along the way, as do some of the weigh-in staff. I hid my eyes from the telly when I saw that Angling Trust steward fanning the fish with a clipboard to keep them cool, I am still traumatised by it!

I would like to see a bit more recognition from my own channel, the one I keep afloat, the Beeb. I know they will be reporting about the cheese-rolling final, or the caterpillar-eating contest in Bilston this week, but no Fisho. C’mon Beeb – throw us a bone.

I also kept my experiments glued to the screen by texting the Angler’s Mail photographer throughout the event, and asking him to give secret signals to the viewers whenever he came into shot, like standing on one leg… childish, but it kept ‘em glued! And Ian “Champman” became an interweb sensation!

My opinion, for what it’s worth is that it’s an excellent platform for angling. And judging by feedback I have done, it needs a bit more “Angling for Dummies” side to it, and use it as a tool to welcome newcomers into our wonderful sport. Yes that’s it; a sport.


Will shares the winning moment with Big Al at Cudmore.

Well this week there is loads I would like to give it to. Young Abbi Kendall for winning the ladies festival at White Acres, Emma Pickering for continuing a great run, winning Fisho for wenches after the national, and off course Jamie for dominating this year’s event.

But the performance of the week must go to Big Alan Scotthorne and Mr William Raison, who took the spoils for England in Sunday’s international in a match that had the equivalent of a last minute equaliser, and an extra time winner. An absolute stunning performance from both, Big Al, and Slim Will, take a bow, we salute you.


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