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.

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YOU may have remembered a few weeks ago I touched on the subject of the “dark side” meaning specimen carp fishing, and how we as individuals can learn from each other.

Well it sparked a bit of a debate, and turned out to be a cyberspace war on who does this and who does that. The tag line that reoccurred over and over again was fish care.

Now, before I started my blog, I thought I would need to determine what side of the fence I am on. To be honest I can’t. You see, I match fish a lot but don’t class myself as a matchman. I pike fish, tench, sea, and fly fish, but I never categorise myself in those groups either. So I sit on the fence really, that’s not a cop out, I do, so I really can see both sides of the argument I am about to explain to you.

What started off as a genuine discussion about “match fishing carp” getting bigger, and the methods used were bringing us closer together, was met with “cyber anger” by a few down to the essentials of fish welfare, “Bad matchmen handling” and “bulging nets” along with many more accusations. I really did separate the camps on this one, and left me pondering who is the worst?

Let’s have a look at scenario one. The occasional specimen carp angler, who at his local water bags a 15-pounder, and proud as punch he prepares the net, takes of the handle, carefully transfers his prize into a retention sack, then gets the scales ready. Then another little bus ride to the unhooking mat, where the gorgeous 15-pounder is photographed, both sides don’t forget, and a bit of Bonjella applied to the hook hold, and returned yet again to the mat where it is safely returned to its watery home, happy days. And even to type that it took a few minutes, so is that right or wrong? Personally I don’t see anything wrong.

So scenario two. There’s me, head to toe in a brightly coloured Goretex get up, (or 80s shell suits as we are known by our carpy brethren) fishing the pellet waggler and find myself attached to a lump 15lb. After a short fight the beast is in my net, unhooked and transferred to my huge Steve Collett clinic-for-carps keepnet, where he can chill out and get over his addiction from my 11mm Dynamite pellets, along with his fellow addicts. Four hours later he is transferred to a weigh net, and released within seconds, gone again to swim in his watery lair, and sulk for a while. Is that right or wrong? Personally again I don’t see any harm coming to these fish?

So after hours and hours of deliberation I decided one thing, and that is if we are to secure our future in angling, and keep the sport we love so much and love bickering about, we need to stick together. In 30 years of match fishing I have never seen a matchman want to hurt a fish, or damage it in anyway. The same could be said for carp angling. Ok I may have seen a bit of mishandling in both camps but never an angler deliberately setting out to harm.

So whether a carp angler, a matchman or a pleasure angler, next time when an internet virtual handbag slinging contest arises, we need to sit back for a second, have a cyber group hug, and realise, we are all enjoying the same sport. Make love – not death rigs!


This weekend saw the UK bathe under a massive 10 degrees and in some parts even more. And although everyone’s thoughts were that huge weights would pop up everywhere and ten nets would be needed, it didn’t quite work out that way.

As the temperatures have been so up and down, I’m not sure the fish know where they are, and match weights show that with the few exceptions.

This week’s performance of the week must go to Darren Cox who for the fourth time has managed to secure a place in this years Fish o Mania and a chance of the big payday. Darren put together a superb net of 82 lb 7 oz of F1s and carp to 10 lb, to give himself a bit more petrol money, and a few months to relax before hopefully putting his name on the trophy this time.

A big well done, and even better than a Fisho cheque, the honour of an Angler’s Mail performance of the week!





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