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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AFTER my mad carping and specimen exploits (see the new Angler’s Mail issue – with free rod rest), it’s usually around this time of year that the brightly coloured Halkon-Hunts get an airing, and I am bestowing my good looks and charms around the country attending matches.

This week I have been going with a good pal of mine who works bloody hard all year, and looks forward to filling his nets during his two-week factory shutdown. And it was this week that it really hit home with us both, that certain factors within match fishing are killing it.

Team fishing is on the decline, so the camaraderie and the loyalty and mick-taking will disappear. The meetings in small pubs on a Wednesday to talk ten-minutes tactics and three hours bol’#ks will go… instead leaving us with venue experts, and people who still live at home with 22 cats and a fascination with big knives.

Most of you will already know what I am talking about; it’s the dreaded admin fee, the hidden tax on an already expensive game.

Take this week for instance, during a match I asked the guys around me and some close pals, what they earned, for the purpose of this very blog. And despite the upper echelon of our angling lords thinking they all earn “salaries” they don’t, well they do but they don’t know what it is…

They get paid weekly, living week to week before the dreaded OD appears on the cash machine.

I averaged it out at £250 a week, some more, some less. Then over a pint, not a friggin Pimms or smoked salmon, we worked out the day’s cost, and for some the weekend, as they needed to get the practise in.

Here’s how it panned out:

  • Bait half a squatt, maggots, and a few casters £8.00
  • Worms at £15 a kilo
  • Groundbait £2.99 a kilo
  • A brekkie and a pint £7.50 (or for the new millionaire Dave Brown champers and cumquats £60)
  • Fuel £10-20
  • And entry fee £15

= A roundabout figure of £65-75

An expensive day, but, and it’s a big but, you might get some pennies back with a section win, or getting in the frame might supply you with curry monies. And on top of that you have had a good day out. That’s the main thing, the craic, the mick taking, the jibes about our football teams, what Dave Brown is going to buy with his money, that kind of thing, a usual afternoon of good banter….

STOP! There was no banter this weekend, everyone had a face like a smacked arse, because word was out, that the next match was to be run by our governing body and the dreaded “admin fee” mean that for £25 entry you were fishing for £9 of that… what?

The rest was going on admin. Who is this admin? Is it Madonna and Didier Drogba doing the weigh in?

Before I get sent to a wicker man and set on fire, I have no objection to fees being paid, to helpers and volunteers getting expenses, but something has to be done because of this:

All of these matches with roughly the same attendances have been run by a few blokes for nowt, nada, nothing, not a dime, but I would gladly part with a couple of quid for them. And between 100 blokes that £2 will not be begrudged by anyone, and provide old Albert or whoever with a nice supper for his efforts of weighing in and pegging out. I do not know anyone in match fishing who would frown upon this.

So where is it going, I keep hearing about volunteers? what about the paid staff you already have, get them on a bit of O/T I am sure they would welcome the extra money?

We have heard that a more transparent matrix will become available soon, and so it should, because on the bank, and on the streets the natives are getting restless. And a few are already voting with their feet and not fishing this particular match.

It will become well subscribed off course as it’s a WEEK before the national on the SAME venue… who came up with that idea? And did he or she get some of the £9? If so get rid, and get someone in who knows what they are doing before you kill top level match fishing off altogether.

And before I get jumped upon by the Mafioso for going to “print” we are as members entitled to an opinion – and potential members should be looked upon as potential customers, not cast to hell and treated like parasites – all the match fraternity are doing is voicing an opinion, and there is no one to go to.

I’ll do it if you like, just stop ruining our sport, your sport.

Rant done. Phew.

On a much brighter note the fishing has been up and down this week, and it’s great to see a few river matches getting great attendances with Riverfest well under way.

It was the mighty River Trent at Burton that has provided us with this week’s Angler’s Mail performance of the week, and a weight of 21-2-0 of roach and chub on the waggler gave Nick West this week’s title, after he took the honours on the Whizz Kids Charity match on the crown meadow section.

A great day’s fishing, a great cause, and a worthy winner… Nick West from Nottingham, take a bow, pal.


PS.. If you’ve not yet bought this week’s issue of Angler’s Mail, do yourself a favour and get it. Not only can you find out me stepping into the dark side of specimen hunting, there is a stack of terrific stuff to read, and you get a FREE rod rest head. Click below to watch the video of me trying it – it’s a good gift.





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