WELCOME TO the  Tuesday blog – a bit later than planned due to a technical hold-up, but a great read. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.

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Steve Collett – one of the keenest and most proficient all round anglers – is now a weekly blogger here. Follow his match, pleasure and big fish adventures…and learn a few top tips too.


AFTER helping Angler’s Mail photojournalist Ian Chapmann to cover last week’s Winter League final at the awesome Partridge Lakes, I had a real insight into what our country’s top match anglers do, when faced with either a new venue, or a high pressure match, and what an eye opener it was for me.

I have to be honest all my effort was put into watching two teams, Barnsley Blacks, and Drennan northwest, both teams have been putting a huge amount of practice in on the venue, and as well as having superb local knowledge, with the likes of young Andy Bennett, and  Barnsley with none other than the five-times world champion Alan Scotthorne, you could forgive me for not having my eyes on anyone else !

Walking round the venue, it soon became apparent that this would be a tough day for some, with soaring temperatures, and clear skies, any peg with a slight breeze or ripple, would have a advantage on the day.

First pool I came to was Ribbon, and looking round you could see people catching immediately with small fish coming readily to pegs that had a “slight breeze” on the water.

On the corner of Ribbon was a young Callum Dicks, who every time I looked round at him, he seemed to be shaking his head, as there was nothing he could do. He was in a real no man’s land, nothing he could do… the fish just didn’t seem to be there, and I felt for him. I have been in the same area on a FishoMania qualifier and I knew exactly how he felt. So in my notes I put down a 7 or 8 as in where he would finish in the section.

I was to be proved very wrong, Callum seemed to make things happen. I don’t think the fish just turned up, he went looking for them, and this seemed to be exactly what the rest of his team-mates did. Dorking just seemed to know. It’s not that they have put lots of practice in on the venue – not an arrogance thing, more of a logistical thing – but somehow they just seemed to “know”. And so did I!

So I grabbed a few minutes with Callum to try and find out how Dorking seemed to be an unbeatable outfit…

Callum Dicks reveals what goes on in the mind of an angler good enough to fish for all-conquering Daiwa Dorking.


Callum, what did you think of that peg when you drew it? Good draw or bad ?

I didn’t know enough of the lake to know whether it was a good draw or not, the other side of the lake had some ripple that’s always good, and the other side is usually where all the pleasure anglers go so I would of fancied there, but I wasn’t sure.

Will Raison and Mark Goddard fished my lake for about an hour on the Wednesday night, I watched and had a quick go that was the first time I had seen the lake, so I couldn’t say whether it was a bad draw or not… but I would soon find out!


I saw you struggling a few hours in, then found out you turned it around, what was the point in the match when things started to happen ? All matchmen that do well have a “point” in the match where everything seems to click?

After 3 1/2 hours my peg really was gone it was awful I stopped catching – the only fish I was catching were very small. I saw the odd fish top, 3 meters down my peg against the far bank, I had no other option but to give it a go.

Nothing was happening elsewhere in my peg, and I immediately had some bites. The fish I caught down my peg were much bigger as well, a lot bigger stamp than I had caught previously in the match. I also had a good last hour and a half over against the far bank and the odd fish down the edge.

So I would say three and a half hours in was “the point”, showing you should never give up on a peg no matter how bad you think it is.


Caster’s scored for Callum, but that wasn’t THE bait for the talented Dorking side.

Was there any team bait strategy or did you fancy a bait in particular?

I fancied starting the match on pellets against the far bank, whilst loose feeding casters against some reeds – priming that line to fish shallow there. I also fished an edge line. I didn’t want to overcomplicate things I wanted to concentrate on fishing certain lines correctly.

I had to change because I was going nowhere – I went down the bank and started to catch.


When you drew this, did you think, oh no this is a last in section?

I was never worried. When I go into teams I’ve got the view that I just got to try and finish as high up my section as possible because I know the other anglers in my team on good pegs will win. It’s anglers on bad pegs that win team matches.


Did you have a target weight in mind?

I couldn’t set a target because I didn’t know the lake well enough, but I always try and win.


What did you end up catching the most on?

I caught most of my fish on casters shallow against the bank.


What kind of rigs did you set up?

I set up three dibbers for fishing shallow with a very short line between my pole and float. I set up a couple of rigs for fishing with pellets across in about two foot of water, and a edge rig where I fed groundbait and maggots loooking to catch everything that swims.


So come on, Callum – what is it that makes Dorking a unbeatable outfit at the moment?

It’s impossible to say that’s there one thing that makes us win, I think it’s a combination of lots of different things.

Every angler is individually very good, we put lots of effort into every team match, we speak a lot – we’re always on the phone to each other talking about what’s happening with fishing at that time.

But I think the one thing that makes the biggest difference is that we all are very thorough with our preparation every box is ticked we leave nothing to chance.


What are the next achievements Dorking have their eyes on?

We have got a mad two of couple of weekends coming up, the Division One National (full report in next Angler’s Mail magazine) followed by the Evesham Festival (event details here).


What do you think of the “state” of team match fishing in the UK at the moment?

I think team fishing is dieing a touch, simply because of the cost of everything, team fishing is very expensive and the state of the economy isn’t good.

But I think the introduction of the England Feeder (team) is a step in the right direction for team fishing, it has opened up international team fishing to a much wider range of anglers.

It’s very important that companies such as Preston Innovations keep supporting team events such as the Division 1 National top 10 qualifier, or team fishing really will die to death.

It’s the poor pegs that win team matches, the good pegs take care of themselves, so if faced with a poor peg catch as much as you can and try to finish as high up your section as possible. Never give up because you’re not catching.


Thanks Callum (if you’re reading, mate) – a fascinating chat!

My final team fishing thoughts…

Talking to Callum it became pretty clear that Daiwa Dorking were a very close knit team, everything is discussed between themselves and nothing is left to chance, and of course they are all individually very very good anglers.

And when I first wrote this I was on my way to a World Championships in Holland, so didn’t manage to see whether or not Dorking had done any good on the Division One National – but as we all know now they did win it, and hats off to them.

The next week for me will be spent on the banks of the canal in Leeuwarden for the Ladies World Championships, and rooming with Mr Tommy Pickering all week will be an eye opener I’m sure. I’m sure I can pick his brains on feeder fishing in between mixing groundbait carrying tackle and bank-running all week!

So sorry for the short but sweet blog, and in between travelling I have been on the jungle drums trying to find out who would get this week’s Angler’s Mail performance of the week.

This week it has to go to Dave Brown of Maver Midlands who had a fantastic win on the Birmingham Fazeley Canal on the Dams and Locks Summer League with a massive 32 lb 13 oz … he was helped by a huge 20 lb common though! Still a great performance and a great bloke. Well done.


Don’t miss this week’s mag, with free line and a close look at some top tackle, including MAP’s latest match feeders.