Tuesday’s blog is from 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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Who are these “proper” anglers?


I recently had a lovely conversation with a guy, who in-between inflating my ego, put to me a very interesting phrase, “I like you Steve because you’re a proper angler…”

20 years ago I would have smiled and agreed at anything this guy said, but now I’m a few years wiser,  and an expert in getting on people’s boobs, I wanted to take him to task on this – what is a proper angler?

Now to me there is no such thing, and it grinds my gears to even suggest that there is. I like to think of us as all the same. Just like a footballer is a footballer, whether he plays for Chelski or the Red lion Sunday B team, isn’t he? And a golfer is a golfer? And so on, but somehow in our own self-destructing ways we like to break away and form splinter groups, and it’s happening in match fishing too, and in all branches as I see it has become a topic on a popular angling forum.

I like to take the mickey, and a lot of my pals know this, so any commercial fishery I attend will see the specialists and venue regulars come under some sort banter, and verbal abuse. But the truth is I really admire these guys, whether it be on small pools or F1 complexes – they know what they are doing, and believe me F1s are not easy to catch. They’re not my cup of tea, and that’s probably because I haven’t really dedicated my time to be able to catch them in numbers and the consistency required to be able to win matches week in week out, and to be honest I don’t think I have the skills to pay the bills!

“He is only a club angler!” Another phrase that curls my hair! I don’t see anything wrong with being ‘only a club angler’, have you ever heard or said down the pub, “he is ONLY an amateur boxer”? I don’t think you have, so what is it about us danglers that brings out this “racism”?

A club angler has to develop more skills than you think; for instance new venues week in week out, and during the summer months they are fishing times that are not usually conducive to big weights, for instance 10-3 in the summer when the Opens are 4-9pm when the fish are most active. And the competition is fierce – everyone wants to win, and usually no one has an edge, to me that’s good dangling.

Then there is the ultimate match fishing separation, natural vs commercial. I’ve written, or moaned about this before, and the only difference I can find is the walk! We are all after fish, and at the end of the day, it’s your right or left hand that counts at the draw.

So is there a “proper” angler? I don’t think so, I would like to think we are all just anglers, and despite our quest for different species we can all pull together if called upon for the good of our “sport”.


collett match awards


Denis White

Denis White – ‘Fatha’

Well usually a covering of snow would be common place at this time of year, but instead we are having to endure a whole load of  rain, making most of the rivers difficult to fish unless off course you are this week’s winner, and all-round legend! Having to deal with an out-of-form Yorkshire Ouse, this week’s champ managed to put his experience to use and take the spoils on this 80 pegger winter league round. Mr Denis White put together a hard earned 20 odd roach for 6-0-0 on groundbait feeder and earn the title of Angler’s Mail performance of the week. Fatha, take a bow.





The brilliant new issue of Angler's Mail is out from Tuesday, January 7. Be sure to get your copy.

The brilliant new issue of Angler’s Mail is out from Tuesday, January 7. Be sure to get your copy.