IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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THIS is the weekend I love: the Christmas match!

The fishing is usually rubbish, most of us catch very little, but the day sums up a lot about what fishing means.

It’s getting together with a load of people – many who often don’t fish another competition all year – to have a nice cooked breakfast, a good chat, five hours of sitting in rubbish weather, then a raffle, prizes and a beer.

Oh and more banter about how the fishing next year will be totally different.

I still remember one of my first Xmas match, only then it was called a Fur and Feather because you got something that you skinned or plucked to stuff in the oven for your December 25 dinner (they never did allow for a vegetarian winning!).

I’ve seen Santa hats at fur and feather matches, but never the full outfit… YET!!

There would also be loads of other prizes that included various foods, cakes and, of course, alcohol in the shape of beers and spirits.

That first event was pretty lucky for me and I remember going home with as great big hamper full of all sorts of stuff. That won me mega points with my mam. I always wonder why I never tried to sell the stuff to her…

A few years ago I was lucky enough to draw a nice looking swim on the river where I extracted a few chub to notch my first-ever Christmas win. Fatter people in the Mitchell household, yet again.

Two years ago I knew that my only hope was a chub, or two, or bust. So the perch I got pretty early on to my lobworm rig was a bonus – the near-5lb chub that came next ensured a nice place in the frame. More Mitchells in relaxed mood thanks to the bottles.

Last year I blanked. Now usually that wouldn’t worry me in the Christmas event but as my lad snaffled a tiny dace (or it could have been a chub it was that small) he beat me. I have never lived that down…he won’t let me.

He appears to have forgotten his first Christmas match, I think he was 14 or 15, when he drew a swim that I fancied for a few roach, or a perch or two.

I blanked (note the pattern?) and he snatched two big perch – on his lightweight roach rig, that I had tied for him – to frame. At least he didn’t try to sell me his boxes of food and drink…and he wasn’t very fast at sharing the winnings either, despite you know who paying his entry fee!

If you are reading this as it goes live on line I will be down the river – or on the lake if there’s a flood. My lad will be looking to beat me. I will be hoping for a fish.

We will both enjoy the day and the event. Have a great Christmas and hope your string gets pulled as soon as you get out onto the bank…





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