I've been hooked on fishing all my life and when I got into competitve match fishing in 1999 I was hooked even more!!
I caught my first fish a 2oz Perch at the age for 12 from Adlestrope Lake after joining Moreton in Marsh angling club in the early 80's. I was hooked for life and I'm still catching fish 35 years later.
There were no matches in this club and my time is mainly spent night fishing with my school mates at weekends. Then about 3 years later I fished my first ever match. This was a team of three match in South Cerney with my local youth club fishing against other youth clubs in the area. I can't remember what I caught but our team finished in 2nd place and we returned home with a runner up shield.
Angling took a backseat in my teens as like most other teenagers I found drink, fags and girls!! Then in 1995 I got married and moved to Evesham. I did go fishing sometimes but never in a match it was always pleasure fishing. In the late 90's I met Ken Savage who was a well-respected local angler in the Evesham area and this would change everything in my fishing career!
Ken persuaded me to join Evesham Jubilee angling society and we began fishing some of the club matches. I learnt a lot from Ken and after a while we were even travelling to Tunnel Barn Farm and Manor farm Leisure fishing their open matches and we even had a bit of success!! Even winning one of the Tunnel Barn Farms teams of three matches. Then one day whilst fishing the spring league at Lower Broadheath Ken told me he was packing in fishing and was going to get into golf. I thought at the time he would be back fishing but he never did. I was relatively still gaining experience with match fishing I decided to concentrate on the club scene and at this time Evesham Jubilee gained the fishing rights to a pool which later over the next 10 years developed into the Jubilee Fishery at Bishampton. Back then it was only one pool and I was asked to become secretary of the club. All my free time was now was focused with Evesham Jubilee and with the help of several members we developed it into the fishing complex it now is.
In 2018 my association with Evesham Jubilee changed. I felt the club and me were going in different directions and I resigned as secretary in the autumn but on good terms! I began to fish more opens with a few other ex Evesham Jubilee members. We formed our own match fishing group called Jubilee Nomads. We just fish Commercial opens now and its great not having to worry about running a club, matches, fishing stocks and water levels. I just enjoy my matches these days.
Over the years my fishing has been club and Open matches on Rivers, Canals, and Stillwater's within the local area and fished local association winter and summer leagues on the River Avon in Evesham. I have won many matches picking up Cups and Trophies along the way and I have also enjoyed fishing the prestigious Wychavon match at the Evesham Festival several times. I've met many friends through fishing and some of them are extremely talented anglers, I've listened and learnt so much from them on fishing methods and tactics' and suggest you will learn more from mixing with other anglers on the bank than reading about it in a magazine. So this website is a little bit of giving something back to the sport that I've enjoyed throughout my life. But I am not finished yet and hope to win many more matches along the way. I might even see you on the bank soon!
The Angling Trust
I would incourage any angler to join the Angling Trust. As an individual member. By becoming a member, you fund their work to promote angling and its future, to fight for better fish stocks in both the marine and freshwater environment and to campaign against threats to angling. It helps protect the sport and gives us a voice.
Joining the Angling Trust as an individual member includes great benefits like: 10% off at fishing venues, free £10m civil liability insurance, entry to Angling Trust member only fishing matches, member newsletters, e-updates and members only prize draws.
Visit The Angling Trust website HERE
Want to start match fishing but don't know where to start?
When I first started fishing in the 80's it was just a pleasure fishing and this continued as an enjoyable pass time into my teens and early 20's. I was actually too scared to enter a match in case I caught nothing.
I didn't have a close family member that was into fishing and I had to learn everything from scratch. I didn't really know if I was doing things right and I caught very little, but I still went fishing now and again. Back in the 80's and early 90's there was no internet and all I could do was learn from fishing books and magazines. This probably held me back for a few years before I entered my first prober senior match in my late 20's.
Around this time I benefited from becoming friends with an excellent local angler who got me into match fishing and got me to join a local club. At the time I didn't even own a pole, he soon sorted me out and we began traveling together to matches for a couple of years. I learnt a lot from him during this time, but I was still very much a novice and one day he decided to stop fishing and got onto golf.
I now had the match fishing bug but lacked anyone to learn from. So I spent several more years going to the club matches and leaning from the other anglers there. I picked up a few tips at the matches and I began reading as many fishing magazines and books as I could, even though all this information is excellent I found the best way to learn was by entering as many club matches as I could. I learn't alot just from listerning to the other anglers in the club.
The Internet became available to the masses at the end of the 90's and I watched countless youtube videos! This basically was the way forward and I spent hours on fishing pages learning and also researching the venues I fished matches on. There came a point with the fishing magazines when I realized a lot of the methods and tactics used had begun to be repeated and I stopped buying them. I guess this was because my fishing knowledge had also grown and I was now beginning to win matches on a regular basis.
These days I consider myself to be a very good angler and I have won plenty of matches. It took me years to reach the level I'm at now, but as an angler you never stop leaning. In recent years I have now realized social media has a big part to play in keeping up to date with modern trends and tactic's, within the match fishing world. I continue to learn bits and pieces from other angler's twitter and facebook pages. In fact this is a great way to interact with some of the Country's best anglers.
Match fishing isn't just pleasure fishing
I often get asked "don't you get bored going fishing all the time?" from friends and family. This is because they don't associate the difference between these two disciplines in the sport which couldn't be more different.
Wives and girlfriends often don't realize the difference and they don't understand when you get home after a match saying "I'm knackered". What I am referring to is being mentally knackered after a match because of all the thinking I've done during the match, trying to figure out the best way of catching. I often get the comment "how can you be knackered, you've just been sat on your box all day" I suggest if you are a matchman you should get your non fishing partner to read this.
Generally the difference is a pleasure fisherman will go out and enjoy his day whether it's on a river or a pool, catch a few fish in pleasant surroundings and enjoy a relaxing day waiting for a bite.
A matchman will spend hours in the garage/shed preparing his tackle for the next match. This would involve tying up mutual pole rigs/hook lengths and setting up several different rod setups. A weekly visit to the tackle shop is often required for a few bits of tackle needed for the match.
Once on the bank for the match draw the matchman will still enjoy being in the fresh air early in the morning and enjoy the scenery just the same as pleasure fisherman, but the match man will also enjoy plenty of banter with the other anglers at the draw. The matchman will often use this time to learn about the venue from the other anglers present and try to pick up tips that may be of use during the match.
Once a matchman begins fishing a match this is where the similarities between pleasure and a match men will differ. If the matchman is catching he will be happy but if he's not, he will be altering his tackle set up and making a few adjustments, or he will even switch to another method that he set up before the start of the match. The pleasure angler may also alter his set up or try another method but generally he will just carry on and have a sandwich or drink if it's quiet. A top matchman would never do this and would only drink from a flash occasionally. A matchman will also be watching the other anglers during a match and noting what and how they are catching and adjust his set up accordingly. He will also be thinking of the amount of feeding he is doing to attract fish into his swim and try to figure out if he's fed enough or not to get the best return.
So match fishing is different to pleasure fishing in many ways but it's generally mentally, in the match man's case but it's physically the same in some ways. Both are great and it's a great sport to be involved in. We've all been to the tackle shop, brought the latest item of tackle and tried to beat the Mrs home so we can get that new Rod/pole/reel in the garage/shed before she gets home!!
You know, the rod she saw last week, the one you've had for years!!