Measure of Success

Dave Spence

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I was talking to my father the other day, we were on about the 'top' match anglers and he made the comment "if I had fished as many matches as they do I would have been a top angler when I was on the circuit". He went on to say that if an angler fishes 3 or 4 matches a week then, provided they are decent, they are bound to win a few during the course of a season and start making a name for themselves. The average chap on the bank, fishing only sunday club matches and the occasional open will not, by the law of averages, win as many as the aforementioned 3/4 matches a week guys.

When I was "dedicated" I had my best season in 1982/83 on the Trent circuit. I went the whole season without dropping out of the top 6 although I only had a couple of wins and a couple of frames. On paper this did not look too impressive but I rated my success through the consistency of placement and the calibre of the anglers I was fishing with. Obviously you have to consider the standard of the matches you are fishing, the difference between club and open matches was, and still is immense; you only need to look at the weights from opens and compare them to club weights on the same venues to realise this. You also have to consider the size of the matches, a 200 peg open on a big river is a lot more difficult to win than a 20 pegger on a commercial.

Back in 2016 I had a 100% win rate but I did not consider this a successful season as I only fished the 1 match!!

What do you consider success?
 

G0zzer2

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I have to disagree that fishing three or four matches a week will help make you a top angler. The anglers who fish several matches a week at top level do so because they are good. They are good - so they fish more often, not the other way round.

Having said that, success is doing as well as you think you are capable of, and you are the only person who can genuinely judge that. But regular framing in the level you choose would be my opinion. If you are successful on the open commercial top match circuit then you are Very Very good indeed, as the standard now is immeasurable higher than it was even 25 years ago.
 

dave brittain 1

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When anglers you respect and hold in high esteem start asking you questions and how you fished, you are on the right track. I don't agree with the person who fishes 3/4 matches a week being successful as they are often the anglers striving for success but never make it but when they do frame, it makes all the effort worthwhile. These are the anglers who are often just happy to be on the bank.

The successful anglers who do make it have a different mindset and thirst for knowledge that some struggle to understand. This is imbued with total self belief and confidence that breeds success. Some anglers have it others have a bit of it however anglers like this fishing 2-4 times a week are very difficult to beat.

Venue and method experts are another subject but are often found wanting when they have to fish outside their comfort zone. The truly successful anglers with their thirst for knowledge will learn, perfect and adapt any method they are not initially comfortable with because they thrive on the challenge.
 

abbo27

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I was talking to my father the other day, we were on about the 'top' match anglers and he made the comment "if I had fished as many matches as they do I would have been a top angler when I was on the circuit". He went on to say that if an angler fishes 3 or 4 matches a week then, provided they are decent, they are bound to win a few during the course of a season and start making a name for themselves. The average chap on the bank, fishing only sunday club matches and the occasional open will not, by the law of averages, win as many as the aforementioned 3/4 matches a week guys.

When I was "dedicated" I had my best season in 1982/83 on the Trent circuit. I went the whole season without dropping out of the top 6 although I only had a couple of wins and a couple of frames. On paper this did not look too impressive but I rated my success through the consistency of placement and the calibre of the anglers I was fishing with. Obviously you have to consider the standard of the matches you are fishing, the difference between club and open matches was, and still is immense; you only need to look at the weights from opens and compare them to club weights on the same venues to realise this. You also have to consider the size of the matches, a 200 peg open on a big river is a lot more difficult to win than a 20 pegger on a commercial.

Back in 2016 I had a 100% win rate but I did not consider this a successful season as I only fished the 1 match!!

What do you consider success?
I only fish 7 or 8 matches ( commercial opens) a year since I started fishing again about 5 years ago and unfortunately only fish a few times in small rivers in between. When I first started success was not coming last. It has now moved on to beating those either side, or at least one side and putting a respectable weight in the net without threatening the winners. Success this season will be putting my first ton in the net, which has proved much more difficult than I would have imagined based on the comments you read about how easy commercials are!
 

Scribe

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Getting set up in time for the all in !
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Not long after I retired in 2008 and started to fish two and sometimes three times a week my match results improved. A club mate made this observation and drew the conclusion that my fishing had improved with the increase in frequency of fishing. This may be partly true and in part I also put it down to changing my approach and simplifying much of what I do. I was also getting to grips with fishing commercials, a switch that came late in life after fishing rivers, canals and "natural" lakes most of my life.

Over the two years 2017 and 2018 I picked up money in half the 75 matches I fished. I also won a Winter pairs league with my partner in 2017 for the second time in four years and was 4th in a league at Toft (tied 3rd on points). Given my own perception of my ability I regard this as successful. Most of these matches are small club and opens. Were I to start picking up at a higher rate I would have to consider fishing larger opens and less club matches if only to test myself in that arena.

So far this year it is one pick-up in four matches.
 

Northantslad

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Great question Dave. I would disagree with the thinking also about the law averages opinion -more you fish the more you are therefore going to frame. I think the reason that many good anglers fish that many matches is because of their skills and knowledge in the first place, I doubt someone would put in that level of commitment to finish well down the order everytime.

Lots to factor in too. Is a top angler one who largely fishes one venue or the same venue all of the time or a more varied circuit, including framing on a first visit to somewhere new, I would say its the latter there. Yes, anyone can do homework on a venue, and it is so much easier these days, but turning up on a venue new to the angler but not new to others in the match and framing would be a good measure I think, homework or not, still putting it into practice or being able to is what separates, average, good, top etc.

They say the cream always rises to the top and it does, over say a sufficient number of matches the better anglers will be at the top, if it is in their mindset to strive to be at the top. You can have an equally good angler who just goes along for a day out and takes minimal kit, thus minimising their options, but isn't too fussed about pushing themselves, sometimes any longer-quite a few on here who will be good anglers, but going through that change in their fishing at the moment.

As a measure and certainly in matches, I think results wise and taking framing as a target, then end result will usually be heavily influenced by input effort:

Time spent off the bank prepping
Time spent on a venue-knowing it, or doing homework on it
Spending a good few hours the day before getting kit and bait prepped
Being prepared to take 'all that kit' to the bankside

I always come back to how a top angler became a top angler though, anyone can commit to the above for one match a week, but they must be able to fish. I think the top anglers, who have the time and ability to fish full time, must have started with little time on their hands for the above, but by being a good angler rose up the field and made the time needed for prep etc and to be able to fish full time as a profession.

Personally if I fish a match, rare nowadays, I fish it to win it, this doesn't mean however I just pick and choose venues I am confident on, I will fish anywhere in the right surroundings and company.

In terms of personal targets, I only set them for my barbelling and only started setting targets in the last couple of years or so, despite barbelling for about 15 years. It therefore took me a fair amount of time, to be able to judge what a fair target would be. I can't imagine it doing someone much good going for their first barbel session expecting 10 barbel, becuase of what any magazine or other anglers had had them believe. Last season and with knowledge of what barbelling can be like, my target was to catch on more sessions than I blanked on. Am mulling over my expectations and targets for this season currently, whilst remembering of course I am far from a top angler.
 
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Expanda

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My matches seem to be a series of challenges.
Actually getting to the venue in time for the draw. Traffic and my old banger have been a problem.
Getting set up in time for all in. Rarely happens.
Getting my first fish in the net to avoid a blank
Trying to get as many as those around me.
Hoping not to come last.
Trying to appear cheerful when I do badly😥
 

MarkW

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A long time ago I put all of my match results (over 600 matches) barring the blanks into a database. That PC is long obsolete so I downloaded the data into text files and finally uploaded it again into Excel. My systems analyst mind realised that the law of averages applies so if the average match you fish has 40 competitors then by rights over an extended period you ought to get one win per 40 matches, and the same for placings. It gets more complex than that as some matches are much harder to win as the standard is higher.

With my own results I found that I won 7 times more than average in club matches of mostly 25 to 30 pegs, 6 times more in winter leagues and other selected team matches. What this did highlight was that back in the day when I fished matches a lot and we were all a lot younger that there were a lot of anglers who were basically making up the numbers, because they rarely if ever won a bean. In the winter leagues I saw the full results over each season and it was rare that anglers in the teams in the lower half of the division ever won even section money.
 

Northantslad

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A long time ago I put all of my match results (over 600 matches) barring the blanks into a database. That PC is long obsolete so I downloaded the data into text files and finally uploaded it again into Excel. My systems analyst mind realised that the law of averages applies so if the average match you fish has 40 competitors then by rights over an extended period you ought to get one win per 40 matches, and the same for placings. It gets more complex than that as some matches are much harder to win as the standard is higher.

With my own results I found that I won 7 times more than average in club matches of mostly 25 to 30 pegs, 6 times more in winter leagues and other selected team matches. What this did highlight was that back in the day when I fished matches a lot and we were all a lot younger that there were a lot of anglers who were basically making up the numbers, because they rarely if ever won a bean. In the winter leagues I saw the full results over each season and it was rare that anglers in the teams in the lower half of the division ever won even section money.
Buts that's it Mark isn't it, anglers 'making up the numbers' with all respect to them are the not so good anglers. I too saw and used to compile our club results and over a 12 match series, you would see the better anglers start to be in the trophy spots after about 4/5 matches and that is where they stayed. Even with a points system that was in place to give everyone a good chance, 12 1st, 11 2nd etc. It doesn't matter what system is used the better angler/s will be around the top.

Purely theoretical of course, but imagine a match where no-one knew what the venue would be until the draw and was a new venue that no-one could have possibly fished.. Say 20 anglers of a typical mixed ability range, it might be fair to say that the better anglers would be in the top placings, with perhaps the odd surprise off a good draw. A good angler with good skills and knowledge will work out what to do quicker than someone not so.

Hence I don't think the law of averages thing applies to all anglers, only the better ones, if success is measured by framing, the better anglers will be at the top even after a few matches, only to be amplified by the more matches fished and the longer the series goes on. Yes the more matches fished may give someone who doesn't frame usually, their day once in a while, but say one win in 12 may not be a success level target of a good angler. So going back to the OP for me, if Dave's Dad was a good angler, he would have been beating the not so good ones in 3 out of four of the matches per week. The amount of matches fished whilst may give experience (for those with the strive to learn and do better-not just be happy to make up numbers) would have little bearing on standard.
 
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Blanks

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If you fish 20 matches without a win, you are probably wasting your time fishing matches. Standards are higher than years ago, in the old days you kept your tricks and tips to yourself, these days with coaching and the internet all the info is out there.
 

Northantslad

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Yes, for those with the mindset and drive to use it, those that do and can put it into practice are the better anglers.
 

Dave Spence

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I have to disagree that fishing three or four matches a week will help make you a top angler. The anglers who fish several matches a week at top level do so because they are good. They are good - so they fish more often, not the other way round.

Having said that, success is doing as well as you think you are capable of, and you are the only person who can genuinely judge that. But regular framing in the level you choose would be my opinion. If you are successful on the open commercial top match circuit then you are Very Very good indeed, as the standard now is immeasurable higher than it was even 25 years ago.
I don't think I made the point very well in my OP, I meant that; fishing more matches should, provided you were a decent angler, result in more success. If you were winning/framing 1 out of 4 matches then, if you fished 4 matches per week you would in theory be in the money every week. If the results were then reported in the press you would soon start to be considered a 'top' angler simply because your name was 'up in lights' every week. I used to fish with a club in the late 70's and there was a chap named Ray Glover who was head and shoulders above the rest of us but, outside of our little club, no one had ever heard of him. In those days Notts Fed chose their national squad by way of a series of qualifiers, Ray entered these, won a spot on the team and managed, if my memory serves me right, third placed individual. I am sure that if he had been able to afford to fish 3 or 4 matches a week he would have become recognised as one of the countries top anglers. I am sure that there are hundreds of these people out there who are incredibly skillful anglers but will never be acknowledged as such because they don't enjoy the media coverage. However, in the final analysis this should only matter if you are striving for success and have your sights set on a sponsorship deal, England call up etc. Personally I would be perfectly happy to fish and win just 2 matches per year; a Fish O qualifier and the Fish O final.
 

ukzero1

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these days with coaching and the internet all the info is out there.
Not all mate. I'm not afraid to give hints, tips etc, I've even done it in matches, but there is a difference. I only give about 80% of what I know..it's the other 20% that gives me the edge.
Some 30-odd years ago, I fished a match on a water that I knew of, but hadn't fished before and won it. I had walked round it on many occasion and watched my mate (Dennis White) win on it time and time again. All I did was watch him and took on board the tactics, which way the ripples on the water were going, even the day temperature and made notes. I still have those notes today together with which 4 pegs were in the money on the day.
The internet 30 years ago was a strange animal and very little info on fishing was about, yet every match I fished on that water I kept getting asked the same questions, my answer was one sentence...learn to read the water.
It got to the point where I was frowned at when I turned up so I stopped fishing the matches there.
 

Lee Richards

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It's interesting so far that the entire thread has been about measuring success only by competing in matches and nobody has mentioned their individual goals/achievements.
Do those who regularly fish matches still get the same enjoyment from just going fishing or does it always have to be competitive "to get the buzz"
 

ukzero1

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@Lee Richards

That is a very good question. Obviously I can't speak for others but in my case I stopped fishing the open match circuit in 1997 (I started fishing it in 1974). The reason being I'd had enough, simple as that. I've had my fair share of brown envelopes, fished up against world champions (and beaten a few), fished in some stunning locations, basically I've been there , done it, binned the T-shirt.
For me now it's just a matter of sitting on the bank chilling out or helping some of those who are just taking to fishing. I fish the odd match now and again just to prove to myself that I still 'have it' but other than that I have no goals to chase, If I catch, all when and good, if I don't then I think about what else could I have done. All in all, for me, it's just enjoying the moment now.
 
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