Future of match fishing

alsur

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I think River match fishing has pretty much died in my area can't think of any big matches on rivers down here only matches I can think of were a small evening match a Molesey less than 10 anglers and Canbury Gardens bit bigger but I don't think they ran this year. I believe there are a few river matches in Kent mainly on Medway and there are quite a few around Oxford.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Judging by the foregoing comments i assume most are referring to commercials and i think they would be surprised by the current river match scene.
i fish two, sometimes three, matches per week - rarely less than 60 peggers and often much more.
Access is much improved and a walk is rare with parking behind most pegs on the Trent these days - albeit some adventurous driving down flood banks a nd fields,
To go back to the original question i believe that this type of match fishing will die out with the baby boomer generation given the average age of current participants
Hi RJM. are these matches opens, leagues or club matches?

part of the problem now is that there is very little publicity about matches out of an area - you need to know where to look as there is no centralised resource like the AT used to be.

I'm fairly central in England (east Warwickshire) and within 90 mins drive I know of the following options as far as weekend river opens go (ignoring festivals and wednesday matches)
  • Evesham Qualifiers (50-60 pegs but fishing is hard)
  • Barford on warks avon (35 pegs but great fishing) - also a teams of 6 league
  • Thames at Oxford (40ish - but team matches almost exclusively)
  • Thames at Clanfield (not been other than riverfest - but understand that they get 30ish)
  • Great Ouse Bedford and above (20-40 pegs for most matches - winter league is 32 pegs)
  • Old Nene at March (c. 100 pegs, but a long drive for me)
  • Soar valley winter league (60-70 i think?)
  • Trent at Burton (50-60 pegs, summer)
  • Severn (bewdley, Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury) 30-40 pegs usually on a weekend
  • Wye at Hereford (now only two opens usually 90 and 140 pegs) but there is a winter league and some festivals/2 day events
Obviously Riverfest gives some more options, but it is £60 per match to enter and a section win is £55, so is an expensive day unless you qualify.

I understand South of me is even less well catered for (for river matches).
 

Chavey1

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There’s quite a bit in the south west still
Hi RJM. are these matches opens, leagues or club matches?

part of the problem now is that there is very little publicity about matches out of an area - you need to know where to look as there is no centralised resource like the AT used to be.

I'm fairly central in England (east Warwickshire) and within 90 mins drive I know of the following options as far as weekend river opens go (ignoring festivals and wednesday matches)
  • Evesham Qualifiers (50-60 pegs but fishing is hard)
  • Barford on warks avon (35 pegs but great fishing) - also a teams of 6 league
  • Thames at Oxford (40ish - but team matches almost exclusively)
  • Thames at Clanfield (not been other than riverfest - but understand that they get 30ish)
  • Great Ouse Bedford and above (20-40 pegs for most matches - winter league is 32 pegs)
  • Old Nene at March (c. 100 pegs, but a long drive for me)
  • Soar valley winter league (60-70 i think?)
  • Trent at Burton (50-60 pegs, summer)
  • Severn (bewdley, Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury) 30-40 pegs usually on a weekend
  • Wye at Hereford (now only two opens usually 90 and 140 pegs) but there is a winter league and some festivals/2 day events
Obviously Riverfest gives some more options, but it is £60 per match to enter and a section win is £55, so is an expensive day unless you qualify.

I understand South of me is even less well catered for (for river matches).
There’s quite a bit in the south west still, the i fish natural venues every weekend and there is very rarely less than 40 on them, from the beginning of the year.
Pewsey teams of 4 K&A canal 40 pegs 4 matches January-March plus the odd open in between
K&A teams of 4 spring league April and May 4 Matches around 100 pegs each year plus practice opens
summer- south west super league this year was 17 teams of 4 on venues such as king sedgemoor drain and Bristol avon, but can also be on the gloucester canal, plus practice opens
wednesdays-june to end of August staverton Bristol Avon,3pm-8pm all park behind your peg Normally 20 plus the most this year was 35 midweek!
September it’s Thames month! Turner400, Thames champs, swan open, WL Practice match and midweek Thames festival all big matches
winter- upper Thames winter league 7x teams of 8, on upper Thames, Bristol Avon and K&A canal 6 matches plus practice matches. There are 6 teams taking part this year but a 7th is made up of anglers from other teams to fill the space. So like an open for them?
December there is an Xmas match every weekend on K&A or Bristol Avon, normally 40-60 pegs and between Xmas and new year a 2 dayer at Pewsey.
so a whole year without a single carp! Perfect
 

NoCarpPlease

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Thanks Richard - that's a thriving circuit then!

I'm guessing it's same as round here - most of the anglers are 50+ age group?

Also - quite a lot of it is more team oriented (even if it's teams of 4 or 6) ?

Midweek is certainly vibrant on the Severn at Bewdley - the float only league and then midweek opens.
 

Chavey1

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Thanks Richard - that's a thriving circuit then!

I'm guessing it's same as round here - most of the anglers are 50+ age group?

Also - quite a lot of it is more team oriented (even if it's teams of 4 or 6) ?

Midweek is certainly vibrant on the Severn at Bewdley - the float only league and then midweek opens.
Yes most are team oriented but there is always teams looking to make up the numbers so it’s fairly easy to get on the matches. A lot of there matches have easy access, towpath, stone footpaths running alongside them or drive and park at your peg which I think is the key nowadays? We aren’t getting any younger and as long as the organisers look at venues like this I think this type of natural water angling will be healthy for a few more years? It’s a shame that the youngsters aren‘t joining the ranks anymore, but it’s already been said further back in this thread, many more things for them to do nowadays, (which nearly always involves sitting behind a screen!) But I hope to keep doing the thing I love for many more years
 

alsur

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There’s quite a bit in the south west still

There’s quite a bit in the south west still, the i fish natural venues every weekend and there is very rarely less than 40 on them, from the beginning of the year.
Pewsey teams of 4 K&A canal 40 pegs 4 matches January-March plus the odd open in between
K&A teams of 4 spring league April and May 4 Matches around 100 pegs each year plus practice opens
summer- south west super league this year was 17 teams of 4 on venues such as king sedgemoor drain and Bristol avon, but can also be on the gloucester canal, plus practice opens
wednesdays-june to end of August staverton Bristol Avon,3pm-8pm all park behind your peg Normally 20 plus the most this year was 35 midweek!
September it’s Thames month! Turner400, Thames champs, swan open, WL Practice match and midweek Thames festival all big matches
winter- upper Thames winter league 7x teams of 8, on upper Thames, Bristol Avon and K&A canal 6 matches plus practice matches. There are 6 teams taking part this year but a 7th is made up of anglers from other teams to fill the space. So like an open for them?
December there is an Xmas match every weekend on K&A or Bristol Avon, normally 40-60 pegs and between Xmas and new year a 2 dayer at Pewsey.
so a whole year without a single carp! Perfect
How big is Thames Champs now I used to really enjoy it in 80s must have been 1000 fishing it, mind you I don't think I could do some of the walks now
 

alsur

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There’s quite a bit in the south west still

There’s quite a bit in the south west still, the i fish natural venues every weekend and there is very rarely less than 40 on them, from the beginning of the year.
Pewsey teams of 4 K&A canal 40 pegs 4 matches January-March plus the odd open in between
K&A teams of 4 spring league April and May 4 Matches around 100 pegs each year plus practice opens
summer- south west super league this year was 17 teams of 4 on venues such as king sedgemoor drain and Bristol avon, but can also be on the gloucester canal, plus practice opens
wednesdays-june to end of August staverton Bristol Avon,3pm-8pm all park behind your peg Normally 20 plus the most this year was 35 midweek!
September it’s Thames month! Turner400, Thames champs, swan open, WL Practice match and midweek Thames festival all big matches
winter- upper Thames winter league 7x teams of 8, on upper Thames, Bristol Avon and K&A canal 6 matches plus practice matches. There are 6 teams taking part this year but a 7th is made up of anglers from other teams to fill the space. So like an open for them?
December there is an Xmas match every weekend on K&A or Bristol Avon, normally 40-60 pegs and between Xmas and new year a 2 dayer at Pewsey.
so a whole year without a single carp! Perfect
Looks like it could only be the match scene around lower Thames and its tributaries that's suffered badly I know my old team mate who still likes to fish river matches regularly travels to Oxford and further.
 

Chavey1

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How big is Thames Champs now I used to really enjoy it in 80s must have been 1000 fishing it, mind you I don't think I could do some of the walks now
The Turner 400 which used to be 100 teams of 4, hence the name, was 26 teams this year so 104 anglers But the sections are 2 at Clanfield and 1 at Rushey (both drive too and park behind your pegs, except for about 8-10 above the weir at Rushey) and 1 at Radcott with aces both ends so only walks of 10-15 pegs max!
the Thames champs is teams of 6 now and I think 25ish? teams competed this year. So around 150. Again 1 section at Rushey, no walking 3 at Clanfield, no walking, and the other 2 at Radcott and kelmcott, minimal walking as good access so it’s certainly arranged around the ‘older competitor’ Great matches
 

Silverfisher

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The Oxford summer and winter leagues are reasonable turnouts generally 40-50 anglers. Think the Thames festival has 60 plus then the riverfest qualifiers here obviously quite a few. The club matches range from 10-20 depending on the size of the club then there’s occasionally matches with a couple clubs involved that get 30 odd. Think the river scene match and pleasure is as thriving as anywhere around here probably due to the combination of lots of water with easy access and good fish stocks.
 

alsur

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The Turner 400 which used to be 100 teams of 4, hence the name, was 26 teams this year so 104 anglers But the sections are 2 at Clanfield and 1 at Rushey (both drive too and park behind your pegs, except for about 8-10 above the weir at Rushey) and 1 at Radcott with aces both ends so only walks of 10-15 pegs max!
the Thames champs is teams of 6 now and I think 25ish? teams competed this year. So around 150. Again 1 section at Rushey, no walking 3 at Clanfield, no walking, and the other 2 at Radcott and kelmcott, minimal walking as good access so it’s certainly arranged around the ‘older competitor’ Great matches
That sounds good I can remember a couple of really long walks one at Longworth I think that was on Turner 400 I was chatting to a local angler as we walked to peg it turned out we had been directed to wrong access point and ended up 400 yards from a nearer parking spot of course we had to walk back. A couple other long walks were downstream end of Tadpole Bridge another section downstream of Northmoor where our tackle was taken upstream on a boat. Good days though.
 

RJM

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Hi RJM. are these matches opens, leagues or club matches?
Hi NoCarpPlease these are nearly all open matches on the Tidal Trent around Dunham run by Lincoln's Alan Henry, Middle Trent around Newark run by Andy Starky and Upper Trent at Burton upon Trent run by Wayne Swinscoe

I agree about the communication. I am not on Facebook but am seriously considering joining as i miss out on a lot of the news
Also a lot of the matches are sellouts and we tend to book on the next match at the draw for the current one - so it can be hard to break in; but once you are in you are in.
 

davej1981

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I can never find anything advertised round my way and no one ever knows anything, i know opens are happening but only to those in the circle
 

G0zzer2

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There are lots of Winter Leagues on the Fen drains every year.

But while overall numbers are down (as they are in most sports) I think some of you would be surprised how many small club matches take place every weekend, particularly in Summer. Decoy had 200-plus pegs and there was a note on their Facebook page in September that there were no Open Matches that weekend as all the pegs were taken by clubs. That's just one fishery! There are other stillwater fisheries nearby - Westwood, Kingsland, Rookery, Floatfish Farm, Ross Lake, Buttonhole, and others I can't remember.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Hi NoCarpPlease these are nearly all open matches on the Tidal Trent around Dunham run by Lincoln's Alan Henry, Middle Trent around Newark run by Andy Starky and Upper Trent at Burton upon Trent run by Wayne Swinscoe

I agree about the communication. I am not on Facebook but am seriously considering joining as i miss out on a lot of the news
Also a lot of the matches are sellouts and we tend to book on the next match at the draw for the current one - so it can be hard to break in; but once you are in you are in.
thanks RJM
I didn't realise that Alan's tidal matches did quite so well ... and it's a little far for me (Newark is about the limit for me really).
I'm aware of Andy's matches - he's taken over from Colin Walton hasn't he ?- but they are mostly wednesdays, so will have to wait until I'm retired ;-)
 

NoCarpPlease

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There are lots of Winter Leagues on the Fen drains every year.

But while overall numbers are down (as they are in most sports) I think some of you would be surprised how many small club matches take place every weekend, particularly in Summer. Decoy had 200-plus pegs and there was a note on their Facebook page in September that there were no Open Matches that weekend as all the pegs were taken by clubs. That's just one fishery! There are other stillwater fisheries nearby - Westwood, Kingsland, Rookery, Floatfish Farm, Ross Lake, Buttonhole, and others I can't remember.
the East midlands winter league and the Hajac were always well reported - I presume there are other local ones? I know that teams from N London/Essex travel for those (eg Matrix Image or whatever they are called now ;)).

I think you're right about club matches - round here some of the clubs like Warwick portobello get better turnouts than the opens.
 

Rick123

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Judging by the foregoing comments i assume most are referring to commercials and i think they would be surprised by the current river match scene.
i fish two, sometimes three, matches per week - rarely less than 60 peggers and often much more.
Access is much improved and a walk is rare with parking behind most pegs on the Trent these days - albeit some adventurous driving down flood banks a nd fields,
To go back to the original question i believe that this type of match fishing will die out with the baby boomer generation given the average age of current participants

Agreed. So you fish 2/3 matches a week, are they all on the Trent RJM, or do you travel?
 

160642fishing

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The big matches, Nationals/Festivals, and to some extent, winter leagues, although well attended, were very occasional, once a year or half a dozen matches over the winter. Now matches may have 20-30 anglers, but they are almost daily, and all over the place. I don't think there is much difference with the numbers fishing matches now as in the past.
In my area it seems to be the same names popping up in the match results that are posted on Facebook etc,lots of club members I fished with on the drains and rivers locally have packed match fishing in as they don't like Commercials.
 

bushey

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I remember the first National that I was involved in.River Huntpill 1973. I was 20 and quite inexperienced and a local team,s reserve had pulled out and I was offered his place and a cutting remark.Bring your gear in case someone pulls out.You might be fishing.
Even in those days my attention to detail was foremost and I spent the evening tying hooks and making sure that I had everything in my wicker basket to catch 60 lb of bream or 1 lb bits even though deep down I knew that I wouldn’t fish.To say I was excited was an understatement.I spent the day as a steward and enjoyed every moment.The National had a mystique around it.A chance to maybe see one of your heroes,let alone get pegged next to him.The anticipation of sitting on the coach.Not knowing what your peg would be like and the banter on the way back to HQ.Nothing came close to it.
It became my first love and still is.
Fast forward many years and a few team medals later.Incuding 2 winners,I am fishing the Thames.My local venue and my team is full of confidence.We decide to make it out priority.
Not knowing what section I would be in I have enough bait to catch 100 lb of bream or 40 lb of chub.At least we have wheelbarrows now and don’t have to carry everything.I have drawn Carrots Ham.s**t !!!!
I dont know the section very well and decide to take everything just in case.To make matters worse I have a long walk.
Our banker method is to fish chopped worm at about 10m.We have been catching really well by bait droppering in small amounts and have been catching up to 3 kilos in the first hour almost anywher.That’s not to sat that we are a one trick pony.All of us know how to win given the peg.It takes me 30 mins to walk to my peg.s**t again one of the narrowest pegs I have seen on the Thames.25m wide 6ft deep with Lilly pads 5m on both banks.Every boat is coming straight over my feed and I don’t even set a pole up.The wind is quite strong downstream and I decide on a 15ft rod to help get over the pads and fish a waggler well downstream as far across as I can for the whole match.I use maybe 1/2 pint of maggots and catch 2 kilos of bits.Then I push my groundbait 4 pints of casters and 6 pints of maggots along with every bit of kit that I own back to the coach with a big smile on my face.
I am Pretty sure that we have done well.We have spent every weekend since June on the river and can feel it’s moods.
When I got back to HQ the feeling was the same.
Cooky.I gave it 5 mins on chopped worm but something told me it was a waste of time.Fished the feeder and had 5 kilos of skimmers.
Wingy.Looked at my peg and something told me just fish down. the edge.4 kilos.
Tony Yianni.Caught 5lb and everyone around me struggled.
The story was the same throughout the team and we won quite convincingly.

Just to make a point.We we’re not a team of superstars.Just dedicated anglers that knew how to fish and more importantly practice as a team.It was my 5th national team medal and felt just as important as my first.
A few years later and I had sort of found my niche in the angling world.Canals and squat fishing was now my first love.The team I fished with had some of the best squat anglers that I had ever fished with.People like Peter Kay,Ian Bennet and apart from the infamous squat wizard none of us were household names..We were very good at that style of fishing though and honestly I would have backed us against any team in the country.
We fished a National on the Oxford Canal and hardly practiced.We didn’t win.We came second or third but it wasn’t the same
sense of achievement as fishing with Weybridge and Hounslow.We hardly practiced and turned up rather blasé’.That’s probably why I can’t remember if we were second or third.I don’t think that an average team will ever win a National again because the average angler is not prepared to put the effort in.
I for one would push my wheelbarrow to a peg at Carrots Ham every year given the chance.
 

matt

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Great write up bushey, I remember Tony Yianni from the old days at Rolf’s!
 

tipitinmick

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There is also the issue of people not wanting the hassle of running large matches. No one appreciates the work that goes in, complaints are many, thanks are few.

Trying to organise, say, a 100 pegger means the organiser takes a financial risk. The admin is a nightmare. And the reward?
You could not be more right Neil. I’ve organised a lot of matches in my time and I bet I’ve been thanked a handful of times. Compare that to the amount of moans and groans you get and then you can see why no one jumps in to organise a match. Thankless task it is.
 
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