Itís time to put your fishing skills to use and bring home some coin Ė but what steps need to be taken to get on the match-fishing ladder? Ergo reveals the info youíll need...
Many pole anglers spend countless hours bashing away at their local venues. But what if you could actually make some money from it? Well, many anglers have the same thought week in, week out and when it comes to fishing a competitive match the world is your oyster.
The first decision you must make is what kind of match you want to enter. Generally, club matches are best for the match fishing Ďvirginí because they allow you to sample competition fishing but on a small scale and with less risk to your wallet. There are literally hundreds of clubs around the UK and the chances are youíll be in the catchment area of a dozen or so just sat where you are. Above anything else, club matches are all about anglers getting together for fun. However, the fun element doesnít mean that the matches will be no good. On the contrary, clubs often have regular matches on some of the best waters around the UK and will offer the beginner to match fishing a chance to fish well-known venues without having to face the open-match regulars who are highly skilled.
The other alternative is to go straight into open matches. Opens bring together the cream of match fishing, whether itís from the local circuit or anglers who travel from far and wide. The major pitfall here is that you will generally be up against the best that match fishing has to offer. Those who do compete will be familiar with every peg, technique and opportunity that arises, making them very hard to beat. On the plus side, payouts are much higher and the purse for a winning angler can be in the hundreds of pounds, rather than the £50 or so youíll win from a 25-peg club match. The basic fact to remember is to choose a match on a venue that you will feel comfortable fishing. If youíre a canal angler who rarely fishes for carp, then it may be too big a step to jump straight into a circuit based on the major commercial venues of this world. Instead, why not stick to what you are good at, be it canals, rivers or carping. If you are moving into an area thatís unfamiliar to you, then practise Ė after all, it will save you money in the long run.
The qualities of the field and the venue arenít the only factors to consider though. Location and entry cost are two that canít be overlooked. Donít travel too far because:
a.. It is daunting to travel 100 miles or so, because those nerves will have time to build up and,
b.. You may not be able to do the journey regularly, leaving you up in the air as to whether youíll get to grips with a venue.
Also, cost has to be taken into account. Tot up your petrol, entry cost and bait bill before you start and work out whether it will be a viable option.
The weekly angling press is the best place to start when choosing a match. There are many opens run every weekend and also through the week. If you are a member of a club, then your club newsletter will let you know the where's and the when's, making it a much easier prospect to get fishing. All in all, match fishing can be a rewarding experience, whether itís serious open fishing or the more relaxed atmosphere of a local club.
Whatever the match, enjoy the fishing! Remember...
a.. Set your goal. Is it the money thatís your motivation or just the kudos of beating other anglers?
b.. The weeklies are your guides to the matches to be held over the coming week. Read the match reports and make your mind up from there.
c.. Join a club. Club fishing is the most popular form of match fishing and itís easy to see why Ė high turnouts, affordable entry fees and the emphasis on fun.
d.. Stick to what you know. Donít jump feet first into a match that you know youíll do badly in. Instead, use your skills as your strength and fish matches on similar venues to those you regularly frequent.
e.. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Make sure you cover every eventuality with regard to rigs, bait and even down to filling the car up with petrol Ė itís no good if everything else is perfect but your car runs out of fuel on the way!
Edited By Paul Orford - March '06.
More excellent advice from Ergo. So if any of you fancy giving match fishing a try, you now know all you need to get started.