River match angling....

whitty

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In my match fishing days I preferred river matches,these days it seems anglers don't so much,but when you look at the amount of people trying to get riverfest tickets it still seems popular,or is it another way to get a crack at big prize money???
 

peter crabtree

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What makes you say there’s fewer river matches these days, Alan? If anything I’d say there’s more today than before. Many match anglers have grown tired of boring carp matches on commercials. The Thames is still a very popular match river as is the Yare for instance.
 

whitty

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They are,but all the venues that me and Alex fished never have matches on them,probably the weight of tackle we all carry...
 

markcw

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What makes you say there’s fewer river matches these days, Alan? If anything I’d say there’s more today than before. Many match anglers have grown tired of boring carp matches on commercials. The Thames is still a very popular match river as is the Yare for instance.
Here were a couple of decent matches at Sandford, and Donnington stretches , some top names in them.
 

sam vimes

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The local river match scene appears to be largely stuck in a time warp. There seem to be a dwindling number of ageing familiar faces from my youth. New blood seems to be restricted to the odd individual the wrong side of thirty.

Whether an individual river, or stretch, still sees any match activity depends on how good its reputation is and how good the access/parking is. Plenty of big matches of yesteryear simply no longer take place. Shame really, but not really any great surprise. If I were forced to fish the bad pegs on most of the places I frequent, I'd soon get disillusioned and give up.
 

steve2

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Fished many matches on the Thames over the years, any where from Tadpole Bridge to Walton. Mainly small 60 pegs but also the LAA championships in the end most anglers drifted away to commercials carp water matches. I think the main reasons were parking and the walks on rivers sections.
 

whitty

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I've fished the Clive Smith memorial on the Wark Avon,i'm sure there were more than three hundred pegs,I won my section and came tenth overall,many opens I fished were over 100 peggers,Vauxhall opens have had 160 pegs,mini opens at Newport Pagnell were 40 peggers,matches at Tadpole were at least 80 peggers,sometimes 120 if I remember correctly,Vauxhall club matches were nearly always 30 peggers at least,that said Luton AC used to run opens on the canal around Leighton Buzzard,they were at least 100 pegs,with the likes of Billy Makin and Micky Hyatt always there,a sad thing really,because although there were lots of rubbish pegs,people still came from far and wide,matches on the Trent were often mega...
 

Aknib

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I've fished the Clive Smith memorial on the Wark Avon,i'm sure there were more than three hundred pegs,I won my section and came tenth overall,many opens I fished were over 100 peggers,Vauxhall opens have had 160 pegs,mini opens at Newport Pagnell were 40 peggers,matches at Tadpole were at least 80 peggers,sometimes 120 if I remember correctly,Vauxhall club matches were nearly always 30 peggers at least,that said Luton AC used to run opens on the canal around Leighton Buzzard,they were at least 100 pegs,with the likes of Billy Makin and Micky Hyatt always there,a sad thing really,because although there were lots of rubbish pegs,people still came from far and wide,matches on the Trent were often mega...

I agree with your overall sentiment Alan, two things sprang to mind from your latest post.

Firstly Clive Smith, a great angler and a Shakespeare man iirc who's death from bladder cancer prompted the link between Chrysoidine dye used on bronze maggots that were all the rage during the match fishing/river heydays and big weekly opens of the 80's.

Wasn't his home practice water Edgbaston Reservoir in Brum?

The second was the mention of the Trent...

Midweek and weekends would be booked solid around here with opens and now you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your view) if you stumble upon a club match.

Blots on the landscape such as Burton Joyce and Hoveringham were almost household phrases and I'm not sure where the chain was broken because it's such a fantastic river these days albeit in a much different respect, the evenly spread shoals of Roach and Chub may not be the case anymore but anyone could win with a few decent Barbel which are widely spread, not to mention the big Bream shoals that thrive and get someone with the match fishing mind set of the likes of Ashurst or Marks on the river and they'd soon sort out a way to win off of most pegs.

I think the demise around here came in the mid to late 90's when the river was pronounced all but dead but the reality was it was simply going through a change, much like the water quality or should I say clarity, which is no coincidence.

Many have of course adapted to the change but once you break that momentum it's hard to get it back, especially these days when take up in angling is probably so much less and even less in the niche of match fishing > river match fishing.

I'd love to see it come back to it's former heydays in terms of matches and regularity but I doubt I ever will, the consolation there is that one's loss is another's gain...

For me at least :)

As much as I aspired to the match fishing heroes of my youth and tried to emulate them the fact of the matter is that I was all but, in that particular discipline...

Rubbish!
 

markcw

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Fished many matches on the Thames over the years, any where from Tadpole Bridge to Walton. Mainly small 60 pegs but also the LAA championships in the end most anglers drifted away to commercials carp water matches. I think the main reasons were parking and the walks on rivers sections.
Had a walk along the Tadpole Bridge stretch last week, Walked down river from opposite the Trout Inn.
May walk up river next time,
Looks a decent stretch,
 

rob48

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I agree with your overall sentiment Alan, two things sprang to mind from your latest post.

Firstly Clive Smith, a great angler and a Shakespeare man iirc who's death from bladder cancer prompted the link between Chrysoidine dye used on bronze maggots that were all the rage during the match fishing/river heydays and big weekly opens of the 80's.

Wasn't his home practice water Edgbaston Reservoir in Brum?

The second was the mention of the Trent...

Midweek and weekends would be booked solid around here with opens and now you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your view) if you stumble upon a club match.

Blots on the landscape such as Burton Joyce and Hoveringham were almost household phrases and I'm not sure where the chain was broken because it's such a fantastic river these days albeit in a much different respect, the evenly spread shoals of Roach and Chub may not be the case anymore but anyone could win with a few decent Barbel which are widely spread, not to mention the big Bream shoals that thrive and get someone with the match fishing mind set of the likes of Ashurst or Marks on the river and they'd soon sort out a way to win off of most pegs.

I think the demise around here came in the mid to late 90's when the river was pronounced all but dead but the reality was it was simply going through a change, much like the water quality or should I say clarity, which is no coincidence.

Many have of course adapted to the change but once you break that momentum it's hard to get it back, especially these days when take up in angling is probably so much less and even less in the niche of match fishing > river match fishing.

I'd love to see it come back to it's former heydays in terms of matches and regularity but I doubt I ever will, the consolation there is that one's loss is another's gain...

For me at least :)

As much as I aspired to the match fishing heroes of my youth and tried to emulate them the fact of the matter is that I was all but, in that particular discipline...

Rubbish!
It's the water clarity that has done for the volume of Trent matches. When the water was cloudy there were roach and gudgeon on virtually every peg and you could put a weight together of them for a chance of a section pick-up, or even framing, depending on how things went on the day. These fish could be caught running a stick float through off the rod end, or a couple of rod lengths out, or on a 3 or 4 m whip.
Since the water's become clearer most of the time the roach and gudgeon have become victims of predation in various forms (cormorants, increasing numbers of jacks, very large perch) such that a gudgeon is now a rarity and the roach are difficult to catch for long enough to build a weight of them. Also, due to the water clarity, the stick line won't produce for very long and the fish that are there drop out towards the middle of the river.
This has lead to a situation where it's difficult to win or frame without one or two "lumps", chub, barbel, perch, and a few "bits" to make the weight up.
Obviously it's still match fishing of a sort, but it's not the type that the river was famous for when 100+ peg opens were held along the banks every weekend.
 

whitty

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Match fishing was always like this on the Ouse once December came,it was chub or bust,any small fish was a bonus,still big matches though...
 

rob48

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It's like it virtually all year around on the Trent now, similar on the Avon too.
 

silvers

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I could write an essay on this subject ... But will try (and fail!) to keep it succinct.

Firstly ... riverfest tickets are dominated by the “top circuit” fishing multiple qualifiers to try to get through to the final. There are less than 200 of those ... but they’re all very good. The qualifiers are then filled up by locals chancing their arm.

Outside of riverfest and the odd big event (eg. Wye champs, Bedford hospital cup, joe burrows charity) the open circuit from the Thames up to the Trent is pretty much dead (I hear that it’s even worse in the south, but a little better in Yorkshire).
There are local bright spots ... but they are generally 40-50 peggers and anglers don’t travel so much now (cost of fuel and parking?). They are also where there is good and consistent fishing (eg. The Yare, Burton, Oxford, Hereford).
club matches are still doing well, but they are not the 50 peg matches that Alan and I used to fish.
The Clive Smith memorial is still going, but it’s now on a Wednesday at Bewdley (float only). In fact the Bewdley midweek float only league is one of those bright spots (No good for wage slaves though!).
Also, team leagues used to be a mainstay ... and the AT winter league is on its last legs (as is the national).

trying to disentangle river (and canals) from the more general demise of national match fishing (as opposed to local/club), my opinions include:
1. as said already, water clarity and harder venues in the 90s caused many to leave for commercials and they never came back
2. the ultimate end game of team events based on points .... the “pools fodder” decided to vote with their feet and pools money ... realising that they can’t compete.
3. Chopped worm and pole fishing ... meaning lots more to carry ... along with the anglers getting older (I’m still at the younger end of the distribution and i am 53)
4. more matches being won with mixed bags ... you can’t just sit for two or three chub any more unless you are on a flier. So favouring the better anglers even more
5. travel, parking and access .... all more difficult now than 30 years ago.(see also point 3)
6. expectations ... in 40 years of match fishing I’ve had more than 50 pounds weight twice ... my average target is 12-14 pounds ... not sure that’s really attractive these days but I like It!
 

whitty

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Alex,my big weights were similar in number to you(though not the maximum),I always enjoyed the challenge of maximising weights from my draw,even if that was only a few pounds,almost certain of what was going to be needed to win the section,or frame in the match,I always thought that on a river 5/6lbs was a good days fishing,regardless of success in the match itself,I think greed in match fishing forced the pools fodder(horrible term)out,paying 20/25 quid pools,plus cost of bait and fuel was pure greed by the top anglers,you reap what you sow however,because now there are a lot more possible winners in the draw,all top guys....
 

steve2

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6. expectations ... in 40 years of match fishing I’ve had more than 50 pounds weight twice ... my average target is 12-14 pounds ... not sure that’s really attractive these days but I like It!

This is very true the last match I helped run about 10 years or so ago there were complaints that the weights were too low and they would go else where. This was on a local commie. The top weight was "only" 80lbs with back up weights in the 50 and 60lbs but they wanted to 100lb plus bags. I gave up after that it not what I wanted out of match fishing.
 

whitty

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Absobloodylutely Steve,to me there is more skill in matches won with weights of 10-30lbs,where you have to chop and change to get there,I go fishing,not hauling.....
 

silvers

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Alex,my big weights were similar in number to you(though not the maximum),I always enjoyed the challenge of maximising weights from my draw,even if that was only a few pounds,almost certain of what was going to be needed to win the section,or frame in the match,I always thought that on a river 5/6lbs was a good days fishing,regardless of success in the match itself,I think greed in match fishing forced the pools fodder(horrible term)out,paying 20/25 quid pools,plus cost of bait and fuel was pure greed by the top anglers,you reap what you sow however,because now there are a lot more possible winners in the draw,all top guys....
i tend to pick some pretty good venues now ... where a lot of pegs are capable of a stone on a decent day .... especially in summer and autumn.
I’m not convinced it was the pools that did it. if I remember correctly it was £10 all in in the late 80s ... it’s £20-25 now 30 years later. but bait prices may well have contributed (continental groundbaits and a kilo of worms).
the funny thing is that a lot of my match wins have always been with less than a couple of pints of bait.
 

whitty

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And that would have often been the case Alex,but would you turn up for a match at say....Kempston with less than 4pts of maggot,maybe 2pts of caster,plus hemp,worm etc,even though chances are you will use either no more than half the maggot,or just over half the caster,if you get bait from a tackle shop,thats a fair amount of dosh and as we all know casters don't keep well,if you were fishing two matches a weekend on similar venues,you couldn't not buy enough to cover those amounts,if your fishing the Wye twice you need a mortgage,good fishing or not...
 

silvers

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most venues until end October I take max 2 pints of casters and a pint of hemp. I also carry 3 pints of maggots ... but 90% of the time they go back home to turn to casters for the next week.
half a kilo of worms will last me 5 matches or so.

but I do feed less than most
 
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