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The State We Are In...

Match Fishing debates the current state of the sport.
As we move into 2013, there is little doubt that the sport of angling is changing. Compared to 25 years ago, we are seeing new and different venues, methods and anglers rising, while other disciplines are seemingly declining in popularity.

Tom Pickering has been fishing for over 40 years, and has risen to the very pinnacle of the sport, being crowned World Champion, and now captaining the England Feeder Team. He commented: “Fishing has changed massively over the course of my lifetime, and whether the changes have been good or bad, depends largely upon the kind of fishing that you are interested in. For the general angler, I don’t think that there has ever been a better time to go fishing. There is more good fishing available now than there ever has been. For those who like natural water fishing, these habitats are teeming with fish, and because these waters are not under as much pressure from match anglers as they once were, they are able to fish almost anywhere that they want.

Then of course, they have the option of going to commercial fisheries –where they can almost guarantee a bulging net of big carp –in my early days we had no such luxury.

Sadly though, competition anglers suffer for the very same reason –there are that many good places to go fishing that match attendances have dropped, as the trend moves towards smaller matches on a lot of different venues. When I started fishing, it was rare to fish a match with less than 50 pegs, and some events had over 1,000 fishing! These days between 20 and 30 is more like the norm. There are still big matches to be fished – though now anglers have to fish festivals, or qualifiers for an event like Fish ‘O’ Mania in order to compete in a big competition.”

Marukyu’s Marketing Director, Roy Marlow is another angler who has lived long enough to have seen the sport go through some fairly broad and sweeping changes. He added “I genuinely don’t believe coarse anglers have ever had it so good.  Whatever they want to do, there are more fish about to allow them to do it! I can remember back in the early 1970s, a chap called Blacky Frost won a match on the Middle Level Drain with 60lb of bream. There was uproar, as nobody believed that it was possible to catch that many fish in a five hour match! Fast forward 40 years, and some anglers have caught that in an hour!

The rivers have never been as good, with more specimen fish present, and feeding than ever before. True, the head of small fish perhaps isn’t as big as it once was, but in areas there is still great roach sport to be enjoyed as well.

For those who just want to catch fish, commercial fisheries offer a one stop shop, where anglers can pretty much bag up to order. Game anglers are also enjoying water with more trout in than they have ever seen before, from commercial trout fisheries, to many of the rivers and chalk streams that are full of fish as well.

The only discipline that has suffered is sea angling really, as overfishing has lead to the population of our oceans being thinned out. That said, there are some exciting new trends, such as the recently popular Light Rock Fishing (LRF), which is really starting to take off.  All in all, 2013 is a great time to be going fishing!”  

Have your say! Has the state of angling improved or got worse in your lifetime? Click here to join our Facebook debate!
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