Matrix sponsored angler, and former Junior Fish 'O' Mania champion Cameron Cross ponders one of the biggest questions in modern match fishing...
Whether it’s political votes, the fight against terrorism or Leicester City winning the Premier League, no subject has caught my attention of late more than anglers and the matches they choose to fish.
For a while now I’ve been reading through pages upon pages of anger-filled arguments, spreading across social media like a fire in a firework factory, with every argument becoming the breeding grounds for another. The source of the issue seems to be stemming from the matches in which anglers choose to participate, and one’s rewards from doing so. At this present time I find myself perched firmly on the fence, and can see the positives and negatives from either side of the arguments, as well as the comments that have neither use nor ornament.
It seems with so many matches to choose from nowadays anglers are struggling to agree which are the correct ones to go on, if there are such things?
I’m a big believer in pushing yourself in anything you do, and if you’re not in it to reach the top there’s very little point being in it at all, but enjoying it at the same time is a key factor!
Speaking from a junior angler’s perspective, which I am now on my way out of day by day, I believe surrounding yourself with the best possible opposition is vital to improving and pushing yourself towards the realms of the sport’s elite in years to come. Since starting match fishing seriously, I’ve tried to fish against the best I can, which brings a barrel of problems in itself, from getting to the matches to affording them in the first place. I’ve been lucky so far, up to a point, with the people I’ve met and spent time with on the bank in my angling career, in the fact they’ve welcomed me with open arms and been willing to answer the bombardments of questions I’d throw at them some days. From these matches I have gained very little reward of the financial kind, or my name next to a winning open match weight, but what I did win – and continue to do so for that matter – is experience and knowledge, which are priceless in my eyes.
I’d challenge anyone to name me another sport in which you could arrive at your peg, to be greeted by a world champion often no more than a pigeon’s tit away, and spend the day inspecting his every move for future reference? Beating them is a bonus in my eyes, but to try and compete and hold your own against them while learning from the best in the game is a far more valuable opportunity. The anglers that I try to learn from while fishing these matches, however, have earned everything they receive in the form of sponsorship and success, and have all spent years progressing to where they are, and continue to move forward. The elites of the sport seem to get the best rewards in forms of sponsorship and the biggest following within the various media platforms, which they rightly deserve, so on that one I’m going to have to say I’m not quite sure what all the fuss is about.
Now let’s flip the coin, and at the opposite end of the scale seem to be the anglers that choose not to fish against the so-called ‘best opposition’ they can, week in week out, but instead are happy to fish much smaller matches, often not challenging themselves as much as they could do, and in return gaining a much greater financial reward and many more match wins under their belt. They often opt to fish a select few venues that ‘play into their hands’ and keep them safely within their comfort zone. These anglers soon carve themselves into the forefront of the angling media, whether that’s in the shape of magazine articles or social media write-ups.
This is where it gets interesting, and the arguments occur. Now if anyone ever asked me for advice on this matter, I’d personally tell them to go for the first option without even batting an eyelid, as I feel, especially for younger anglers, surrounding yourself with the best possible opposition can only be worth it in the long run, but what do I know? I also can understand, and the reason I’m still perched on this forever shrinking fence, why anglers do just fish smaller matches, and that not everyone has the mind-set like myself, where I see myself as a 6ft 2in tall sponge taking on board every bit of advice I can get, and disregarding the parts I disagree with.
I understand that some anglers just purely go out to enjoy their fishing, and are more than content fishing the smaller matches that they do, and have no care of progressing in methods they see themselves as ever needing. These anglers instead enjoy fishing matches they feel they can often stand a chance of winning and enjoy doing so when this happens. After all, that is the aim of the game!
Also it seems that fishing with friends on the bank is a key part and probably why the club match scene is as big as it is, and these pros far outweigh the cons of stepping into the unknown.
The fact is, the best in the game get the best deals, which they rightly deserve. If people can get sponsorship in any shape or form it’s well worth doing so to progress in your angling career and a great opportunity this brings in the process, but at the same time sponsors expect to be seeing rewards for this – they’re not a charity after all!
I think a lesson everyone should take from all of this is that everyone goes fishing for different reasons, and as long as we all enjoy it and keep going, who really cares? So let’s all just enjoy the great sport we decided to spend our valuable time on, and if we disagree with another angler’s options or position in the media, simply ignore it and turn your attention to the ones you agree with.