Keith Arthur: It could be a right touch!

I am really in favour of the idea of an Individual National Championship. Along with entry for Fish O’Mania, this is another genuine membership benefit for anglers who subscribe to the Angling Trust.

There is a need for really serious consultation about this, though. It could be a real, genuine opportunity to organise a wonderful, showcase event, perhaps even attracting a major sponsor. If the organisation isn’t 100 per cent what the anglers, rather than a committee, want, then the entire concept will be stillborn.

Rather than plan for just one match, there should be a programme laid down indicating venues for five years into the future, allowing anglers to plan their diaries around practice and competing.

Pools and entry needs consideration, too. Currently it costs £15 just to enter the Individual National, a scandalous amount in my view, bearing in mind that everyone fishing is already a member. An absolute maximum of £10 is acceptable and then there must be optional pools.

The idea of 10-peg sections has got to go ¬ it’s fine for team matches, but not for a proper individual match. Sections should be a minimum of 25, preferably 50. A £5 section pool (without the obligatory five per cent deduction currently applying on Nationals ¬ another disgrace) could pay 1-2-3 prizes of £125, £85 and £40.

If 400 anglers fish, a £5 ‘overall’ pool, raising £2,000, could pay the top five as follows: £650, £500, £375, £275 and £200 with no silly ‘default’ sections.

Now stick on a £2.50 ‘Winner-takes-all’ with a potential £1,000 prize and you’re talking a serious amount.

Of course all those pools are optional: anglers wishing to fish for the glory and trophy would be most welcome.

The total is £22.50, an amount not far removed from the average match on commercial fisheries, but with the chance to earn serious money.

It would be interesting to see the competition committee adopt a different approach with regard to booking a venue too ¬ rather than just select one and book it, why not throw it open to bids? With the opportunity of selling practice match tickets and membership books for private practice, there should be no need to pay a bean for a water.

I hope the AT advisory group is invited for suggestions as this could be a boost for the Trust’s profile ¬ if it’s done right.