Everywhere I look match angling seems to be ‘dumbed down’. On many matches it’s harder not to ‘win’ money, with five-peg sections and paying the top four on 30-peggers, plus section winners, all too common.
I have no idea where the idea came from that anglers won’t fish if they can’t win, because when I was younger I regularly fished matches with between 200 and 1,000 anglers and the top three (at best!) were paid out, with trophies for sections of 100-plus anglers. There would occasionally be monetary reward for more anglers than that, but on your average 400-peg match, the top five would be paid out, along with four section winners – and there was no default: if you had top weight in your section, you took the prize.
Now this has spread to the World Championship, where this year we had the farcical situation of split sections. Good luck to Slovakia and Russia, but they haven’t won fair and square.
It’s almost as though the governing body of world matchfishing (CIPS) has taken a leaf from Michel Platini’s Book of UEFA Football Ideas and created a system making it ever-more unlikely for England, Italy and the other top teams to win.
If the event is too big for a venue to handle – and couldn’t cope with 200 similar pegs in a reasonably straight line – then divide it up and have two divisions fishing on the same day, with promotion and relegation from each. It would certainly generate interest.
Or, since the old system wasn’t broken in the first place, maybe it would have been better remaining unfixed.