Not so long ago, match fishing was associated with ultra fine lines and tiny baits on microscopic hooks. Now, with the popularity of commercial carp waters, you’ll find specimen tackle and baits such as hair-rigs, boilies and even spods in the tackle box of many match anglers.
This progression went one step further this week as a match angler used a bait boat for the first time.
Well-known angler Simon Wheeler used the remote-controlled device to deposit bait on his poleline during a recent contest at popular match venue Cross Drove Fishery in Suffolk.
Even though the Daiwa Dorking ace didn’t win the contest and bosses of the fishery have now disallowed the use of this controversial method, it is proof of how close the once very distant disciplines of the sport have become.
“There is a method that’s used at Cross Drove that involves cupping-in a lead with a pole to enable anglers to get their bait close to the vegetation, which I don’t agree with at all, so I brought the bait boat along in protest,” Simon told Angling Times.
“I was surprised when the other guys around me just looked over, shrugged their shoulders and carried on fishing. I suppose it just shows you how used match anglers are getting to seeing people adopt unusual methods.
“Even though I wouldn’t ever contemplate using one seriously in a match, I can see how their ability to deposit a large amount of bait would be handy at some venues.”
Commercial fishing ace and Angling Times columnist Steve Ringer has been incorporating specimen-style tactics into his armoury for longer than most.
He is the first to admit that it’s vital for pleasure and match anglers to take an ‘open-minded approach’ when it comes to bringing in tackle and baits used by specimen anglers because this crossover can make the difference between a good and a great day’s fishing.
“I’ve used hair-rigs, boilies and PVA for years and I wouldn’t be without them,” said Steve.
“Spods are fantastic for introducing beds of bait and I used one recently to catch my first weights over 100lb from a ‘natural venue’, but there are many anglers and fishery owners who frown on this and I find it nothing short of ridiculous.
“The trouble with match fishing is that people can be very narrow-minded and afraid of change so they just ban a method because it’s different and catching fish, which is just stifling the innovators of the sport who want to push fishing forward.
“Anglers and fishery owners who ignore the importance of giving speci-style tactics a fair go are depriving themselves of some great catches.”