Anglers are being invited to have their say on the future of the National Championships following the release of plans to revive the fortunes of the famous matches.
More than 5,500 anglers took part in the six Nationals when the competitions were at their most popular in the late 1980s, but fewer than 1,000 attending the two remaining contests last year.
Organisers at the Angling Trust want to halt and reverse the decline, and have created four possible formats that could herald in a new era for the Nationals.
Three of the proposals would see the current system abolished, with specific float, feeder, river and canal events taking their place. The final idea argues the case for keeping the two divisions alive with additional matches scheduled into the calendar.
In order to put concrete plans in place for 2017, anglers are being asked to pick their favourite format. Trust Senior Competitions Manager Ben Thompson said: “It is hard to ignore that the number of teams competing in Nationals has steadily declined. We are committed to attracting new and lapsed teams to these competitions.
“This is an opportunity for anglers to give us their views on how they should be run. Ultimately, it is the opinions of anglers that will shape how the Nationals will look for years to come.”
Daiwa Dorking have scooped glory in countless Nationals over the years and key squad member Des Shipp is among those who have welcomed the review. He said: “There is definitely still a demand for the Nationals but the format needs looking at. I think that giving anglers the power to influence the direction it takes is a great idea.
“The suggestions the Trust has put forward provide something for everyone, and it will be interesting to see which style is eventually put into place.”
Each format is made up of four entirely separate matches
1. Float, Feeder, Commercial and Championship Nationals
2. Canal, Commercial, River and World Club Champs qualifier Nationals
3. Regional Championships, National Premiership, Float, Commercial Nationals
4. Div 1, Div 2, Commercial, Individual Nationals