Keith Arthur: 150lb match weights are bad for fishing

Every so often I see something that ignites a little lamp inside my head ¬ an idea that says much more than it was probably intended to, if looked at in a certain manner.

More than once I have voiced my theory that matches on high-weight commercial fisheries should be settled in a different way than having multiple weigh-ins for almost every angler, with several keepnets.

As many fisheries now impose, quite correctly, limits on what weight or number of fish can be kept in each net, there are invariably problems leading to bad feeling, or worse.

Well, if you read the last issue of UKMatch, free with Angling Times, you may have noticed the ‘100lb Challenge’. The object of the match was for the first angler who estimated they had 100lb in their net to shout up and, if the guess was correct, to pocket a bonus prize of £100. If they were short, they were out of the match.

Pemb Wrighting entered into the spirit of the match and called up, unfortunately 3lb short, so had to ‘retire’. No one else called up, but Alex Bones weighed over 120lb, with Mark Pollard and Steve Clark just breaking 100lb.

To be frank, Mr Bones didn’t really ‘play the game’ and decided to ignore the bonus and go for the sweep that the anglers had arranged - he even admitted as much:

“(I could)...keep quiet and still pick up a few quid.” Maybe there should have been a percentage allowance - certainly anyone 20 per cent over hasn’t really bothered to try, in my opinion.

My notion, mentioned here before, is that the target weight should be set, and when an angler believes he has that weight, to declare the fact. If he wanted to, he could pack up and wait, or fish on using a different keepnet.

When the fish are weighed, if his weight is over the target, that counts, with a bonus of ‘time weight’, worked out on the difference between target weight and finishing time. I have a formula, but don’t want to muddy the issue here.

I just believe that matches where weights over 150lb are commonplace, are bad for the image of the sport on fish welfare grounds. Obviously, on natural venues, where huge weights occasionally occur, it is irrelevant, but on ‘fish-soup’ waters, I honestly believe something must be done to change the way we fish matches on them.