Matt Hayes - "I still love coarse fishing"

Matt Hayes has this week answered those accusing him of turning his back on his roots, admitting that ‘at the end of the day I’m just a fisherman, who will be in love with coarse angling until the day I die’.

The much-loved writer and broadcaster recently sparked controversy after confessing he had developed an obsession with salmon and trout after becoming disillusioned by some aspects of the modern fishing scene.

This led to many online comments from anglers highly critical that Matt, who is regarded as one of the UK’s favourite all-rounders, was turning his back on his roots to go ‘fluff-chucking’.

But Matt has this week spoken out to reassure both the fishing world and his fans that nothing could be further from the truth, announcing that his two main goals for the coming year are to catch an 8lb chub and improve his polefishing.

“People need to realise that I’m just an angler who loves setting himself challenges and mastering new techniques – that’s all my new-found enthusiasm for gamefishing is about. But I still get butterflies at the thought of catching a huge chub,” said Matt.

“I’m always brutally honest. I’m genuinely bored by the obsession with weights and numbers that dominates so many aspects of UK coarse angling.

And, let’s be honest, a monkey could be taught to employ some of the ‘bore-them-out’ methods employed at many big-fish waters.

“I want to be inspired and excited. I want to feel that same desire I did when I first picked up a rod. At the moment, it’s game fishing that’s ticking all these boxes for me,” he added.

But Matt is adamant that he would never turn his back on the hundreds of thousands of anglers who have supported him by creating cult audiences for his TV programmes, or who have bought his TF Gear fishing tackle. He just wants to find new angling experiences, one of which includes banking an 8lb-plus chub.

“Chub have been, and always will be, my favourite species. I won’t rest until I catch that fish of a lifetime. I’ve also been doing a lot of polefishing recently and I’m thoroughly enjoying the delicate and precise presentation the method provides and the challenges it presents,” Matt continued.

“I still have a long way to go to become a true all-rounder who has mastered different techniques across all disciplines. If I can ever come close to what the great Bob Church has achieved in his career, then I’ll be a very happy man,” he said.