Could this be match fishing’s greatest year?

A host of new events join the established favourites for a summer to remember

Could this be match fishing's greatest year?

by Angling Times |

A RECORD number of competitions are set to take place on home soil this year in what’s building up to be an amazing summer of angling action across all disciplines.

With many lockdown restrictions lifted and more to set follow suit in the coming months, demand has soared for tickets for not only the well-established events in the angling calendar, but also a raft of new ones.

Last week we reported how every single spot in the qualifying events for this year’s Fish O’Mania competition was snapped up in just 36 hours, and there’s been a similar clamour for spots to fish in the sport’s other big-money matches over the past month.

But the frenzied ticket-buying shows no sign of slowing down. The new Korum Barbel Masters, which will take place in early September across three stretches of the River Trent, sold out in less than 24 hours last week, and the British Carp Angling Champs (BCAC) 2021 Shield Pairs match, a new event to be fished on Oxford’s Brasenose 1 and 2 Lakes in July, sold out in just 90 seconds!

The British Carp Angling Champs 2021 Shield Pairs match sold out in seconds!
The British Carp Angling Champs 2021 Shield Pairs match sold out in seconds!

EASE OF ACCESS

So what’s behind the surge of interest in competition fishing? The growing popularity of specialised branches of the sport, such as lure fishing and specimen angling, has surely played a role, as has the fact that, with foreign holidays looking far from certain, anglers will perhaps have more time on their hands than normal this summer.

Mat Woods, brand manager at tackle company Korum, which is sponsoring and filming the new Barbel Masters event, also believes the ease with which people can use a smartphone or computer and book into events has played a big part.

He said:

“Social media brings like-minded individuals together and before long you have momentum for a new branch of fishing or, in this instance, a competition. You can launch and sell out a match for any subcategory now, because you can find the audience with the click of a mouse.

“We’re really chuffed that the event sold out so quickly and we plan to do some filming on the venue ahead of the match to give entrants an idea of what they’re facing.

“When Mark Lucas, the man behind the new event, told us about his plans it was a no-brainer for us to jump on board because we’d been considering running such a match for some time.”

The overall winner of the 36-hour competition will walk away with £1,000, plus a £500 Korum Tackle voucher, with section winners also set to receive a sizeable cash/voucher payout.

Have you got what it takes to be a barbel master?
Have you got what it takes to be a barbel master?

Anglers seizing the moment

Another new event due to premiere this summer is the Midlands River Masters, which will be sponsored by ABC Baits and will take place on the River Severn and Warks Avon, with the final scheduled for October at Bridgnorth. Its organiser is well-known Midlands match ace Steve Maher, and he offered another possible reason for the surge in interest in competition fishing.

He told us:

“Sure, people have a little more time on their hands, but I also think that there’s a lot of pent-up energy in anglers after a year of lockdowns. It’s made people realise that life is for living, so they’re doing things they’ve always wanted to.”

Another new event due to premiere this summer is the Midlands River Masters
Another new event due to premiere this summer is the Midlands River Masters

Steve also believes that such matches offer the chance for everyday anglers to not only rub shoulders with the great and the good of the sport, but also to walk away with a sizeable payout for a relatively small outlay.

“We’ll be running eight 60-peg qualifiers each costing £25 per angler to enter. If they qualify, hey’ll get the chance to scoop the top prize on the day, up to £8,000. That’s not a bad return for such a small outlay.

“Just for topping their section on finals day, anglers can win £1,000 for beating only seven other rods, and the signs are that the event will sell out quickly when tickets go on sale in mid-May, with the top names all sure to be wanting a slice of the action. The best thing is that anybody who fishes half-tidily could be in with a chance.”

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