The madness of the festive fishing match!

Packed with twists, turns and turkey galore, the classic ‘Fur & Feather’ match is still alive and kicking – sometimes all too literally, as Angling Times staff and others report...

The madness of the festive fishing match!

by Angling Times |

For so many anglers, and even those who seldom fish matches, the event of the year isn’t Fish O’Mania or FeederMasters, but the local festive bash. These are matches where attendances swell four-fold, lapsed anglers come out of the woodwork, and the usual sponsored garb is replaced by fancy dress outfits.

Coinciding with pantomime season, your typical Christmas bash also has its share of heroes, villains and appalling jokes.

From the best anglers in the country to the most casual, everyone comes together – and with so many of last season’s extravaganzas cancelled due to Covid (boo, hiss!) this festive period is sure to be more special than ever.

Dog & Duck club members get ready for the F&F draw...
Dog & Duck club members get ready for the F&F draw... ©Shutterstock

So what makes these events so magical? Other than the obvious high turn-outs, it has to be the camaraderie and sheer comedy value. You’re guaranteed to see people you haven’t seen in ages, for one thing, and squeeze in an entire season’s catch-up over a bacon butty.

The match itself can be one of blind chance, but not a single angler goes up for the draw without a tingle of excitement that, contrary to all evidence, this “could be my year”. Nor are they entirely deluded either, because peggy venues and wild weather can provide even the most hapless of anglers with a glimmer of hope.

Not that you need to finish in the top five to be rewarded on some level, because these events also have some of the weirdest and most generous selections of prizes you’ll ever see. Indeed, at plenty of festive fixtures, everyone gets a trip to the ‘Trestle Tables of Destiny’, which tend to be the stuff of dreams and nightmares alike.

The top placings can expect a stupendous Christmas hamper (*supplies of turkey permitting this particular year) and the sort of brown envelope your local MP would be proud of.

Fully expect quantities of meat that could give a vegan nightmares till 2035, for one thing, alongside endless, random tackle and tat. We know of several instances where prizes have been sneakily ‘recycled’ for years on end, in fact, to the point where it becomes a running joke.

Regardless of your fortunes at the draw this year, here’s wishing you an enjoyable festive Fur & Feather match. There’s no other fixture in the calendar quite like it. Which is probably just as well, because otherwise we’d spend the entire year with chronic hangovers and indigestion.

THINGS TO SPOT AT YOUR LOCAL CHRISTMAS MATCH

Terry and Dave. Lapsed matchmen who we last saw… funnily enough, it was last year’s Christmas match, wasn’t it?

Elf and Santa outfits. The latter of which are never as warm as they ought to be, considering Old Beardy is meant to live in Lapland.

Appalling weather, to test the resolve of the imbeciles who thought such garb was appropriate for a five-hour winter match!

**The celebrity angler**who you’d never see on a regular club match. “It’s only bloody Bob Nudd! No, really.”

Really dodgy prizes for the also-rans. If you finish in 47th, fully expect to go home with a bottle of sherry purchased from the supermarket ‘specials’ aisle.

Appalling weather is certain for the Christmas match
Appalling weather is certain for the Christmas match
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