The tackle you need to fish your first match

by Dan Webb |
Published on

Fancy making the jump from pleasure fishing to competitive angling but have no idea where to start or what you'll need to own to compete in a match? If you do, fear not, because the gear you need will be largely familiar and you may well already own a lot of the tackle required but make sure to read this guide so you're all set to make the leap into match fishing.

The kit you need to fish your first match at a glance...

Best Mid-Range Seatbox - Preston Innovations Inception Station - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best Value Net Pack - Daiwa Matchman Commercial Net Bundle - View offer on Fishing Tackle and Bait

Best Keepnet Bag - Maver XXL EVA Net Bag - View offer on Angling Direct

Best Ready Rod Bag - Daiwa N'ZON Rod Holdalls - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Match fishing isn't complicated and neither is the gear you need to compete. Aside from rods and poles there are thousands of different accessories designed to make your angling more efficient and hopefully put more fish in your net. Our guide talks through some of the best available and why they are advantageous to use...


Match fishing can be a fast-paced affair, where you need to be able to do everything from your seated position. Although a few competitive anglers fish from a chair, a seatbox is overwhelmingly the number one choice for most leading matchmen.

Which one you pick comes down to personal preference and, of course, budget, which is just as well because there is a huge array of seatboxes on the market to choose from, to suit anglers of all abilities. They all boast the same basic configuration, so here’s a small selection of some of the best ones.

Best budget seatbox

The functional and compact Shakespeare Superteam Box comes with a fully padded pole- style seat, and key configuration features include a full width cross drawer, two front drawers, plus under-seat storage that combine to offer more than enough space for winders, hook boxes, shot, accessories and even feeders. Easy-grip catches all-round mean no problems opening them in cold or wet conditions.

A rugged 'slide-under' footplate with pull pin retention and positional fixing makes this a compact seatbox to both store and transport gear, but allows plenty of movement around it when the footplate is extended. Easy-to-use handwheels secure the extendable legs in place, providing great stability with no chance of slippage.

Wide mudfeet help in soft-ground conditions, and screw-threaded tops in the
front legs will accommodate pole socks and tulip rests. It also comes with a removable and reinforced padded shoulder strap.


  • Lightweight and adjustable.
  • Can be used with or without the footplate.


  • Spring-loaded telescopic legs can slip slightly with sudden heavy movements.

Best mid-range seatbox

The new Inception Station seatbox builds on the success of the other Inception seatboxes and boasts many of the same features such as Mag-Lok clips, footplate locking plungers and soft-touch handwheels.

Built on a super strong and sleek-looking frame that’s available in either White or Graphite, the Inception has an abundance of storage space. The deep compartmented side drawer unit is perfect for accessories, while the deep side draw with removable dividers can be used for hooklength boxes, pole winders or any larger accessories.

There is an empty shallow tray situated between the draws and the pole seat, which is again perfect for storing pole rigs. The cassette under the frame includes a 26mm tray and lid where extra units can be added if required. The box comes supplied with six telescopic legs, making fine adjustments on the bank effortless.


  • Reliable box from a renowned company.
  • Fully customisable.


  • Comes with minimal pole rig storage.

National Angling Awards winner

This year a new seatbox replaced Matrix’s best-selling S36. The new Matrix XR36 Pro sports not only eye-catching aesthetics, but many innovative design improvements. The main frame now has non-marking leg clamps, and utilises a unique one-piece super-strong tubular hydro-formed frame. The footplate has a textured top and non-slip plastic slides with a single hand release mechanism.

The box comes with one shallow tray, a deep drawer unit and a transport lid. The 36mm non-slip extending legs are fully anodised, and include screw threads for off-box attachments. The seatbox height is fully adjustable via easy-to use large rubber handwheels, while a built-in spirit level will help to take out the guesswork of setting it up level on any terrain. It comes in a choice of two arresting colour schemes – Lime or Shadow.


  • Very sturdy seatbox, with built in spirit level.
  • Lovely design.


  • The box is quite heavy.

Match fishing accessories

There are loads of fantastic fishing accessories and gadgets on the market designed to make your angling quick and efficient. Some attach to your seatbox, others to your chair or simply sit on your side tray, and then there's luggage for bait and tackle storage too. Here are some of the best...

Best bait storage system

The handy weatherproof Guru Plus 4 System allows you to carry four kinds of pellets, particles or groundbait. Each individual tub takes three litres (five pints), so no matter where you draw or what method you decide to fish, you won’t run out of bait!


  • Great way of storing and transporting bait.
  • Keeps bait fresh and out of the weather.


  • Can be tricky to slide the tubs out with really cold hands.

Best seatbox topkit roost

The Preston Offbox Standard Gripper Roost is a fantastic accessory for helping to retain all your topkits whilst keeping them safe and accessible when fishing a match. The roost can house upto eight kits and simply clips onto your box or side tray leg, which keeps it secure. The soft grips prevent your kits being blown away and stops them sliding into the water if you're fishing from a platform.


  • Effective way of keeping topkits safe and to hand whilst fishing.
  • Attaches to seatbox leg for extra security.


  • The grips can be a bit strong to start with but improve after use.

Best topkit pole pot

You'll seldom see a pole without a small pot on the end, and these Guru Pole Pots are very popular amongst anglers. With the increased angling activity that a match brings to a venue, the fish will often sit further out from the bank in the early part of the competition. Pole pots help you to feed small amounts each time you ship out, allowing you to keep your catch rate ticking over until your short or margin lines take off later in the session.


  • Soft design to not cause damage to your pole.
  • Taller design is great for preventing bait spillage.


  • Not good for feeding large volumes of bait.

Best fish clicker

The Preston Innovations Triple Clicker is quick-release and able to fit 23mm offbox or 25mm and 36mm round box legs, this handy clicker allows you to keep track of your prized catch across multiple nets.


  • Keep track of the weight in multiple nets.
  • Attaches to seatbox to keep it secure.


  • You have to reset it manually if you overclick.

Best hooklength storage system

The Preston Innovations Magstore collection of hooklength boxes contain magnetic sticks to hold your rigs and is a great way of keeping your hooklengths stored and ready to go. You can either tie your own or buy pre-tied hooklengths on System Sticks that can be placed straight into the box. Three sizes of box are available, which can be bought loaded or unloaded.


  • Pre-tied hooklengths can just go straight into the box.
  • Individual stick can be removed, allowing you to customise the box depending on venue.


  • The winders aren't recyclable.

Best worm scissors

No bait wins more matches on natural waters than chopped worms and the super-sharp MAP Chop Worm Scissors make dicing large quantities easy.


  • Double blade for quicker chopping.
  • Blades stay sharp for ages.


  • Triple bladed version would be even better.

Best fishing platform

The Absolute Platform is strong and secure and packs away into a bag for easy transport and storage.

When faced with shallow water and steep banks, searching for a more comfortable peg is not an option in a match. Similarly, you need to be sat in deep enough water to net fish effectively and use a keepnet without getting off your box.


  • Essential when fishing out in the lake.
  • Very sturdy design.


  • Only use where you know the depth of the lake and secure legs properly!

Best ready rod bag

Available in two and four-rod versions in 180cm or 196cm, the Daiwa N'ZON Rod holdalls feature a hard back interior, Velcro rod locators and a separator so that ready-made rods can
be securely transported with ease. Featuring the Daiwa rod stacking system, reels can be offset to avoid side by side placement.


  • Allow you to take ready-made rods to the bank.
  • Padded to protect rods and reels.


  • They aren't essential, but they do save time.

Keepnet essentials

A keepnet is vital if you're going to fish a match, it is the only way to keep your catch safe until the end where your weight is recorded. Even in the depths of winter, multiple keepnets are a common necessity on well-stocked commercial venues, as you will need one net for silverfish and one or more for any carp you may catch.

Best keepnet pack

Manufactured from a super-tough, fine carp mesh, the Matrix 2.5m Triple Net Pack not only looks classy but is extremely durable. The nets have reinforced rings at the business end to take the punishment that big weights of fish tend to exert.


  • High quality net.
  • Great pack for getting started on commercials.


  • Some venues require a longer net.

Best value net bundle

The Daiwa Matchman Commercial Net Pack offers a pair of 2.5m keepnets and net head which are ideal, as they contain everything you need to get started. The shape of the keepnet heads take up less room allowing more to be positioned alongside each other on a toolbar.


  • Great quality nets.
  • Everything you need to get started.


  • Some fisheries require the use of three keepnets from the start.

Best keepnet for natural venues

Extra strong rectangular keepnet with an oversized top ring, The Nytro Lake and Canal Keepnet is manufactured using durable 5mm round, quick-dry, garment mesh fabric. The keepnet features a pressure-lock, finely adjustable tilt system.

The nets are available in 3m, 3.5m and 4m lengths to accommodate high banking and varying water levels that anglers can face when fishing matches on natural venues.


  • Long lengths available.
  • Quick drying, strong material.


  • Mesh is quite fine, so not suitable for fast flowing rivers.

Best keepnet bag

The Maver XXL EVA Net Bag is a zip-topped, waterproof bag that holds up to seven nets. Designed to stop leakage in your garage or car.


  • Keeps water and slime out of your car.
  • Robust design takes up to 7 nets.


  • Will keep your nets wet, so make sure you take them out and dry between sessions.

Best seatbox toolbar accessory

The Preston Offbox 36 Snaplok Toolbar is a useful addition to your commercial fishery armoury, it is designed for holding multiple keepnets across the front of your seatbox footplate.

Additional clamps and XL arms are available to buy separately that will accommodate up to six nets. The bar will fit 25mm, 30mm and 36mm round legs and is supplied with 30mm Round and 23mm OnBox Square Round inserts.


  • Neat way of attaching keepnets to seatbox.
  • Efficient way of swapping nets over when full.


  • Some anglers will feel it gets in the way.

Waterproof clothing

When the weather takes a turn for the worst, taking shelter under the brolly or heading home early isn’t an option if you’re in a match! Here's some wet day essentials...

Best waterproof fishing clothing

These highly comfortable, breathable Goretex waterproofs will not just keep you dry, but providing they are looked after will outlast cheaper garments many times over. Top quality, but at a price.


  • 100% waterproof.
  • Fully customisable.


  • Lead times can be quite long.

Best budget fishing bib and brace

Keeping dry on the bank needn’t cost the earth as the Preston Drifish Bib & Brace proves, it is great quality and will prevent most of the British weather from ruining your fishing. A zipped front is hidden behind a buttoned storm flap to help any water ingress through a vulnerable area. The Drifish Bib & Brace is also lightweight making it great to use all year round and benefits from several features like reinforced seams, knee and seat areas to ensure it will stand up to rigorous use, ideal if you are a busy angler or go several times a week. 

Adjustable braces and ankles allow you to tailor it to suit your preferences, and it is all finished in a stylish black with grey and blue highlights that will look good on the bank for years to come. 

Sizes available: M, L, XL, XXL


  • Great for beginners.
  • Fits really well.


  • Not the most waterproof on the market.

What to look for in match fishing tackle

Match fishing is exactly the same as other styles of angling in that, you can tailor the gear towards what suits you. Don't let the amount of tackle mentioned bewilder you, you can take as much or as little as you require, with some of the best anglers in the country taking minimal amounts to their pegs whilst others taking everything possible, just find a setup that works for you.

The tackle we have recommended are accessories we use or are very impressed with but again, there are always alternatives from various manufacturers, and you can spend a lot more or a lot less on the majority of the tackle in this guide. Match fishing is very much something you build on, the more matches you fish, the more idea you have about tackle that will make your life easier and more efficient.

Most importantly, don't worry about it, just book onto an open or local club match and see if you enjoy it, if you do, refer to this guide and you can expand your tackle options if you start match fishing seriously.

Frequently asked questions on match fishing tackle

What is an open match vs a club match?

A club match is often where most anglers start their match fishing careers and most fishing clubs have matches in their calendars for the year ahead. Once you are a member of the club you can book onto the matches, which are usually held on club waters. An open match is a match that is open to anyone and you don't have to be a member of the fishery to fish them.

How do I book onto a fishing match?

Booking onto a match is very simple, find a fishery you want to fish and see if/what days they hold their matches on. Then simply phone, or very often you can message on Facebook and enquire if there is a space. If there is you put your name down and you are booked on.

What are pools?

The pools is the money you pay to enter the match, this varies but on average it will often be between £18 and £25. From this, the peg fee is taken for the fishery to run the match and the rest goes towards the prize money at the end of the match.

What can I do before the start of a fishing match?

After you have drawn and got to your peg there are certain things you are allowed and prohibited from doing before the start of the match (all in). You are allowed to setup and plumb up your swim but you must not feed anything before the match begins. It is always worth checking out fishery rules as some venues require you to lay keepnets out before putting them in and others don't allow small pots on the pole before the start either.

What is a section in a fishing match?

A match will often be split into sections, these generally consist of 4-7 pegs on the lake and will run in areas to keep things a bit fairer. For example a section might run from pegs 1-6, and that will be the section of anglers you have to beat to win the section if you draw in that set of pegs. It often keeps things competitive if you draw an area that has little to no chance of winning the match overall.

Author Dan Webb first became involved in angling journalism in 2015 and has worked as Tackle Tester at Angling Times since April 2021. He is a fanatical all-round match angler and former England Youth International.

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