I had to laugh recently after chatting to a mate on the phone about the weekend's fishing we'd just had. He remarked how another friend was boasting about how he "battered me off the next peg" – well, his five carp were bigger than my five so fair dos with that.
What he omitted from the story, however, was that he had two anglers to his left that "battered" him. The nearest angler had 17 carp for 2nd in the match while the next angler had 20-plus for 1st in the match! Don't you just love selective accounts like this?
It is definitely not the first time or the last time I've witnessed this kind of thing. I could name and shame lots of anglers that only ever tell you about the occasional matches they win (some of them making quite a name for themselves in the process) and others that fail to elucidate on the reason why they won (five empty pegs either side, drawing the noted turning bay, a massive bonus fish and suchlike). Anyone who used to read my End Peg column in Match Fishing will know that I've never been afraid to talk about the bad matches and next-peg batterings I've had. It's nothing to be ashamed about and gave me a lot more to write about too – it's a shame a few others I know are sometimes too vain to do the same!
Another friend recently won a canal match with roach and a couple of 'small' 4oz to 6oz perch. Funny how I was told the smallest of these two perch was actually 1lb! You could of course blame the reporter but I'm sure there was an element of exaggeration on the angler's behalf too.
The best tale I've heard so far this season is another mate who proudly told me how he'd won a match. It was only after talking to someone else a week later that I discovered it was only a three(!) pegger. The guy who told me actually came second in the same match while the guy who was third packed up and went home early. To top things off, they always share their winnings! After texting the winner to admit what had happened I'm strangely still waiting for a reply...