Middy's Craig Butterfield asks whether it's the winning or the fishing that should matter to match anglers.
I love catching fish! It’s the reason I go fishing. I match fish because I’m massively competitive. These two things don’t actually go together very well.
I gave up team fishing because I got fed up of not catching fish, yes the matches were over 50 pegs, yes the pay outs were great but too often I didn’t enjoy the fishing.
What is more important, the fishing or the match?
It’s a hard one to call, and every angler will have a different opinion. I think if you’re like me you try to find a balance. Match This, Fish O Mania, The Knock Out Cup are big matches with big prizes. It’s all about the prize; the fishing is pretty much irrelevant. I don’t think any of the previous Fish O winners have ever complained about the quality of fishing on the way to scooping the huge prize. The match angler in all of us wants the prestige of winning one of these events and the quality of fishing is the last thing on our minds.
Open matches, club matches, knock ups are different. The amount of money on offer is relatively small in comparison to the big events. For some people though it’s still all about the match. I know anglers who will fish ridiculously peggy venues because they know drawing in a certain area will almost guarantee a frame placing, maybe even a win. The fact that they will hardly catch anything most weeks doesn’t seem to faze them as they are match anglers and if they win a match they are “good” match anglers.
For me in my everyday matches the fishing is more important. I want to know that despite where I draw if I fish well I will catch fish and come off the bank feeling that my day wasn’t wasted. This sometimes means fishing smaller matches, but is this so wrong?
It's not an easy balance to get right, but I have to think that if match anglers acted with their feet and put the quality of fishing ahead of the prize then it could only help improve the sport we all love.
I’ll sign off with a well-known quote that is as true now as it was when it was first written, “There are two types of fisherman - those who fish for sport and those who fish for fish”.
Which are you?
Craig Butterfield, Middy Consultant