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Sheer Madness

There is no wonder that team fishing as we know it is dying on its feet, says Tom Scholey.
A lot of people speculated when the Angling Trust got involved with what was the Angling Times Winter League, that it would spell the end for the competition. Sadly the more I see of the organisation and how they operate, the more I am drawn to agree with them.

Before I go any further, I must say that I am usually very reluctant to complain about how events are organised and ran. It is all to easy to stand on the sidelines and criticise, when it would be more productive to contact the people who could actually do something about the problem. For this reason, I am going to forward my thoughts to the Angling Trust as well as posting them on here.

I can’t believe how badly this summers matches have been planned.  On the 11th August is the Angling Trust Winter League Final at Partridge Lakes. A week later is the Angling Trust Division One National. The following week is August Bank Holiday, which as usual plays host to the Evesham Festival, and the Match Fishing Team Championship that goes with it. Then, on the first weekend in September we have the Maver Mega Match This Final. 

That’s right – four out of our five national team angling finals take place on four consecutive weekends. And all at a time of year when kids are off school, and partners are no doubt nagging to fit in a family holiday.

I am fortunate in that my boss is quite accommodating, but the prospect of getting time off over four consecutive weeks to practice for four finals is somewhere between none existent and laughable - and I dare say that 99% of anglers are in the same situation.  Every team that doesn’t have a number of full time anglers within its ranks are going to be going into most of these competitions blind - which will play still further into the hands of the already dominant Daiwa Dorking.

It could of course be argued that the Evesham Festival and Maver Mega Match This final are nothing to do with the Angling Trust, but they have certainly compounded the problem by putting their two events on the two weeks leading up to them. As an organisation that is supposed to represent the interests of match anglers, I cannot believe that they have allowed this to happen.

Lets not forget, the contribution that match anglers make to the trusts kitty is quite substantial. Take the Division One National alone, 590 anglers fished the event. All of these had to be individual members of the trust to fish, earning them, in round figures £14,000. Then there are the Fish’O’Mania’s, and from next season the Winter League itself.

As altruistic as I am sure most of these anglers are when it comes to the common good and future of fishing, they are essentially only joining the trust to fish the competitions. And they deserve better. I would love to see a detailed breakdown of how our money is actually spent.

So what now? Well, if my Matrix Dynamite Trentmen team manages to qualify for the Winter League Final, we are going to have to choose whether to bother practicing for it, or the National. On whichever we choose to discount, we will have to turn up blind. It will cost us around £100 per man, to fish a match that we have very little chance of success in. I can well understand why any team wouldn’t want to bother entering either competition next year.

Tom Scholey

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