I recently saw someone being interviewed who said it's not right to spend £40 on bait to win just £30. That made me question why as it's actually quite a daft thing to say. After all, the UK is one of the few angling nations that fish for money. Very few other nations mix fishing and gambling the way we do. Instead, many of them just fish for trophies, sometimes for vouchers/tokens and other prizes, sometimes just for fun. Perhaps that's really what we should do in this country too – at least at club and open match level? It would certainly make for a friendlier atmosphere.
Why do UK anglers feel they have to get a monetary return after fishing? You don't play football and expect to win money at the end, unless you're paid to do it. You also don't pay to watch a football game for 90 minutes and expect to get any money back. Cyclists don't do it, golfers don't do it, bird watchers don't do it. Match anglers pay to have the pleasure of fishing, spend money on bait, day tickets, food and refreshments and then usually have five or so hours to try and catch more than anyone else. Should we really expect money in return as well? You get far more value from a day's fishing than 90 minutes spent watching 22 blokes kicking a ball around!
Winning also seems to depend on what circuit you fish. Some matches give the lion's share of money to the winner and next to nothing for lower placings while other venues spread the money right out. This latter format is not as lucrative but seems to breed a much friendlier atmosphere. No one walks off with a big wad of cash but several people get a small return on what it's cost them to fish. It also effectively keeps away the ruthless money chasers. I have chatted to many fishery owners and whenever lots of money is at stake the attendances will drop when just a handful of names keep winning it all. Food for thought?
Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy winning and I enjoy winning money. But ask anyone that's won Fish 'O' Mania, Match This, the UK Champs and so on what's more important and most will say their name on the trophy. The money is nice and adds kudos to the event but it's that title everyone wants. Even £50,000 is not exactly life changing these days. It can all too easily get spent on mortgages, conservatories, new cars and so on. Titles never go away however (unless you're a drug-enhanced cyclist it seems!). Let's not forget that they don't fish for money in World Championships either, do they? It costs a fortune to compete but being crowned World Champion is the possible reward!
So, perhaps taking money out of the sport, other than at the highest level, would be a good thing? Of course, it's never going to happen but it's food for thought.
I personally fish to win and to try and make a name for myself. Money is secondary. If you don't believe me then this might change your opinion. This month I have decided to take part in Movember, a charity event that raises awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. To do it, I have to grow a moustache throughout November so that's exactly what I've decided to do!
ALSO I have decided to donate EVERYTHING I win in fishing matches during November to the cause! Who knows what I will win? I might win nothing! I have got some very big winter leagues coming up, though, so I'm hopeful that I can at least put a section money envelope back towards such a worthy cause!
If you want to support me, check out my page at: http://mobro.co/jonnyarthur