Although I am not a match angler I have entered or been entered into a range of competitions.
As a youngster I used to send in details of my specimen coarse fish captures to gain Kingfisher Guild Certificates from the Angling Times. An Angling Times Top Ten badge was proudly worn for a while, this was the mark of a true specimen hunter at the end of the seventies.
My allegiance then changed to the Anglers Mail, and at one stage I used to send in photos for publication. In those days the Anglers Mail paid £25 for each photo it used. Believe it or not, a 5lb 9oz Welland Chub back in 1989 won me a reel as the fish of the week. How things have changed, even a six pound chub barely gets a mention nowadays!
Various badges from Trout Fisherman and Sea Angler Magazines have arrived in the post and like the Angling Times Top Ten Badge have briefly adorned fishing clothing. I don't recall ever entering a trout, it being good publicity for day ticket fisheries.
My match career is limited, I have entered one trout fishing match. I travelled all the way to Bure Valley Fishery in Norfolk to find that the only way I could fish that day, was to enter a competition. I fluked a four pound rainbow first cast and walked off with a trout rod for the biggest fish of the day.
Despite this glittering array of awards I had never won a trophy until a couple of years ago when I was the weakest link in a two day RNLI competition aboard Colin Penney's Flamer III. Today I finally got another trophy to accompany it after accidentially winning a Portland and Surrounding Waters competition aboard Flamer IV.
I have entered several matches aboard Flamer, simply because this has given me access to species rich areas that would not normally be visited during a charter trip. During Colin's matches I have landed several new species including the rare Red Band Fish and the Baillions Wrasse. Whilst I admire match anglers, I have no real desire to compete and continue to concentrate on trying to catch new species. I felt that I had a chance of Trigger Fish, Dragonets and Butterfly Blennies and fished accordingly. Unfortunately I failed miserably and yet again, the angler next to me caught the only Butterfly Blenny of the day.
I was truly astonished when Colin announced that I had not only landed the most species but was also the points winner by some way. I don't really understand why, as I am sure that Steve Clements the runner up caught far more fish than me. However I would have happily swapped the kudos for Steve's Butterfly Blenny and the weakest link spot!
Where is my trophy room, the downstairs loo of course!