Mine's A Pint!

Tom Scholey on why a post-match pint is vital for the sport.
When White Acres fishery manager Clint Elliott decided not to pay out to anybody who failed to turn up for the presentation on his festivals, I thought it a brilliant idea.

Growing up on the northern match fishing circuit, a post-match pint and presentation is very much a part of fishing a match – and sometimes even the best part of the day! After moving down to the Midlands and starting to fish a few events down here, though, I have quickly come to realise that there is a totally different mentality among a lot of anglers – and particularly, it has to be said, commercial anglers.

I can still remember my surprise last year, after winning a match on a Midlands commercial, when before I'd even had chance to finish packing up, the owner was coming up the bank to give me my envelope! Quite literally, the norm at that particular place is for anglers to finish fishing and go home – and there are plenty of other places like it.

I can’t help but feel that up-and-coming anglers in particular lose out in this kind of environment. When do they get the opportunity to pick the brains of the winners, and find out how they caught?

Thinking back to my early days, I learnt almost as much in the bar as I did on the bank. I was privileged to grow up with some brilliant club anglers, who were always more than willing to tell me how they had caught, and a post-match pint gave me the perfect opportunity to pick their brains.

Then there was the unforgettable feeling – when I finally did manage a pick-up in a match – of 30-odd blokes clapping and cheering as I went up to collect my money. I can still remember the moment now – and can’t help but feeling that it wouldn’t have been nearly as nice had it simply been the match organiser passing me an envelope as I packed away.

When I moved on to the open match circuit, the same thing applied. My travelling partner, Matt Godfrey, and I tried our hand in the Lindholme Winter League, and there was always a post-match pint at the Reindeer pub up the road, and it proved a great opportunity to learn. I can’t think of a single venue up north where this doesn’t take place.

It is a chance to make new friends, learn about the sport, and comes with a host of extra benefits. Through all the jovial micky taking and banter, you feel a part of a greater community – which makes you feel more inclined to turn up the following week and have another go, no matter how bad your day might have been. On the flip side, if you have been lucky enough to win, you feel that your achievements are appreciated and applauded by fellow competitors. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know it is totally unrealistic to expect anglers to attend the presentation of every single match that they fish – as sometimes other commitments crop up, meaning they have to dash back. What I really dislike, though, is when it becomes the norm at certain venues and, although they may not realise it, the anglers really are missing out.

Tom Scholey

Picture courtesy of John White