Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

IT’S hard to ar­gue with some of John Es­sex’s state­ments about the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship (page 24).

The old ‘All-Eng­land’ events ended in 1971 when points – and, dare I say it, pro­fes­sion­al­ism – took over. What de­stroyed it for most an­glers was that very pro­fes­sion­al­ism that all sports should en­joy and pro­mote.

Last year, in a bid to boost par­tic­i­pa­tion, the Angling Trust polled its mem­bers on how to re­gain the ‘must-have’ fac­tor of Na­tion­als which, in my 20 years’ fish­ing them, went from be­ing the high­light of the angling year to al­most pun­ish­ment.

Much of that can be laid at the door of the ‘pro­fes­sional’ teams. Es­sex County, for ex­am­ple, un­der the bril­liant lead­er­ship of De­nis Salmon, had a rule that ev­ery team mem­ber had to have a week off work prior to a Na­tional to prac­tice. For many an­glers – and I in­clude my­self in that – it was just too much. Peter­bor­ough’s Robin Har­ris, on his way to win­ning the last Na­tional de­cided on weight in 1971.

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