Friday, October 07, 2016

Tony Curd Interview

My latest interview is with Bait-Tech and MAP star, Tony Curd, and if I do say so myself, it’s a cracker!

Against Men and Fish -  Hi Tony, thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions, let’s start with some easy ones,
How and at what age did you get into match fishing?

Tony Curd - I started fishing literally as soon as I could walk! I used to join my Dad on the Grand Union Canal here in West London while Mum went and done the shopping - How cliché! -  And spent many hours catching roach and perch on the whip. It wasn’t until I was 7 that I started to become interested in Match Fishing though and with Dad being a match angler I was soon fishing a few junior events again on the canals.

Do you remember your first match win and can you tell us about it?

I can remember it very well. It was the second Blenheim AS Junior open I ever fished on the Grand Union Canal at Harefield which probably had some of the best canal fishing anywhere in the country at the time and I think I weighed somewhere around 12lbs of Roach which I caught on the whip with hemp and bread! Commercials came a lot later for me as I stayed on natural waters for a long time which I feel gave me a good grounding when these venues came to the fore as a lot of the skills you learn on those venues are big help when it comes to catching some of the species found in commercial waters, my first win on a commercial was at Bury Hill Fisheries where some junior events were run and a five carp catch was enough for the win – we’d be bitterly disappointed with five carp nowadays!
What’s your favourite method?

Again with a big variation in my fishing it’s difficult to choose one.  I absolutely love feeder fishing on any type of waters though in particular for bream on lakes and rivers but equally love chucking a method feeder tight to an island or far bank on commercial waters. Float wise, Waggler fishing on the rivers or fishing the short pole for big carp on commercials takes some beating!

And your favourite species of fish?

Tough one again! I’ve done lots of different fishing in both match and pleasure situations but if I had to narrow it down I’d say it’s hard to beat a bag of bream – from any type of venue.

Do you prefer commercials or natural venues?

Commercials tend to get most of my attention as that is where most of the big events in the angling calendar are held and I really enjoy fishing the various venues on the circuit. But when it comes to a bit of downtime or you’re a bit fed up with your luck in the draw bag I always find a few days out on the Rivers is a great way to find my mojo again, a lot of match anglers say they don’t enjoy pleasure fishing and to be fair I wouldn’t either if I was pleasure fishing the same venues I fished matches at, I feel it’s important to have a bit of variation in your fishing to avoid going stale and getting bored.

If you could give the readers one tip to improve their catches, what would it be?

To quite simply keep sticking in there and to not beat yourself up too much – stick to a couple of venues and learn the methods you need to compete there. Speak to the anglers who are doing well week in week out and pick their brains, especially if they’ve had a good day, they tend not to hold much back then! After a while you’ll feel a whole lot more confident and start picking up results along the way, by sticking to a few regular venues you will begin to learn the moods of the venue and be able to make the right decisions year in year out.

And what are your favourite groundbait mixes?

For virtually all of my Natural Water fishing I highly recommend the Bait-Tech Pro Natural Range, there is a mix for everything in the range and by combining them to suit the style of fishing you’re doing on a particular day you can get the perfect mix. The addition of the Pro Natural Extra to the range not so long ago was great as the mixes can now be used in Deep or Fast Flowing waters now too as a super binding mix to the others in the range.

For commercials I love Bait-Tech Big Carp Method Mix Krill and Tuna for all my margin work, if its big fish down the edge you’re after then look no further! A brightly coloured very strong smelling mix which has big fish written all over it, it’s also a fantastic mix for venues with a reddish, clay bottom too which believe me is more commercial venues than not.

Once winter comes around I switch to Bait-Tech F1 for most of my commercial matches, not feeding quantities of groundbait but small marble sized pieces or dusted onto micros to draw in more fish in the clearer waters you’ll find at that time of the year, a real favourite of mine!

You’re backed by Bait-Tech and MAP, how much do you get involved with new product development and are there any new and exciting products coming out from either company that you can tell us about?
I joined MAP back in 2012 and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that back then the brand was ‘Just another brand’ since then though year-on-year the rise of the company has been rapid and we are now right up there with the best of them.  One of the great things about being involved there is that you have an active role as a consultant to test product, suggest improvement and even totally new ones and it’s something I really enjoy particularly when you see something that you have had input into go down well with anglers all over the country.  We have just completed ‘Operation Seatbox’ which has taken some time but it’s taken that amount of time because going into a new field it just had to be right before release, and it’s right, believe me the amount of work that has gone into it behind the scenes is frightening.

I’ve been involved at Bait-Tech since 2010 and I’ve never looked back in terms of a bait sponsor, the quality of the products is second to none and has a real family feel about it – we have very little turnover in anglers and that says it all really! I’ve just this year joined the team in the office working on the Marketing and Social Media side of things which is great and something I’ve always wanted to do – as you’ll appreciate being a decorator previously doesn’t really give you the opportunity to attain such positions often so I jumped at the chance and getting the chance to help grow the brand is something I’m very passionate about.  It is a constant process of testing different baits and seeing what works, tweaking recipes and working with the sponsored anglers until they are right – most samples never make the shelves but anything that does will be epic!

The new seatbox from MAP looks the business, what can you tell us about it?

We have 3 boxes in the range to suit different needs and price points. The H-30 Lite (£325) and H-30 Comp (£435) and the Z-30 Elite (£599). The main focus at the moment though is on the flagship Z-30 though and what a bit of kit it really is, everyone who has seen it was expecting a £1000 price tag and simply cannot believe the quality that you’re getting for nearly half that price. The frame itself is manufactured to the highest standard and is rock solid with really classy looking graphics which are put onto the frame using the same level of quality that you’ll find on snowboards etc. What this means is your graphics will never peel off or get ruined which has been an issue with boxes in the past. It features the new 180 Degree locking mechanism on the legs too, this basically means that you can position the tightening wheel in any position around the leg – no more slamming them in the boot of the car! Add to this a modular design that can be altered to suit your fishing needs it has it all, the stacking unit which goes under the main seat can be used with any tray and you don’t have to use a tray which includes runners on it to make it lock thanks to a very clever magnet system.

Boxes aside we have a full accessories range, with everything from ripple bars, keepnet bar, feeder arm, side trays and winder kits. What makes these accessories unique though is the QRS System which stands for Quick Release System. This basically works on a push button where any accessory can be used with any QRS bracket, in short you can leave the brackets on your box and add any accessory to it as you will the same applies to keepnets you can simply leave the thread on your nets and store them away for the next session. Again these include the 180 degree ability so you will no longer snag the knobs with rigs etc. Something that I think is probably one of my favourite features on the QRS system comes on the range of side trays we have for the boxes, we’ve all had it where the support leg doesn’t fit the peg you’ve drawn and the water is too deep to reach the bottom. On our trays the QRS offers the angler the opportunity to move the position of the leg to ensure your tray will fit every peg you fish – an awesome feature and it’s so simple thanks to this system. The QRS fits 25, 30 and 36mm legs and all the adaptors are supplied and can be easily changed over.

To go with the seatbox launch there are also two barrows being added to the range and I believe these to be the best barrows ever designed! The X2 and X4 are self-explanatory as a 2 wheel and 4 wheel barrow. With the 2 wheel coming in at £99.99 and the 4 wheel coming out at £129.99. The beauty of these is the compactness of the pack down, featuring an extendable frame you’re able to get more kit on the barrow than others in the past and still get it packed down far smaller than ever before. You also get a barrow bag with these which make packing the car a whole lot easier, tidier and you’ll never leave a wheel or handle in the shed ever again…
You’ve got a long list of big match wins under your belt but which title still eludes you that you would love to add to your cv?

I’ve made quite a few big finals including two Fish’O’Mania Finals and appeared in many other flagship events. I also clocked up quite a few team achievements before going purely individual in pursuit of the sport’s biggest prizes. I’d dearly love to win one of the big ones – Maver Match This or Fish’O’Mania. These take up a lot of my time and when you’re chasing such achievements there are quite a few years that pass without event, but when it comes good it reminds you why you’ve spent years travelling thousands of miles and caught not a lot so many times trying to qualify!

In match fishing terms you’re still a youngster, what are your plans for the future, i.e. where do you see yourself in twenty years’ time? Any ambitions to fish for England?

To be honest I have literally no idea, as I said getting one or two big titles on the CV is my main aim for now and that will not change until that is complete! It’ll be interesting to see what events come around in that time, hopefully we will be able to get to a point where Television coverage and bigger money becomes an even bigger part of the sport. I spent quite a few years chasing a place in the England Youth teams while I was team fishing and to be brutally honest after doing very well in 3 trials I became disillusioned with the selection process and didn’t feel that there was a fair crack being given out so I had to re-evaluate my route into match fishing and chose to do it for myself, looking back it turned out to be the best option!
And where do you see match angling going? Do you think there’s been a shift away from massive weight venues? Has the carp bubble burst and are anglers going back to silvers?

Very much so! You only have to look at the success of Feedermasters and Riverfest to see that there is a big demand for matches on natural waters in this country and I think it’s superb to have the options and variation in events open to anglers who now have the opportunity to win big money and titles even if they get a bit bored on the commercial scene and fancy a change! There will always be a strong commercial fishery scene though and is the bread and butter of the match calendar and I can’t see that changing.

Before I let you go, here are some quick fire questions for you,

What’s your biggest fish?

As a match angler I very rarely take a set of scales with me! But I have caught Carp to 20lb, Barbel to 11lb, Perch to 3lb 12oz and Bream approaching double figures. 
And your biggest match weight?

320lb from Cob House Fishery a couple of years ago, it was solid!

Your favourite venue?
There’s a few that I really enjoy visiting! Commercial wise Colemans Cottage in Essex and Lindholme Lakes. But as far as rivers go my local River Thames and the River Wye are simply awesome when it comes to running water.
Well thank you Tony, it’s been an absolute pleasure, from Against Men and Fish


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