Hi Amer, I realise you are a very busy man so thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions;
As the UK General Manager for Rive can you tell us what constitutes a typical day, if there is such a thing?
Amer – I am very new to the roll of UK general manger for Rive. At first it was learning what was required from my retailers as to what was expected from such a high quality brand. My typical day is always a pre-planned day. This means putting in many miles in the car to reach my existing account base as well as setting up new accounts. Meetings are best pre-arranged for me to make sure I meet the right staff/owners. I don’t want to travel the distances and be told to come back when the owner is in! As I cover the UK on my own, as you can imagine you are required 24/7 by phone or email, from UK accounts, anglers and my French and Dutch colleagues! I always say, “a busy day is a good day”
Obviously Rive are a French company, does that mean you spend a lot of your time on the other side of the channel?
Not really. At first I was required to travel across the channel to learn about how the company operates. This was a great way for me to learn quickly. Now my visits are on average 4-5 times a year.
Do you ever get to fish competitions in France? How does their match scene compare to ours?
As much as I have travelled to France, I have never actually match fished there. But speaking to my colleagues who are all match anglers, their scene is not dissimilar to ours from a natural venue point of view. They use bloodworm and joker far more on matches than we do. Their commercial scene has grown over the years with the introduction of carpodromes. These waters have big stocks of very large carp!
The new Rive catalogue has just been released for 2018, what exciting new products should we be looking out for?
Yes I am very excited to be playing a part in some new product innovations. Some of the new Rive products to look out for are: two new UK suited R16 poles to complement the already popular R16 Professional pole. Obviously the new RS1 box which has been in strong demand since its recent launch. One new product which I have personally seen in the flesh is the new mini twin roller. It has the versatility to switch from a twin roller to a single flat bed type roller with a unique twisting mechanism of the central roller. Some great new smart clothing with UV protection. Without doubt one of my favourite new products to be launched is the free standing side trays. These are just what was asked for in every way and more… Those days when you have limited platform space or bank space. These side trays don’t require the use of supporting legs. So no need to worry about holding up the trays with any other forms of supports. Lighter and no extra legs needs to be bought. A real winner!
The Rive seatboxes are expensive bits of kit, certainly in the upper bracket when it comes to price and they do divide opinion somewhat between anglers with some saying you get what you pay for while others think they are overpriced, can you provide an insight into what you get for your money?
I fully understand that not all can afford to spend the money on a premium, top end seat box. I have learnt so much and more since I have been through the manufacturing process of a single Rive seat box. Let’s take this as we are talking about the ST and RS1 boxes as we do a range which starts from £150. One seat box is made and assembled primarily in France. We have many staff who specialise in various aspects of the manufacturing of a single seat box. Each member of staff has a roll to play in the making of one seat box. This ranges from the individual clamps and assembly, the painting of each metal part. The welding of each frame, each tray and drawer unit have to be put together with their own clamps and clasps. The cushions are made with a specially sourced material only available from a top Swiss manufacturer. These are then made by hand by a master saddler in Strasbourg, who also specialise in the motor industry. We use these skilled workers because they now what constitutes a comfortable seat cushion. This means less back problems and a very supportive comfortable seat cushion. We use the best quality marine ply for the base of the seat cushion. This is so that any water ingress will not absorb or cause warping of the seat base. We hold patents on various innovative parts of our seat boxes which command a high costing. Every back plate is made with a specially tooled machine. We have made these boxes with many firsts in the fishing tackle trade. Open leg brackets. High stability footplate which means we are the only seat box manufacturer that has a six legged seat box where as the weight distribution is purely transferred onto 4 legs set forward and not just two. Convinced yet? ? (Yep, I’ll start saving!)
You do quite a bit of coaching, so with that and your commitments to Rive, do you still get time to fish as many matches as you would like?
My coaching days are always done at weekends. So no work time is lost. I also see this form of support to the various anglers as a way of putting back into the sport what has served me so well and brought me so much enjoyment for best part of 35 years now. Fishing is quite a selfish sport and I personally appreciate those who have supported me over the years. I was always wishing I could have received a level of support when I was learning the sport/hobby. Nobody in my family or friends really got involved in fishing. So for me it was learning the hard way! Now with my work in the tackle trade it has hit my own fishing a lot. But in a good way, if you can say it? It’s been important to establish the brand of Rive further over here and also establish myself within the trade. And remember these coaching days are potential Rive customers of the future! Match fishing is in my blood, I won’t be away for too long…
What’s your favourite style of fishing?
Pole fishing for bream!
Your favourite species?
A difficult one this… has to be bream. They are such good weight builders and once you master how they prefer to feed, a big weight is always on the cards.
Where is your favourite venue?
Voorne Canal (Holland)
Have you any angling heroes or anyone who has inspired you?
Ex world champion Ian Heaps, in my early days he helped me understand some basic but important lessons. Ex match angler and former England international Kim Milsom. Without knowing it Kim was an angler who was without doubt a natural talent. His attention to detail and how he could read a venue much quicker than most was something I picked up in in my days fishing with and against Kim.
And I must make a special mention to my ex travelling partner Tim Nash. Tim had a way of keeping me calm when I was so het up after drawing. A true legend he was. Rip mate.
What’s your biggest fish in the UK? And abroad?
24lb Pole caught mirror carp. (UK)
Large Tuna and Barracuda (US and Kenya) sorry not weighed! Have to be an anglers guess…
You travel around Europe a fair bit, are there any countries you still really want to visit and any species you would dearly love to catch?
India – Mahseer.
A lot of people say commercial fisheries have been the saviour of match fishing, especially with the decline of the rivers but more recently there seems to have been a swing away from carp back towards silver fish matches and rivers, where do you think the future of fishing lies?
I am not sure commercial fisheries have been the saviour of match fishing. In my opinion it’s changed match fishing in other ways. Take the UK team scene, these events have suffered due to the anglers giving up team commitments in favour of frequenting the many commercial fisheries up and down the country. Once to be involved in the biggest matches you had to be involved with a team, nowadays the biggest events are individual events. I see far less youngsters coming into the sport now. So what will the future of the sport be like without the keen youngsters like I once was? Commercials have given us a great variation to guarantee some great sport though and I can understand why these types of venues are so popular. I’ll put it simply… when I took up fishing as a hobby, the challenge for me was to catch a fish. It took me 6 weeks to achieve this. I was hooked for life! Now I see pleasure anglers fishing local commercial venues catching big carp on their first visits to the venues. Do they get that same buzz and sense of achievement as I did all those years ago fishing a local park lake? For me the youngsters see completing a computer game as their challenge these days!
What has been your favourite match win to date? And are there any titles you would dearly like to win?
So many great match wins I could mention. It would be easy to say qualifying for a Fishomania final or some other big wins. But for me it has to be a match that really set me up in the sport for life. Winning the Intermediate youth championships at the age of 16 was a massive step for me. Over 1000 fished this event on a qualifying basis first and I was the eventual winner. It still means so much to me today as I have a lot to thank that day for. The title I now would dearly like to win is an event I have come so close to winning over the last two years… It’s the Dutch Classic on my favourite venue (Voorne Canal). To be 1 pt off winning last years festival and runner up on week 1. 6th and 7th this year only 2 points from joint first place. I am getting closer!
If you had a time machine is there one moment in fishing you wished you could go back and change? i.e. a dream fish coming off at the net or a decision in a match that’s cost you a title?
I feel very fortunate to have very few, if any regrets in fishing. But if I could turn the clocks back on a match it would be the Division 1 national on the King Sedgemoor drain and River Huntspill. I was drawn on a very heavily flooded Sedgemoor drain. I spent the first half of the match fishing a flat float on the pole for nothing. Like a fool I just felt I wasn’t going to catch anything as I could see for a long way along the drain and nothing was being caught. I picked up the feeder rod and cast across the drain to a small slack against some reeds. First cast a drop back and a bream was on! I lost this fish in some weed half way across. I went on to catch 6 more bream for 30lb and an individual medal. I am convinced I should have won the national that day. I only needed two more fish…
Have you got one piece of advice that will help the readers put more fish in their nets?
“If you think it, do it”
Many times I use this as a general rule. The amount of times it comes off is unreal. We have all won lots of matches in hindsight…
Match fishing has been steadily becoming more professional with anglers smartening up their appearance, big money televised events and more and more sponsored anglers but there are still only a handful of full time anglers, do you think there will ever be a time when match angling can become a viable career, like say professional footballers?
I wish it would be the case as so many top anglers put so much time and effort into their sport. But in my opinion, no.
Unfortunately fishing only really has the appeal to anglers. It’s not like snooker or tennis which I know so many people watch, even though they have never taken part in those sports. There are some great televised events, but I feel it won’t get big enough for big money to be pumped in at the level of other lucrative sports.
On the subject of the big money events like Fisho, MMT and now the Golden Reel, do you enter the qualifiers? Is there a burning desire to win one of those events?
I have entered 7 Fishomania qualifiers to date:
Won the lake 5 times. Qualified 1 time. (Hayfield lakes final)
I have fished 2 Maver Match This qualifiers to date: Barston and Makins fishery.
2 x framed and qualified for the Maver British Pole Champs!
Maybe I should fish these more often?
Yes I can see me doing more at some point in the future.
Well thank you for giving up your time but before I let you go, here’s a few more quick-fire questions,
What’s your favourite drink?
Water… so boring, but so important!
Moussaka (Greek dish)
Do you support a football team?
Born less than a mile from Anfield… Liverpool FC
The Walking Dead
What music do you listen to?
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Waking up knowing I have a great family. Then taking them out for the day!
Many thanks again Amer, from Against Men and Fish
Check out the new catalogue on the website – Rive France
*All images courtesy of Amer Jawad