He watched the greats like Peter Plant, Neil and Paul Turner and Joe Brennan at classic canal fishing locations like Wombourne and Pendeford. He joined the Steve Davies Tackle match team trying his hardest but often failing, at least in the beginning, to emulate the local superstars on the cut.
That's a lesson for all up and coming match anglers. Success is rarely achieved instantaneously; rather it is persistence and an openness to realise that you can improve that brings rewards. Steve then joined Alrewas and after that the mighty Trentmen, for by then he was doing quite well on the river scene. Like many he ventured onto the commercial stillwater scene and picked up more than his fair share of brown envelopes at venues like Monkhall, Boldings, Poole Hall etc.
Steve's most famous win came in 2010 when he won the Division One national on his beloved River Trent. Drawing the hot peg, he made no mistakes landing 128lbs 8 oz to win a title he had dreamed about since a boy. Steve's last big traditional canal match was on the Division One Trent and Mersey Canal, where he managed to enhance a good national record going by winning his section and picking up maximum points for the Trentmen.
For the past few years Steve has spent time carrying somewhat less tackle and trying to encourage the world to take up lure fishing on canals, the same canals that gave him so much enjoyment on the traditional canal match scene of his youth.
With lots of practice and a canal fishing match mindset, Steve has won over 40 large lure matches culminating in the British title and European title on two occasions. He won the Trusts International Lure fishing challenge in 2017.
He has typically targeted smaller fish, for as Steve says ‘it made sense, the likelihood of catching 30 perch is a lot higher than catching 30 pike. It is the same thinking from the good old days when Planty and the Turners used to catch hundreds of gudgeon and seemed to frame each week'. Back then the small fish approach would leave a lot of the caster anglers in their wake, today, it's subtler than that for Paul and Neil Turner are masters on the caster.
Latterly Steve has chosen to give something of significance back to the sport becoming manager of the Team England lure fishing team. His ambitions are to increase participation in this side of the sport and to improve the world squad ranking. I for one would not bet against Steve leading the team to the podium in the next five years.