Intermediate Reading Exercise

The Fishing Champion

In the following text, four paragraphs have been removed. Above the extract you will find the four removed paragraphs PLUS one paragraph which doesn't fit. Choose from the paragraphs (A-E) the one which fits each gap in the text (1-4). Remember, there is one extra paragraph you do not need to use. Write the correct letter in the empty boxes in the text.

A. "I was at this tournament in Oregon last autumn and it had been left back in the motel by my father. I tell you, not a single fish came near the hook that day. I wouldn't go anywhere without it now."

B. But it was mainly his mother who saw his potential and decided to buy Mattie his first rod for his ninth birthday. The rest, as they say, is history.

C. Oh, and he's the Western USA Under-16 Freshwater Angling Champion. Which, considering he's up against kids who have been fishing for some ten years while Mattie has had a rod in his hand for a mere three, is pretty impressive.

D. "I went to Florida for the national Under-13's. I won that with a barracuda and it was caught in about 3 feet of water. Everyone else was casting out to 20 foot. I just seem to have a knack for finding fish."

E. This explains the wise head he seems to have on his shoulders. Fishing runs wide and deep in the Jackson family, who live near the mountain resort of Mammoth in the north of the state of California. "So much of what I know about fishing has been given to me by my father, my brothers, my uncles and aunts. It's a team effort I like to say."

Mattie Jackson is 12 years old. He rides his bike around the neighborhood, plays soccer with his friends and gets good grades from Fairmount Ridge Junior High School.


When I first met Mattie, he was exchanging baseball cards with some of his pals. This is a quiet, unassuming youngster and not at all what I expected from somebody who is said to have the fishing world at his feet. He was called the "Tiger Woods of fishing" by the editor of California Fishing last month just after he won the prestigious under-16 title.

Mattie was pushed into angling by his father, John, when he was nine. He accompanied his father on numerous fishing trips so many successful tips and tricks had already been picked up by the time he tried it himself. And it seemed to come oh-so-naturally to him.

"I caught my first fish after about four minutes. My father was furious," he laughs. His father says he has a great technique, enormous patience and, most importantly, a willingness to listen and learn.


His first angling trophy was won at the age of ten. He was Californian under-12 champion the following year. He is also American under-13 champion but it is the under-16 tournament success, against much older anglers, that gives him the most satisfaction.


It's what his father calls 'Mattie's radar' and it is being used on a daily basis in rivers and lakes across the USA as he travels from one tournament to the next with his father by his side. But he has other tools of the trade and is, typically for a fisherman, pretty superstitious when it comes to his tackle.

"This lure was bought for me in England," he explains, handing me something that looks like a wasp on a hook. "I've won three tournaments using that and if I lost it, snagged it or something, I would dive in after it. And this hat." He is wearing a light blue cloth hat that he goes on to explain brings him luck.


What does the future hold for Mattie? "I intend to finish school and I want to go to college. I know it's important to get a good education. I'll always have fishing to go back to whenever I want."

And with that, we reach the lake shore and he settles down for what promises to be a fruitful evening. Instinctively, his hand reaches up and pats his faithful blue hat before returning to his rod. Just checking.

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