ALMOST A BRITISH RECORD, THE BEAUTIFUL GAME, THE BLOG EVOLVES (Blog entry 669)

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It’s been a while since I did some ruffe fishing. Yes, you heard that correctly, ruffe. I know that they aren’t exactly top of the pile as far as most anglers are concerned, but I actually quite like the mini-species. So much so that I will happily go off for a session pursuing the likes of gudgeon, stickleback etc. Especially ruffe though as I do have a soft spot for them.

What’s the attraction? I can’t give a definitive one-answer statement, it’s just a number of things I guess that come together. They’re different, not found everywhere like many other species are, not on the radar for most anglers and they present a challenge. Whatever it is, I enjoy fishing for them and that’s what this week’s blog entry is dedicated to as far as the angling content is concerned. The humble ruffe.

A perch ready to go back
A perch ready to go back

My approach is identical to when I’m perch fishing. Legered worm on a decent-sized hook (10 for ruffe) with a 1/3 ounce free-running lead. Fished over red maggots and brown crumb, inevitably other fish will show, especially perch. It’s not possible to eliminate other species but then again I’m not exactly devasted when something else takes the bait.

On session one that was the case with chub. However, I was absolutely gob-smacked when I caught my one and only ruffe of the outing. Although the bite was that of a ruffe, the moment I lifted into it and brought it to the bank I assumed, by the weight, that I had caught something else.

Returning a canal bream
Returning a canal bream

In fact, from first glance as it surfaced I thought it was a small perch. However, once I got a proper look I was stunned. It was by far the biggest ruffe that I have ever caught and this actually from a section of canal that is miles away from my usual haunt for them. The photograph isn’t the best, unfortunately it is blurred, and that’s my fault as I should have checked before releasing the fish.

However, you can’t take away from the size of it. My scales are more geared for pounds rather than ounces but if I tell that from the end of my wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 8 inches (20 cm) then that gives you an idea of the size of the fish. The British record is 5 ounces 4 drams so in perspective, it is a quality specimen indeed. I was buzzing!

Shame it's blurred - a cracking ruffe
Shame it’s blurred – a cracking ruffe

I managed other sessions this week and as you can see from the photographs I also caught bream and perch as well, so quite a mixed bag along the way. Just the one ruffe though, but I’m more than happy to settle for quality over quantity. Talking of the latter, the TNS senior men’s season ended on Bank Holiday Monday just gone with the Welsh Cup final against Airbus UK Broughton at Wrexham’s ground.There’ll be more of that in next week’s blog entry.

In the meantime though, what an incredible campaign it’s been for The New Saints. The 2-0 win at Wrexham ensured that the club did the historic ground-breaking achievement of back-to-back domestic trebles. That means in my two full seasons at Park Hall I’ve seen six trophies lifted. The photograph below was taken back at home base with Ryan Brobbel, the MOTM and of course the Welsh Cup. The Cwpan Cymru.

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With Brobz and the Welsh Cup at Park Hall

Although my own football world is going quiet over the next few weeks as far as professional involvement is concerned, it’s anything but on the pitch as far as the amateur level is concerned. As I mentioned in last week’s blog entry, I run a charity that works in Africa and as part of our fundraising we organise a Monday evening league at Coseley Leisure Centre in the Black Country. Interested in getting involved? Here are some details CLICK HERE and I look forward to hearing from you.

If you’re in the area why not enter a team? Or if you’d like to have a game, get in touch anyway as I’m currently looking for players for a team. It’s a fun league, and of course football is a great way of keeping fit, so if you’ve been out of the game for a while this is the perfect opportunity to get back into the swing of things. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a full-time professional like the TNS players or an enthusiastic amateur like me, it’s always the beautiful game.

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In the Black Country? Get involved!

Of course it’s a great honour and privilege being involved in the world of professional football with The New Saints, that goes without saying. First and foremost though I’m a football fan and that’s what makes it so special; it’s not just a ‘job’. When you are doing things however, it’s very different to actually just watching as a spectator. In the last couple of months or so I’ve been doing just that though, as I’ve been to see Willenhall Town in the West Midlands Regional Premier League. Tier ten in the English pyramid, I have thoroughly enjoyed the games I’ve been to.

The last fixture I attended saw the Lockmen entertain Wolverhampton Sporting CFC. I have actually been to the latter’s ground as TNS Ladies played there earlier in the season. Back to the present though and the game had it all. Six goals with the spoils shared, a penalty, and above all lots and lots of passion. For those of you who have a negative view of top-flight football, why not drop down a few divisions? Pardon the pun, but it’s a totally different ball game altogether. Who knows, I might see you at a WMRL game next season!

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Willenhall Town take on Wolves Sporting

The video that accompanies this week’s blog was filmed on the local canal and of course features mostly fishing. As I’m sort of evolving the blog at the moment I’ll be introducing a few other clips in there as well in the future. I can’t say for sure at the moment what because I haven’t got a written plan, but whether this blog or the video, although other stuff may find its way in it will always be about the fishing. Next week’s entry – both written and video – will feature the Welsh Cup though so the evolution has begun. I think the direction is although it will be fishing-focused, it’s becoming broader in the sense of it being a personal blog and featuring other things I’m involved in.

This is the 669th consecutive Saturday that I’ve published a blog entry. If I wasn’t lost for words when it was exclusively angling then I’m sure adding lots of other ingredients into the mix will be a breeze. I’ve also just added a ‘Follow’ button which you can access via the sidebar on the right. Why not subscribe and get an email every time there’s a new entry? I’ll be back next week with fishing reports from the local canal. In many ways the canal network system has become the new rivers for me in recent years. The best bit as well is that they’re open every single day of the year as well. Out and about yourself this week? Tight lines if you are. (Published May 7 2016)