SHROPSHIRE PERCH, WPL AWARDS NIGHT, CELEBRITIES, FOCUS FOR MEN (Blog entry 674)

I had a telephone call recently from the FA Wales’ Steve Lloyd asking if I would get involved in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League’s end-of-season awards night. Although it clashed with the TNS Ladies presentation evening that I had also been invited to do at Park Hall,  after conversations I ended up at the St. David’s Hotel in Flintshire last Saturday. The invitation included my wife, Debby, and with an overnight stay it turned out to be a quality time.

I very much enjoy my involvement with the champions, TNS, but to actually be approached by the governing body was an incredible honour. I seem to be going from one blessing to another at the moment in the football side of my life. There are times when you have these seasons of doors opening, other periods are perhaps not quite as fluent. And it’s not as if I’m pushing anything either, I’m just happy though when they open to walk through them.

At the WPL awards evening in Flintshire
At the WPL awards evening in Flintshire

The evening itself went very well and I was the ‘Roaming Rev’, as Marc Webber described me. During the presentation itself I had the role of going to the tables and interviewing people. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it with the greatest honour being the interviewing of TNS’ Paul Harrison, who was inducted into the WPL Hall Of Fame. I get on very well with H, as he is affectionately known, he is great both on the pitch and off it.

Following the overnight stay, the next day it was more football as TNS Radio kicked off its season courtesy of a charity game at Park Hall. It was nice to get back on air with commentary but also to see lots of publicity gained for the two charities involved. TNS was awash with celebrities from the likes of Emmerdale, Waterloo Road etc, but let’s not forget the stars who give up valuable time working tirelessly helping others.

The WPL awards evening followed by the charity game
The WPL awards evening followed by the charity game

It’s not very often I go into great detail regarding the venues I fish, but this week I do just that. I fished Pool number one at Woodlands Lodge on the Kinver Freeliners ticket and if you watch the video I even reveal the swim. I’ve been a member of various clubs down the years but Kinver is up there with the best of them. This is reflected in the fact that KFAC has a lengthy waiting list that is currently around the three-year mark.

If you’re in the catchment zone of any of the waters – and they do stretch across a wide geographical area – it’s worth getting your name down. After all there’s nothing to lose. Check out the club website and you’ll find contact details on the home page. In the meantime there are day-ticket waters and that’s why I fished – and publicised – Woodlands Lodge. Set in very quiet Shropshire countryside just outside the town of Bridgnorth, it’s a good looking place as you can see in the video.

Kinver Freeliners - a great club to be part of
Kinver Freeliners – a great club to be part of

I fished with worm so that I would at least eliminate some of the smaller fish and get amongst any bigger specimens in the swim, but as you can see I didn’t even need my landing net once. I show a number of fish to the camera but even a worm on a size 10 was no deterrent to the hordes of hungry small perch that I had in front of me. As they are my favourite fish though it wasn’t an issue. Of course I prefer 2lb fish to 2oz ones but as I wanted to showcase the venue for the pleasure angler first and foremost, what I really wanted on this occasion was just lots of fish.

I certainly had that and ended the session with no idea of the number I caught. What I do know though is that it was good fun and regardless of what you’re after, that’s what angling is all about. Although there is a variety of species in there, perch dominate and when, like me they’re your favourite species, it’s good to catch them at whatever size. In fact I find the very small ones quite fascinating. Perfection in miniature.

My bait approach is described in more detail in the video
My bait approach is described in more detail in the video

I also departed from my usual leger tactics and dusted the float rod down. When I was a kid I very rarely fished with the lead, even as a youngster I saw it as a crude method while the float was much more graceful and ‘proper’ fishing. Now though, with modern tackle the former is just as sensitive a way of fishing, plus I do a lot of nights so it’s much more practical. Nevertheless I really enjoyed the session staring at a float as opposed to a quivertip. The depth of eleven feet was just about right with a twelve feet rod.

It took a few minutes for the fish to move in and get feeding but from then on it was non-stop action all the way. The video covers the session as well as pointers on feeding and even how to use a plummet to set the float correctly. I know that it is basic stuff, but bear in mind that there are people who are coming into angling all the time. If you can use a plummet, great. Bear in mind though that there are others who haven’t a clue. I regularly get positive feedback from novices on some basic aspect I’ve covered that has helped them.

Great fun catching my favourite species
Great fun catching my favourite species

‘Can you come and talk to us about your faith and football?’ Well, with an invitation like that, who can say no. So, on Monday just gone that’s exactly what I did when I was the guest speaker at Focus For Men in Dudley. It’s a church-based organisation, hence the faith bit and they get together three-times a year and have a meal and a speaker. There were about 100 people there, split 50/50 with churchgoers and non. As it was football and all very informal, I wore my TNS stuff.

I started off by asking who had heard of The New Saints and about half a dozen or so hands went up. Now, everyone has. More importantly though I was able to share my own faith-story. My faith is very important to me; it’s central to my life not just an hour and a half on Sunday morning that I tag on the rest of the week. It was a great night and the feedback was both very encouraging and humbling. Faith, football and fishing. What a life. Finally, feel free to add me on my personal Facebook account. Click HERE. See you next Saturday.  (Published June 11 2016)