EURO 2016, PERCH FISHING, FOOTBALL IN SCOTLAND (Blog entry 676)

As a football fan I’m interested in the current Euro tournament of course. However, I also have lots of other interests and commitments in my life, so as much as I’d like to watch every single game on television, it’s just not feasible. When it comes to England and Wales games though, that’s a non-negotiable red line as far as I’m concerned. The clash between the two took place while I was on holiday in Anglesey.

With TNS right on the border between the two nations and a good mix of English and Welsh people in and around the club, it was only natural that media attention would be aroused. However it went way beyond expectation, with the likes of national broadcasters BBC 5 Live and SKY Sports in attendance along with the Oswestry Advertizer, Shropshire Star and BBC Shropshire. As part of my responsibility at the club I took the day out to Park Hall and then back to Rhosneigr for the final evening of the vacation with my wife.

Media both national and local descended on Park Hall
Media both national and local descended on Park Hall

Back home for just one full day before I commenced my travels once more, I managed an afternoon perch fishing on a pool not too far from home. You can check out the session in the video at the head of the page. I thoroughly enjoyed it and with a barren angling period ahead as far as the rest of the week was concerned, I made the most of it. I caught perch and also had a couple of pike on, banking one and encountering a bite-off with the other.

Although I’m always happy to catch other species, whenever I go fishing I always have a target in mind. I find that it helps me to focus more. In addition there is a greater sense of achievement when you catch by design rather than accident. Of course, everyone is different and isn’t that the beauty of angling. You’ll never find me criticising other anglers over their methods or approach.

Nothing big this week but lots of perch
Nothing big this week but lots of perch

If you see a fisherman dragging a pike along the bank or someone with rods out on bite alarms and he’s 100 metres away with his mates, then if you want to speak out do so. But launching sarcastic and nasty attacks on someone simply because they fish with a pole and you don’t or they bivvy up and you never will, well to me that’s nothing but pointless and divisive.

It’s one of the reasons why you very, very rarely see me on angling forums. It’s amazing how even an innocent question such as ‘What’s the best hook for chub?’ within ten posts can degenerate to a ‘Let’s meet up and sort it out’. Quite simply I find it a massive turn-off. I tell you what does the opposite for me though, and that’s going fishing. I get my buzz from punching bread for roach not threatening to spark someone because he didn’t use an unhooking mat in his photograph.

Perch and pike on the bank
Perch and pike on the bank

Anyway, I didn’t do as much fishing as I wanted to in this blog entry and that’s because I spent the best part of the week in Scotland on a pre-Champions League camp with The New Saints FC. We flew from Liverpool to Edinburgh with the base itself being the university of St. Andrews. We played Aberdeen first and then Hearts, and although both were defeats they were just pre-season friendlies. The run-out was more important than the result.

Fishing is a big part of my life of course, and the plan for the future is that I’m going to use times like this to do some angling. Obviously I can’t take anywhere near the full gear with me when I’m on the road, but prior to travelling north of the border I ordered a mini telescopic rod and reel. Unfortunately it arrived while I was away so it didn’t accompany me on this trip.

In Scotland for the pre-Champions League camp
In Scotland for the pre-Champions League camp

The plan though is that this will satisfy my fishing cravings. Even if it’s just for twenty minutes at a time and purely fun-fishing for tiddlers at least it means I’ve done some angling. Plus I’ll get to cast out in some new places that I would never have been able to tackle (no pun intended) before. Even if it’s just a stickleback in San Marino or a tiny chub in Cyprus, I’m looking forward to exploring new horizons.

With two qualifying rounds drawn in the Champions League, those are the destinations that TNS are heading for. Obviously we have to get past the San Marino champions first though, but that’s two guaranteed games and I’ll be checking Google Maps once I know where the club base will be, looking for blue in the area!

St Andrews, the home of golf and Derek McInnes
St Andrews, the home of golf and Derek McInnes

Anyway, more of the new rod and reel set-up in a future blog. I will be using it not just for long-distance football travel but also to squeeze in lots of other sessions. Away from fishing, as we all know by now it was the EU referendum this last week. I’ve voted in every elections since I was 18 and of course I did the same here. Without being a political animal, I’ve always been a student of politics and I stayed up till after 6.00 am following the ongoing developments.

I shared how I voted, plus my post-election thoughts, on my personal Facebook account. Depending on when you read this of course, the post will be towards the top of the page. Check my FB out BY CLICKING HERE and feel free to send me a friend request. Finally, I managed a few strolls around St Andrews while I was away and saw my first eider duck of the year, taking me to 114 species for 2016. I also spotted rock pipit and linnet and there was a breeding colony of fulmar on the town cliffs. Even though I’m not a golfer I thoroughly enjoyed taking in the Royal & Ancient course as well. See you next Saturday. (Published June 25 2016)