ON THE BUSES, WRASSE FISHING ON ANGLESEY, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (Blog entry 677)

After an extremely successful season at Park Hall, with both TNS and TNS Ladies completing trebles, an open-top bus tour took place last weekend. When you throw FC Oswestry into the mix, who lifted four trophies of their own, the town had much to be proud of. We’re into social media at the club and I found myself on the top deck, filming on Periscope as the day went live on Twitter.

It all went very well and whilst large sections of the country suffered heavy rain, we were basking in sunshine. In fact even as I passed through the Shrewsbury area on the way, the downpours were so intense that the traffic slowed down considerably. Even top-speed wipers were struggling to keep the rain at bay as it battered the windshield. Then just a few miles down the road it was like being in another world. Well, it is said that the sun shines on the righteous.

On the buses in Oswestry
On the buses in Oswestry

This week’s fishing sees me back on the beautiful island of Anglesey. This time though there was just the one session, and a different approach to my recent beach outings in Rhosneigr on my vacation, as I was on the rocks further round the coast after wrasse. Float-fishing for them is a great way of targeting the species and this week’s accompanying video captures footage including the set-up.

There is also brief footage of The Flying Scotsman that was filmed on the previously mentioned holiday. I knew it was passing through the island but then forgot about it. It was only when I drove over the line at Y Falli and saw the waiting crowds, I remembered. Fortunately I had the camcorder with me, so I parked the car and my wife and I went to see the historic sight, as it lived up to its name and flew through the station.

Lots of wrasse from the Anglesey rocks
Lots of wrasse from the Anglesey rocks

Back to the wrasse  fishing, and as you can see from the video, it was a great day for being on the rocks. On the edge of the outcrop, often with deep water directly in front of you, safety is a massive issue. Clambering over wet, weed-covered rocks calls for a very careful approach. Even when the sun is out and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, it will still be an issue, as they will still be slippery due to constant soaking by the two high tides every day.

Footwear is very important. You see holiday-anglers in flip-flops but something with a good grip is recommended for rock fishing. I love float-fishing though in that environment, and although the journey across the rocks to the waters-edge may a bit of a trek at times, becoming the human equivalent of a mountain goat is definitely worth it once you reach your destination.

Up close and personal, wrasse are beautiful fish
Up close and personal, wrasse are beautiful fish

Wrasse must be the most beautiful fish in the British Isles. Even from a distance they are amazing, but once you get up close and personal then they really come into their own as far as good looks are concerned. Although I caught mostly small ones, this really is one example where the size of the fish is irrelevant. If you’ve never caught one before, put it on your bucket-list, and if you’re a coarse angler then this is one type of fishing where you can use freshwater gear, especially in calm seas.

I’m always being asked by pool and river anglers going on holiday if they can take their usual tackle with them. Well, in certain situations and conditions you can get away with it. However, if you do decide to sea fish regularly then the right tools will be needed for the job. You can always pick up a cheap beachcaster and reel from any decent coastal tackle shop. An important point bear in mind though – always give it a good wash down in the shower after fishing. Sea water is highly corrosive.

At the airport and getting my face painted at Park Hall
At the airport and getting my face painted at Park Hall

Although for the followers of the ‘big’ teams, Champions League football doesn’t start until late summer, for the rest of us the action begins right now. Tuesday to be precise, in my case, as TNS entertained SP Tre Penne in the first qualifying round. The day before, I was at Birmingham Airport to meet the champions of San Marino as they touched touched down. I got on so well with them, by the time they boarded their coach we were doing selfies.

Matchday was great and I loved everything about it, not just the ninety minutes or so on the pitch but the whole package.  My season is already underway and this was the fifth game so far that I’ve been at. TV football is ok, but you can’t beat watching it live. As expected, Park Hall was very busy from a journalistic perspective, and in the press box we had BBC on one side and S4C on the other. TNS Radio went really well and we had numerous listeners from all around the world.

Post-match at Park Hall and in the Advertizer this week
Post-match at Park Hall and in the Advertizer this week

I arrived at the stadium nice and early as I love the atmosphere that surrounds these types of games. When you consider that a year ago I had never even been to a Champions League game, and now I’m a ‘veteran’ commentator of five matches, that’s quite a leap forward. You never know what’s around the corner and that’s pretty much the gist of an article that I’ve had published this week in the Oswestry Advertizer. I wrote a piece based on the recent trip to Scotland, where I even ended up having a kick-around with the team at one stage.

Back to the game on Tuesday though, and although TNS were 1/10 with the bookies, it was a lot closer than the odds suggested. Although we did win, it was with the narrowest of margins, as a slender lead of 2-1 is taken into San Marino next Tuesday. Post-game I interviewed manager, Craig Harrison, and making his competitive debut, Jon Routledge. These are now on TNS TV, and along with the other things I do at the club it’s always an enjoyable experience doing interviews. Fishing and football, not a bad life is it really. (Published July 2 2016)