Last Sunday I took the morning service in my home fellowship, Tipton Family Church, then on the evening I was on the road elsewhere in the Black Country. The church has a PowerPoint set-up for the notices, and following the more formal introduction as the speaker for the evening, there was an image of me with a carp, lifted from my website. I thought to myself, I’ll have to take a photograph of that, and that’s it below. Without doubt, regardless of all the different things I’m involved with – from faith to football – the one thing that stands out for most people is fishing.
Continuing with the letter ‘f’ though, feathered friends are also part of my varied interests. Although they’re not here in numbers now, I’m still seeing the occasional swift. The last to arrive and the first to leave, their visit to the UK is a short one indeed. Last year I saw a swift on September 3, which is the latest I’ve ever seen one. Back to the present though and I took my bird list for the year to 119 as I added stock dove. I’ve been hearing them on a regular basis, but until now, not seen any. My tick list is like my life, it ambles along, more of a marathon than a sprint.
If you’re a serious angler who wants to get out as much as you can, and time is limited, then short sessions are the order of the day. Although I’m fishing as much as ever, the nature of my outings has changed in the last couple of years. I used to do lots of overnighters and long day trips but now, if I had to fish even four hours minimum, then I would hardly go. Not that I’m complaining, of course, after all I’m working in the world of football. It’s just that I’ve re-worked my approach.
In the first session featured in the video, I spent a couple of hours on the canal up to dark. I lost count of the perch that I caught – nothing big, but great fun. I also had a roach as well. Fishing with a worm on a size 10 hook over red maggots, I was deliberately setting my stall out for something decent. Even then you can’t eliminate smaller fish totally. Perch are greedy at the best of times, and especially so in summer when the higher water temperatures see them competing even more with each other. Although I do like catching big perch – they are indeed majestic creatures – I’m more than happy with whatever comes along.
Session two also features in the video, and although I stayed on the same canal, I headed for a different section. As I mention in the video, I find that different areas of the canal have a particular dominant species. In outing one it was perch, this time round it’s chub that usually show in numbers. When I do catch perch they tend to be of a higher average size and that was confirmed by the first one that I banked. The next two though were much smaller and with just one chevin in the net it was a slower outing all round as far as quantity was concerned.
Just before I left the house, there was a feature on local news about wildlife killings as a result of anglers discarding line. Although some line can be lost accidentally, you simply cannot ignore the fact that there are those who don’t care. It’s not just an angling problem, of course, they are the same people who dump sofas and fridges in beauty spots. As I made my way to the canal on this session I passed two anglers, and just by looking at them, it didn’t surprise me on the way back to find discarded meat and corn tins, empty tackle packets and food and drink wrappers.
Back out for the third evening on the bounce, it was another two-hour session. Again, a quiver tip rod with 6lb line straight through to a size 10 hook and 1/3 ounce free-running lead was the simple set-up. The hook-length was created by nipping a shot about six inches above the hook, and worm fished over red maggots completed the approach. Lots of smaller (under 8oz) perch were banked, with one fish going much bigger. The best fish though was a decent ruffe, that I was more than happy to catch. I love the mini-species and if you follow my blog regularly then you’ll know that I actually target them. In fact that’s what I did in the very next outing.
Although I tend to be very focused when I’m fishing, in terms of species, method and venue I’ve always got one eye on the bigger picture. So, for example, when I’m on the canal perch fishing and I catch a few ruffe over a period of time, I will then return and target them. Of course it is difficult, even impossible, to eliminate other fish when you’ve got a worm or a maggot on the hook. However, with no such thing as a nuisance fish in my book, that’s not a problem at all.
The section I fished has thrown up some really good ruffe this year for me and this time round was no exception. There is a distinctive take that registers on the rod tip, it’s like so many fish when they take an interest in your bait, you know what the species is before you even strike. Ruffe are great aren’t they? Not sure how many anglers go for them specifically though and get excited when they bank one. Not that I would do something just to be different, but I definitely get a buzz from them. And, regardless of what we do, isn’t that what angling is all about really?
My final outing was with my ‘pen’ rod set-up that featured in last week’s video. I need to do a video that features it properly, so as they say, watch this space. This time it had an outing as I made my way to TNS. One of the things I don’t want to do when my car is parked there for a prolonged period of time, is to have fishing gear on display. The mini-rod is perfect. On the Montgomery Canal for an hour, I had a number of twitches but no serious takers for the big, juicy worm. In fairness though, the boat traffic was pretty busy, so that’s my excuse for blanking.
I went to my 15th game of the season this week as the champions of Wales visited their English counterparts. Yes, we travelled to Leicester City for the final TNS pre-season friendly. It was a decent game, and against a good side, The New Saints put in a very solid performance. It was a very late goal that gave Leicester a 2-1 victory, so plenty of positives to take into the new season which is just around the corner. In fact, depending on when you are reading this, it may well have started already. This week my FA Wales WPL media accreditation pass arrived. The journey has been amazing and I’m into my third season now of Welsh football involvement.
One of the roles I have at TNS, as you can see from the pass, is doing the club radio. That involves presenting and commentary and it’s something that I enjoy very much. That’s the key really, enjoying it. When I went to Leicester, as I went via Park Hall, it meant rising at 6.00 am and getting back at 8.00 pm. If you don’t have a passion for what you do then it very quickly becomes a burden. By the way, you can listen to TNS Radio via the club website, so why not tune in for a game this coming season? All you need is an internet connection and if you want a shout-out, just let me know. And talking of connecting, my personal Facebook account is below, feel free to send me a friend request. (Published August 13 2016)
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