SPORTING KHALSA, WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE, ROACH, PERCH, RUFFE, GORNAL ATHLETIC, CARDIFF MET (Blog entry 686)

With no football commitment of my own on the Saturday, I decided to go and watch Sporting Khalsa take on Lye Town. My 20th game of the season, I’m well on target for the 100 that I would like to achieve. You can’t beat live football, as in being there in person, and although I do watch a lot of it on TV, it’s always second-best. In fact just before heading to the match I tuned in to Wrexham on the box as Kai Edwards was playing. He was previously at TNS, and if you follow my blog, and have a good memory, you’ll know I took him on his very first fishing session earlier in the year.

I’ve done a number of sessions in recent weeks on the secret brook I ‘discovered’ earlier in the year. Every one though has been when it was running low and clear. Therefore, with some heavy rain in the catchment area, I was keen to give it a go in different conditions. I knew where I would fish, and as it is a slack area anyway, I knew that would be the case this time round. Upon arrival it was indeed a classic Mr. Crabtree eddy swim. I fished as normal, a 3g free-running lead but two red maggots this time on a size 14 hook, instead of a worm.

Fishing with Kai and a very wet brook session
Fishing with Kai and a very wet brook session

I banked two roach pushing half a pound each, plus I pulled out of a couple more, before a smaller fish completed the catch and the swim went dead. It’s so tiny that any given peg will not sustain much attention. The next outing and it was back on the worm and back on the canal. This is the session featured in the accompanying video. I lost count of the perch that I caught and I only had two other species – a nice ruffe and a chub that was probably just under 2lb. The session was really short but that’s pretty much where my angling is these days. As long as I can get out though, I’m happy.

My rig on the canal was really simple,  with 6lb line straight through to the hook, which was a size 10 Drennan Super Specialist. Fishing with a 1/3 ounce lead, you still need a hooklength of course, and that was created by nipping on a small shot and adding an 8mm bead. Fishing a worm over red maggots, everything from the rig through to the bait and the general approach was simplicity in itself. That’s how I always approach my angling, keeping it as straightforward as possible. Certainly to begin with anyway, any tinkering can be done later, if required.

A ruffe and a perch from the canal
A ruffe and a perch from the canal

Then it was back to football, with my favourite Welsh Premier League game up first. The New Saints v Rhyl is always the one I look forward to whenever the fixtures are released. I have a love for the Denbighshire coastal town that goes back to the 1960’s and our annual family vacation. Even now, I still visit the area regularly with my wife as we take advantage of cheap, out-of-season caravan offers. As a football fan, it’s only natural that my attachment to the town, courtesy of memories, should include Rhyl FC. Or Clwb Pel Droed Y Rhyl, in Welsh.

Of course, my involvement with TNS goes without saying, and that came about initially when I caught the vision for watching Welsh football. As a fan I didn’t want to just see it on TV, I wanted to be there at games. Park Hall is the closest ground to where I live, so I started travelling there to watch matches. Then I got involved and the rest, as they say, is history. This was my sixth game between the two sides and with a scoreline of 10-0 to TNS, it was very much a one-sided affair.

TNS v Rhyl with Chairman Mike Harris on TNS Radio and the matchday programme
TNS v Rhyl with Chairman Mike Harris on TNS Radio and the matchday programme

The next day it was still football, this time however more local, as I went to watch the Gornal Athletic v Dudley Town, Bank Holiday, Black Country derby. It was a glorious day in the sunshine, as I sat on the concrete terracing at Garden Walk. Both teams were at the wrong end of the table, and with a convincing 5-0 on-the-road victory for Dudley, that remained the case afterwards as Gornal stayed bottom, still to pick up their first point of the season. There was a funny moment right at the start of the game, which for me sums up typical Black Country humour.

There was a minute silence (not sure who it was for) and as it ended I became aware of someone some yards away shouting in my direction. I didn’t really pay much attention as I thought it must have been addressed to someone else, after all I was just there as an anonymous spectator. It was only some moments later when I realised what he had shouted, in reference to the silence. ‘Was that for the Rhyl manager? Has he died?’. Very funny and very sharp.

The Bank Holiday, Black Country, Gornal v Dudley derby
The Bank Holiday, Black Country, Gornal v Dudley derby

The next fishing session saw me up with the alarm clock at 5.00 am, still an hour from light. Although it was in August, albeit just, the days are getting much shorter now. On the canal with the same set-up that you can see in the video, I was in a different spot. Next to a lock, I was into fish from the off. I had a few nice perch as well as a decent ruffe and a small chub. My intention was to fish until the first boat came through, which in this instance was an hour and a half after casting out.

And talking of ninety minutes, after going home and getting changed I was then on my way to a Welsh Premier League game in Cardiff, via Park Hall. In fact, I’m writing this part of the blog entry on the TNS team bus as we head down south. Travelling through rural Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, the height of the coach is giving me some wonderful views of brooks, streams and small rivers. When you’re an angler, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, you always pick up on water.

Interviewing Wes, with Cortez on radio and a final session perch
Interviewing Wes, with Cortez on radio and a final session perch

The journey is one I do quite often and one of the highlights is spotting red kite. With the day being still, sunny and just the odd cumulus cloud in the sky, the conditions were perfect. I saw quite a few, especially passing through Rhayader, where you’re in the middle of red kite country. Stopping off at a hotel just outside the capital, for an extended break, it was the perfect opportunity to interview our latest new signing, Wes Fletcher. At Motherwell last season, he’s also played for Burnley, but it will be at York City where he is most remembered, as he scored a few goals along the way.

You can listen to the interview on the latest TNS Radio Football Show, otherwise known as our weekly podcast. It’s episode 53, why not check it out via the club’s website. It was also great to meet up with Welsh football legend, Cortez Belle, again at the match. If ever you fancy attending a fixture at Park Hall, let me know. I’ll make sure we give you a friendly welcome and especially if you have children, we will arrange for photos and autographs after the game. Feel free to contact me and we can sort something. Finally, this is the 686th consecutive Saturday that I have uploaded a blog entry, It’s still never a burden, always a pleasure, just like life itself should be. (Published September 3 2016)