This stretch in Gilwern that we were going to fish is just behind my parents house and the one where I grew up fishing and won my first match. It holds a lot of happy memories and now controlled by Cwmcelyn AC. I'd been meaning to give it a go for a while, as it is reportidly full of fish despite not really match fished anymore.
Because I had my daughters to take, Sunday morning was spent making up some canal rigs and preparing my bait. We got down to the canal at around 12.30 and I picked a peg not far from where I won my first ever match back in 1987 which then was the first annual Carrington Cup.
My plan today was basic but focussed, it wasnt a serious session as I had my two girls and my young nephew all eager to have a go and catch their first fish. I'd set up two rigs, one for the bread punch which was an old jolly float on 0.10 main line and 0.08 hook length with a size 20 B511.
The second rig was one that won me a lot of money back in the day and still does some damage now for bonus canal fish. Althogh whether I would get to fish it or not due to the kids wanting ago would remain to be seen!
Bait wise, I had prepped my special punch mix with some steamed slices of Braces for the hook. I also had half a pint of maggot incase it was a bit hard and I needed a trump card to catch the younger ones a few fish!
When I started I cupped in a fair size ball of my groundbait mixabout 3/4 of the way accross and went over it with a 5mm punch of bread. I think it was 3rd trot through and the float buried and a nice 3oz Roach was in the net. The children were mesmorised as I think in about 30 chucks I came back with probably 20 Roach all around the 4-6oz range. That was my fun over with then as they were all desperate to sit on my box and have a go!! My eldest girl went first and took to it well once I'd convinced her the rig was better off in the water and not up in the air! After a bit of coaching though she was holding the pole well and striking at bites and was proud as punch when she mounted up 5 Roach before it was time for my next pupil! My youngest girl was next on the box and as she is only 7 took a bit more helping out. She did it though, and had good paitience to catch 2 Roach and then handed the seat over to my 6 year old nephew.
He was probably the keenest of them all to catch a fish and he did, although it was funny as on his first bite we struck, hooked the fish but my Z12 was glued to his hands like concrete and he didnt want to ship it back! We did get it in, and another funny moment follwed on his next fish. Id put a maggot on at this point as bites were tailing off and I didnt want them to lose concentration. A Perch was his second fish and when we got it in I was explaining to him about the spines and that Perch had small teeth and he jumped off the box and run up the towpath screaming!!!
I didn't get to fish as much as i'd have liked due to the children taking over the hotseat on my box but we finished up with around 6-7lb of lovely Canal fish. More importantly though, all three of the children had caught thier first fish and were beaming with pride.
Being a match angler in this day and age isn't easy, its a selfish sport that envolves a lot of travelling and days away from the family sometime with little reward. However days like today take you back to earth and remind you why it is we go fishing and how impotant it is to get young children interested into our fantastic sport.
Selection of photos below