David Couzens: Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
I've lived in London for most of my life and this is where I fell in love with fishing canals. The first canal I ever fished was the Regent's Canal in Islington, which was near to where I lived in North London.
Angler's name: David Couzens
Current club, team or sponsor: Merthyr Tydfil Angling Club
Age started fishing: nine
Favourite fish species: roach
Favourite fishing bait: bread
Greatest angling achievement: becoming a qualified angling coach. Teaching someone to fish and seeing their faces when they catch their first fish is something that I could do forever.
Angling ambition: that God will continue to practice, catch and release with me
Angling hero: the Barnsley Blacks great Tommy Pickering. His book, ‘My way with the Pole’’ helped me in my early days to win matches
"Not only has the fishing improved in leaps and bounds, the scenery is awesome too."
Growing up in the big city
The first canal I ever fished was the Regent's Canal in Islington which was near to where I lived in North London. I first started fishing that canal when I was about nine years old. We would catch roach and perch and my memories were very similar to those of Michael Nadell who fished the nearby Hertford Union as a boy
Breaking the rules
My favourite fish species has to be the roach which also happens to love bread. Bread is without doubt my number one canal bait and it’s also good for attracting dace and chub.
There is only one canal for me which these days is full of quality fish and that canal is the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in South Wales. Not only has the fishing improved in leaps and bounds, the scenery is awesome too. It’s probably against the rules but who cares - I am going to mention my two favourite pegs.
Brynich Lock upstream
My first choice of favourite peg is at Bynich Lock. You need to follow the A40 leaving Brecon going to Llangorse, take the slip road to Pencelli and go left again at the junction. Parking is on the left once you have mounted the kerb (parking for eight to ten cars). Walk down to the lock and take the right hand gate, as there are no peg numbers walk along 300 mtrs which is my favourite spot: Grid Ref: 0755 2727 .
Avoiding the boat traffic
In the main navigation period there is a lot of boat traffic roughly between 10am - 4pm so I get there early, typically arriving at about 5am and fishing till 11am. I find the fishing at its best from the end of April to the first week of October.
As the canal is not very wide, I like to fish with a four metre whip close in just the other side of my keep net or down the central channel. If you chose to fish the far bank you would not need more than eight metres of pole.
As I mentioned previously I fish mainly with bread on the hook. One medium sized loaf is all you need for a good days fishing. I liquidise most of the loaf saving several slices for hook bait. My best weight earlier this year from this peg was over 17lb (fishing light).
Equal favourite peg near Llanfrynach
The other peg I like to fish is also not far from Brynich. Instead of parking, drive straight over the River Usk bridge and continue for about two miles. You do not have to drive as far as the village of Llanfrynach. The next bridge you will come to is bridge No 158, as you cross the bridge parking for six cars is immediately on the right. Go through the gate on the left and carry straight on past the launching area (do not block it). On the other bank you will see a house, fish just past it. The grid reference isSO0846 2580.
My average weight on bread ranges between 7 and 11lb. As well as roach you can pick up the occasional bonus chub too
Permits are available locally from Edwards News Agent, the Watton Brecon see Merthyr website.
Season permits are also available from the association. Llanfrynach village has a good hostelry called the Swan. The town of Brecon, however, has much to offer in the way of shopping and eating places. The best place for tackle and advice is Fish Tec 6, Ffrwdfrech Industrial Estate, Brecon LD3 8LA Phone: 0871 911 7001.