There are many pegs that I could choose on a number of canals, but I nominate the centre of the winding hole on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union, above Cholmondeston Lock.
Angler's name: Alan Wright
Current club, team or sponsor: Long Eaton Federation
Age started fishing: six or seven
Favourite fishing bait: squatt
Greatest angling achievement: Division 1 National, 1973; Crewe & Nantwich Round Table Charity Match 1975 and Division 2 National, 2003.
Angling ambition: to keep enjoying it
Angling hero: Ivan Marks
"I have fished the peg on a few occasions and enjoyed good sport with skimmers and roach with bread punch being a banker."
I was brought up on the Shropshire Union, being born in Nantwich, and introduced to fishing by my Uncle Gomer (Jones). I won my first match, at Marsh Lane, in the Cheshire Cheese Annual match, at the age of 12, with a weight of 5oz. In those days most pubs in the town had a match and I was representing my Grandfather, who was a regular at the ‘Cheese. I used to cycle out to Cholmondeston with a group of school friends and fish from the field opposite the nominated peg (one of my friends had connections with the farmer).
On October 12 1975 I drew the centre of the winding hole in the 1200 peg Crewe and Nantwich Round Table charity match. The one hour 45 minute drive from my home in Long Eaton took me over the Trent at Cavendish Bridge at Shardlow (venue for a 250 peg match that day) and I wondered if I was doing the right thing; there had been the first hard frost of the year and driving conditions were poor. There was no dual carriageway to and through Stoke in those days.
I was pleased with my draw as, to my knowledge, although it had never framed in this annual event, I knew it had potential to win the 100 peg section. This was before the advent of the pole, and my approach was to use the swingtip; a 6ft ‘winklepicker’ rod with a fibreglass tip coupled with 1.1lb Bayer direct to a size 20 hook, weighted with a swan shot on a 4’’ link 10’’ above the hook. The hook bait was single red, home bred, gozzer fished over sparingly loose fed casters.
The frost had a severe effect and bites registered on the tip (tucked into the grass to protect it from the wind) were minute, some mere tremors of the tip, resulting in 13 fish; skimmers and roach to 10oz. for a weight of 3lb 11oz. I learned from the scales men that I had won my 100peg section. And, to my amazement, on returning to the HQ, all the usual hotspots had succumbed to the effects of the frost, so I had won the match. Second and third also coming from the same section.
I drove home £1,050 better off (enough to buy a brand new Vauxhall Viva at that time).
I have fished the peg on a few occasions since and enjoyed good sport with skimmers and roach with bread punch being a banker, there also some decent perch to be caught. My pleasure trips were on the, now defunct, Cheshire Anglers ticket, as I retained my membership through the Wyche Anglers until my Uncle Gomer died. I used to have a few days on the canal with him every year. It is now fishable on the Trust's Waterways Wanderers Permit.