Alex Clegg: River Weaver, Vale Royal Arches
For me, what makes a favourite peg are those unique, personal qualities you simply can’t get from another spot. A certain energy which really makes that little piece of towpath or riverbank special.
Anglers Name: Alex Clegg
Current club, team or sponsor: Wigan Match Group
How old were you when you started fishing? 5 years old
Which was the first canal you ever fished? Trent & Mersey Canal at Whatcroft, Cheshire
Which is your favourite species of fish? Whatever I have in front of me.
If you had to choose just one, which would be your favourite fishing bait? Worms. There’s not a fish out there that doesn’t love them.
What do you consider your greatest fisheries or angling achievement? Catching a dace just 3 ounces shy of the British record. I also came close to breaking the Weaver match record with 76lb of bream and skimmers back in 2015, when it stood at 78lb. It’s been broken several times since however – now standing at an eye-watering 118lb.
What is your remaining biggest single ambition in fisheries/angling? To keep my fishing as diverse and enjoyable as possible!
Who is your all time fisheries or angling hero and why? There’s plenty to choose from, but it would have to be my Dad. He might not get out much these days, but he’s still a brilliant angler and comfortable with any discipline or venue. Both he and my grandad (another hero) were experts with wasp grub on our local River Dane back in the day, and I’m sure he could still teach me a thing or two about that bait. I’ll leave digging up those nests to him though!
My Favourite Peg – River Weaver, Vale Royal Arches
Just what makes a favourite peg? Like many others, I’m sure I could name dozens of pegs across our rivers and canals that would guarantee a great days fishing. Sure, there are places where any decent angler could turn up and catch a netful, but I’d hardly call one of these my favourite.
For me, what makes a favourite peg are those unique, personal qualities you simply can’t get from another spot. A certain energy which really makes that little piece of towpath or riverbank special. It might be something evocative; perhaps the scene of a glorious match win or specimen fish.
It might equally be captured in the natural beauty of the landscape itself, and the sense of wellbeing offered by that setting in particular. Whatever the case, I’d like to think every angler has at least some of form of unforgettable, fishing-related stuff permanently etched into their minds. The fact is it all happened somewhere, and if that doesn’t make a peg special, I don’t know what does.
That being said, it’s still nice to get a few bites too. On this basis, I’ve chosen permanent peg 380 on the River Weaver, just above the famous Dredger length, and below Vale Royal Arches. With luscious overhangs, a steep bank, and shallow water close in, this has got to be one of the most inviting pegs on the river.
I love it here not just for the experiences I’ve had over the years, but for the feeling you get on every visit. There aren’t many places I’ve been to which inspire confidence like it. It just looks so fishy – you can’t help but think I’ve got to catch something here!
Aquarium of the Weaver
Much more a deep canal than flowing river, it’s pretty rare to catch proper ‘river’ species on this, navigable part of the Weaver. But with unusually shallow depths and plenty of cover, peg 380 and its neighbours always seem to throw up an eclectic mix of fish.
Even in winter, I’ve caught nets containing everything from the usual roach, perch, and skimmers, right through to dace and tench. I’ve seen some good chub caught. I’ve even heard tales of a guy catching two barbel in a match once. With this kind of variety, it’s hard not to get excited every time your float goes under. You simply never know what you’ll hook into next!
I’ve drawn here countless times in matches, but the one which sticks most in my mind was a round of the Northwich Winter League, where I was lucky enough to fend off 40 others for one of my first proper match wins. On that cold Sunday in January, I caught a little over 17lb – made up of three big bream and some smaller skimmers.
The river had a nice tinge of colour with a slight pull that day, and I caught all my fish by dropping a tiny feeder just short of middle, where the flow was best. I was particularly proud of this achievement, since I’d ignored the advice of someone from the draw, stuck to my guns and approached the peg in my own way. It was an amazing feeling to know I’d got it right.
The team had a fantastic day on this occasion too, and thanks to a last-minute decision to enter the super pool, we all went home with good money to boot.
Fishing on the Weaver from Moulton down to Barnton is controlled largely by Northwich Anglers Association, a great value club who have stacks of river, canal, and stillwater fishing to offer. Both full memberships and day tickets can be purchased online or through the local tackle shops. A visit to Vale Royal Angling Centre goes highly recommended for top quality bait and advice before a session.