Picking just one favourite peg is not as easy a task as it seems. There are several pegs I like around Wombourne on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, but I have decided that my all time favourite is peg 91 at Penkridge.
Angler's name: Steve Broome
Current club, team or sponsor: Maver Midlands
Age started fishing: six
Favourite fish species: perch and bream, I could not choose
Favourite fishing bait: caster
Greatest angling achievement: winning the Angling Trust Individual National in 2010
Angling ambition: to win a national again, perhaps even the 2017 Division One event
Angling hero: Frank Barlow for his presence and banter. I loved reading his weekly column in 'Anglers Mail'. He was a good all-round river and canal angler too
"It was perhaps my proudest fishing day ever when I picked up my winner's medal."
I plumped for this one because it’s the very peg where I won the Angling Trust Individual National back in 2010 with a weight of 11kgs 610 grams of chub, perch, bream, roach plus a stray koi carp.
You need a special peg and a little slice of luck to win a prestige match like this, when you’re up against many of the UK’s top canal anglers. Most of the best canal pegs need some sort of fish-holding habitat on the offside, and this peg featured a large tree hanging in the water. The peg was only actually around eight metres wide due to this wonderful offside feature. It also meant boats could only pass through one at a time, leading to less offside disturbance.
The pound is actually quite a short one between two locks with plenty of boat traffic in the peak season, so you do get a lot of undulation in the flow. To counteract this, I opted to set up two rigs; a very heavy float, 2g weighed down with an olivette with a 14 hook and 12 elastic. I also set up a lighter rig of just under a gram with lighter line, thinner elastic and smaller hook. As it turned out it was the latter rig that proved the successful one on the day, especially when there was a lull in the flow as the bait presentation was spot on during these times.
On that day, my choice of hookbait was worm and caster just upstream of the bush, and hemp and cast just downstream of it. For in the individual national, there is no need to get your head down and fish for good team points. The objective was simple, to win the match.
The towpath was overgrown and obstructed my view along the canal. Consequently I had no idea what anyone else was catching around me. From the moment I arrived at that swim I was convinced that I was in with a genuine chance of winning the big national title, providing I stuck to my favourite caster fishing method.
I reckoned one of the chief dangers would have been Richie Reynolds, who was pegged in another favoured area which is a prolific section for chub. The other area I felt the winner might emerge from was the stump above the Cross Keys stretch. The maestro Paul Turner had drawn in that area. Unfortunately for Paul, but luckily for me, the peg had been hammered with lots of practicing anglers fishing it in the lead up to the match.
On route back to the Stafford headquarters I learnt that I had won, with Ritchie Reynolds a very close second. Thankfully the loss of a koi carp right near the end of the match had not cost me the coveted title. It was perhaps my proudest fishing day ever when I picked up my winner's medal and the Angling Trust individual national trophy.
I revisited my favourite peg recently and unfortunately it has had something of a makeover with the tree having been cut back, possibly to allow two boats to pass through. However, I guess the tree will eventually grow back again and even now I would not be at all unhappy to once again draw my favourite peg in a match.
My favourite peg is Located between Lock 40 (Park Gate Lock) to 41 (Shutt Hill Lock), Teddesley Park is opposite. You can park on the grass verge on the roadside for free, ST19 5RH.
The fishing rights are controlled by Wolverhampton AA Waters
Permits for fishing on the waters are priced at:
Children under 16 fish for FREE (annual membership)
1 Day Permit – £2.50
Permits can be purchased at the following locations:
Day Permits are also available from the Bridge Inn Pub in Brewood and the Caravan Park in Brewood also from bailiff and match secretary Arthur Shaw (01922 413491).
The association’s website is wolverhamptonaa.co.uk