During the mid-1980s, under Harry Moulton’s captaincy, the Mohmar match group was formed. It’s fair to conclude that they would feature in most people's list of one of the best-ever canal oriented match teams.
Rarely did I ever manage to come close to beating a Mohmar squad member off the next peg. If I had ever drawn next to Ian Moulton I would have been well advised to sit behind him and pick up a few top tips.
The following anglers represented the Mohmar team at various times:
Harry Moulton, Ian Moulton, Andy Billington, Simon Preece, Russ Mee, Steve Morris, Geoff Warrilow, Paul Gibson, Jeff Moors, Andy Moors, Jim Keeling, Alan Arundel, Alan Brammer, Peter Price, Ted Stanley, Andy Locker, Russ Dowding, Tony Barker, Sam Wildsmith, Andy Wildsmith, John Barlow, Paul Spenser, Dave Pickering, Chris Tudor, Alan Cornwell Derek Robertson, Neil Davies, Simon Keeling, Fred Latham and Steve Amison.
Is there is anyone that we have missed? Please do let us know.
The 1992 Division 4 National was held on the Witham. Bloodworm was banned, but joker wasn’t. Armed with ample joker for feed and as hookbait, the Milo Mohmar team stormed to victory by 114 points, miles clear of Team Ossett who themselves recently achieved national glory by winning the Division Two National in 2017 to add to their 1991 Division 5 success.
Mohmar scored around 91% of the maximum possible point score that day. That is the equivalent of every angler featuring in the top ten in his 80-peg section, a remarkable achievement and a record for the division at the time. Mohmar went on to reach the top division in 1995 after successive promotions through the divisions. Sadly, by 1998 anglers had move on and the team was wound up.
Ian, often known as Fozzie due to his curly hair and possible resemblance to a character on an American children’s TV show can barely recall his father’s role in Wyche Anglers 1976 national success when they finished runners up to the mighty BAA. Not that long later, aged just 14, young Ian shot to national fame when he took the highest weight in the final of the 1984 Silstar Pole Championship. The official record books show that ABC’s Richard Borley, later to be part of the 1985 national winning team was the official champion.
What happened was that England team manager Roy Jeffery had approached the event organiser, John Lynch, with a view to allowing some promising youngsters an opportunity to fish against the best pole anglers under match conditions. Ian was one of those promising youngsters. His tactics that day were based on a bloodworm and caster with seven metres of line between the top of his 10-metre pole and hook. As Ian had not qualified through the heats, he was never declared champion nor did he pick up any winnings for his trouble. But in the minds of most anglers, he was the true winner of that match.
Roy Jeffery had certainly spotted a winner. The following year Ian was a shoe-in for the England team in the inaugural world junior championships held in Belgium. Back then the event was, like the Olympics, held every four years. A young Stuart Conroy was also in the team and admitted ‘the Belgians were years ahead of us in their knowledge of bloodworm and joker fishing. England trailed in sixth but both Ian and Stuart gleaned a vast amount of knowledge from the experience that was to reap future dividends.
In 1989, Ian again lined up for England in the World junior championships held on the River Inny in Ireland. He was part of the gold medal winning team that also included Stuart Conroy, Mike Poulton, Chris Mayer and Andy Kinder with Kevin Pargitter selected as reserve. Stuart Conroy who went on the represent England on more than 20 occasions in European and World championships says of Ian ‘I looked up to him, he was without doubt a better and more naturally talented angler than I ever was. If he had persevered, he definitely would have represented his nation numerous times at senior level’.
Although he manged home international appearances, Ian was never selected for the World or European championship team. Stuart went on to add ‘not only was he a class act on the canals circuit he won big matches on rivers too and was much more of an all-round angler than people give him credit for.’
Ian’s favourite bait is bloodworm and joker. There can barely be a farmer’s pond within a 30-mile radius of Nantwich which he has not visited on at least once occasion to suss its potential as a bloodworm source. Unlike the young Simon Mottram’s narrow escape Ian never had any near misses when collecting the magic bait but was certainly aware that bloodworm scraping is not without its risk.
The young Motty, a product of the Grindley Brook club was also a big admirer of Fozzie’s angling ability and recalls ‘Ian was ahead of his time for sure. Being very single minded he would usually fish for small fish on joker for the full five hours without wasting time on other baits. He was so hard to beat off the next peg. His bait presentation was awesome and with fantastic eyesight he would fish with his float tip just under the water at times’.
As we finished of our final beer, I set Ian the challenge of picking and captaining his team of top ten bloodworm and joker anglers that he had regularly fished with and against during his match fishing career. This was the team he came up with:
Sadly, Ian’s not currently active on the match scene. While I sense that a match fishing return probably isn’t imminent, I somehow feel that it’s unlikely canal fishing has seen the last of him just yet. For love of canal fishing and canals is embedded deeply in the Moulton family’s DNA.
Indeed, Ian’s hobbies these days include cycling the canal network. He finds it a great way to keep fit and healthy while enjoying the countryside and gets out to a towpath most weekends. One things for sure, when Ian encounters anglers, he will appreciate more than most the need for cyclists to slow down or dismount in the spirit of Share the Space.
The team undertake a diverse range of work including looking after the Trust's £40 million worth of fish stocks, managing agreements with over 250 different angling clubs and helping more people, especially youngsters, take up angling on the canal. Follow this blog to keep updated with the thoughts and work of the team.See more blogs from this author