One of the positive changes in our sport is the recent emergence of dozens of girls with a passion for fishing. Who knows, if some of them continue to progress, the established internationals in the current England ladies’ team might have to start looking over their shoulders in years to come. One young girl who has shown potential to perform on the national stage is 11-year-old Penny Prinold from the Port Sunlight Angling Club (PSAC). This is her story brought to us by young Penny herself.
My first Fish
I first started fishing a couple of years ago when my dad took me to one of the Port Sunlight waters, called Clover. It rained all day, and I caught a few roach and gudgeon and I was seriously cold and wet by the time we got home. It didn't put me off though. Our next few outings were along the Shropshire Union Canal, with mixed results for an invasive non-native species of floating weed, floating pennywort, had covered quite a chunk of the surface area of the canal and this made fishing difficult. Me and my dad landed small perch, gudgeon and roach.
The next time we went to fishing was to Nantwich at a Let's Fish! event. I fished with coach Eric Brown, who was great with me, amongst other things teaching me tips on how to fish with chopped worm on the inside line. I caught plenty of skimmers, roach and perch and lost two decent fish. This was good practice for my first National Celebration of Young People and Fishing match taking place on the third weekend of September.
I was looking forward to seeing the online draw and watched it enthusiastically along with my dad, both of us wondering what number fishing peg would be allocated to me. As it turned out, I drew peg 46 near Shebdon village. My Dad said he used to fish this stretch as a child and reassured me that I had a chance of a good net of fish. I really enjoyed the run up to match day, especially the night before where me and my dad mixed the groundbait and got my rigs and elastic ready for the following day.
The morning was a bit of a blur, with my dad more nervous than me. I remember my dad talking about fishing all the way there. When we finally arrived at Galbraith's field, having negotiated the narrow tree lined lanes, Mark Parry from PSAC was there to give me some squatts and redworm. I was representing the Port Sunlight Lux team.
The day went well. I started off catching lots of little fish including a mug securing gudgeon on the inside line (you can only fish a maximum of three metres out from the bank for the first 90 minutes) and then moved out to the middle not long after the initial 90 minutes was up. I fished here using redworm and banked a few better perch. These perch along with the silvers caught early on helped me weigh in 1.25kg. This was enough to put me 11th in the cadets' group (one place away from a trophy though) out of over 70 participants and tied with fellow club member Luca Candlin. Both Luca and I were invited back to fish in different team at the Let's Fish! end of year event at the end of October. I finished around half-way in my 8-peg section weighing around 400g and enjoyed the occasion, despite the autumnal conditions.
In my second year of fishing, I feel I have improved my fishing skills. I've learned how to feed properly and be more patient whilst waiting for bites. My match results have also improved. I couldn't wait for the National Celebration to come around again. I drew peg 47 near Park Heath bridge just two pegs away from another girl the same age as me, Lottie Clarke. I was delighted to catch my first ever eel and registered a total weight of 1.5kg, placing me in the top 25 out of over 180 at my first attempt in the junior category (ages 11 to 15). I also got the chance of a photo with one of my angling role models, Kayleigh Dowd who was the special guest presenting the prizes.
Commonwealth games call up
During the big day, I briefly saw John Ellis pass behind me, stopping for maybe a couple of minutes and jotting down something in his notebook. I must have made a good enough impression to get the nod, then got the news that I was picked to fish in the English Communities Girls Red team in the Commonwealth Games Communities Celebration. The team consisted of myself, captain Lottie Clark from the Northampton Nene club and Kacie Chadwick from the successful Ramsbottom club.
We all fished amazingly well and managed a combined weight of over 4kg between us. Kacie scored 46 out of 51, captain Lottie scored 41 points and I chipped in with a solid 36 points. All three of us were in the top third overall. It was amazing just how well some of the inexperienced teams had done, such as the Kenyans and Grenadians. As the results continued to be read out, it was announced the all-boys English Communities north team had a total of 122 points, but we had amassed 123 points which was just enough, by a solitary point, to take the gold medal place
I really enjoy pleasure fishing with my dad and my sister, but also enjoy the competitive nature of match fishing and the atmosphere of the big occasion where there are literally hundreds of people in attendance when you add up the number of kids, parents, stewards, and coaches involved. There is something of a special buzz about the whole occasion. I hope this year I can maybe break into the top ten in the National Celebration and who knows, hopefully Kacie, Lottie and I will have the chance to defend our title in the National Global Communities Celebration. That's assuming that I am selected of course; for with attendances increasing all the time, it's best not to count your chickens.
If you have an interest, enjoy fishing, live on the Wirral or in Cheshire West and would like to be a part of the Port Sunlight Angling club team and fish alongside Penny and her friends, email [email protected] for more information.
Last Edited: 15 February 2023
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