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June – July Newsletter

Aug 17, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

June July 2016

Please follow links for the latest newsletter

National Fishing Month – Photos

Aug 10, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

This Gallery is a small snapshot of our National Fishing Month Day today Wednesday 10 Aug

Another event held on Cyfarthfa Park Lake on Wednesday 17th August, a lovely day and all of the children and adults who attended caught fish and were advised on how to catch fish and the equipment they were using.

National Fishing Month – Press Release

Aug 9, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments


Go for your own ‘Olympic Gold’ during National Fishing Month

Angling is still searching for its position in the mainstream sports arenas. Although it is a participatory sport, hugely popular on a world-wide basis and practised in virtually every country, general acceptance by those that follow sports is largely absent. There are no Olympic angling medals at stake in Rio.

There are a variety of reasons why this is the case, most of them related to a lack of understanding about the sport and what makes anglers ‘tick’. In a competitive framework, there is not the direct or indirect contact between participants that occurs with bat or ball sports; competitive angling pits the competitors against the course – a river, lake, canal or the sea – although this is also true of other outdoor Olympic sports as diverse as golf, archery, rowing and marathon running.
For casual spectators, angling is difficult to understand or follow because the degree of success is rarely visible. In golf, one can see how close to the hole the ball lands, whereas in angling, fish are usually invisible until captured. This ‘all or nothing’ outcome can be dismissed as mere luck by the uninformed, yet – consistently – the same top match anglers win national, European and World competitions. Skill is a requisite of good anglers.
Within the sport there has been speculation that some of the niche competitive activities, such as distance casting, could form the basis for entertaining televisual coverage. Moreover, there are a growing number of angling-related programmes which focus on contrived competitions between small numbers of people or ‘man against monster fish’ contests, usually in dramatic or picturesque surroundings around the world.
Although some of these programmes have elicited a range of responses from anglers, there is no doubt that they have raised the sport’s profile and inspired non-anglers to try the sport for the first time or to consider doing so. There is no shortage of opportunities for would-be anglers to get started and to maintain their participation to competition levels if they wish – through school fishing projects and the Angling Trust’s Talent Pathway, for example.
Development costs money but, despite its popularity, angling has struggled historically to attract major sponsors or lucrative advertising support. More than 4 million people fish in the UK, an audience sufficiently large to attract serious interest by any business selling goods and services.The first step to making this a reality is for forward-thinking leaders within angling and from the corporate world to foster relationships that can develop into partnerships of huge mutual benefit. As a general rule, anglers are do-it-yourselfers, and DIY chains, insurance companies and car manufacturers have started to explore giving their support to fishing.
It is a major advantage that angling is so broadly-based, with few boundaries. There are no barriers raised by age, gender, race, social class or physical ability, and an angling session can last for as little as an hour or as long as several weeks. Anglers can fish competitively, seek specimen-sized fish or merely to catch whatever fish happen to come along. Many anglers are accompanied by family or friends, while others choose to fish alone.

This is where initiatives like National Fishing Month can help. Created over 20 years ago by the Angling Trades Association and now supported by partners such as the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency, the Canal and River Trust, Angling Cymru and the Professional Anglers Association, National Fishing Month provides an annual focus on fishing activities where anyone of any age can have a go at hundreds of NFM events across the UK.
If you don’t fish right now, there is still time to give it a chance by booking a place at an event near you through It could lead to a life-long passion that is as rewarding as any Olympic Gold medal.


National Fishing Month 2016 runs between 22nd July and 29th August.

Blue Winged Olive – on the River Taff

Aug 2, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Airflo and Fishtec online marketing manager Ceri Thomas looks at how to make the most of the blue winged olive spinner fall, an important summer time hatch on the river Taff.

Mid and late summer mark some of the best late evening fishing of the year, when after hatching blue winged olive’s return to the water and lay their eggs. Spent and dying after this reproductive process, the ‘spinner’ stage of this insect becomes trapped in the surface film making them easy prey for river trout.

The Merthyr Tydfil angling association stretch of the Taff has a prolific hatch of blue winged olives through the summer months, and this year it’s been terrific.

Imitating this hatch when the fish are ‘locked in’ requires a very specific type of fly, with the correct wing profile and silhouette. Your flies must sit flat in the surface film, or they will be ignored or refused. Get it right though, and the sport can be spectacular.

The best spinner fly imitations are very simple in design, and tend to have splayed wings at right angles to the body, therefore allowing the flies to sit ‘just right’ in surface film, perfectly imitating the spent insect. Poly yarn, deer hair and CDC can all be used to make buoyant spinner wings. Patterns such as the rusty spinner, sherry spinner and KJ red spinner will all work well on the Taff. You can see a video on how to make the KJ red spinner on the Fishtec blog here:

With the correct flies in your box, you now stand a far better chance of some great sport; however it’s not always a simple case of just turning up and fishing. For your late evening dry fly spinner fishing to be truly effective you need to think about tactics – so I have put together some tips and tactics for fishing the BWO spinner fall productively on the Taff.

Spinner fall fishing tips & tactics:

Pick a long flat pool – Not a turbulent boulder strewn stretch, or very fast riffle water. The ideal ‘spinner water’ is flat and fairly still, with a slow to moderate flow. Here spinners get trapped in the surface film, and it is much easier for trout to spot them and pick them off at their leisure. This sort of water can be rock hard in the day time, but will come to life in the evening. Wading will also tend to be easier in such locations.

Know your stretch – Make sure you know your way in, and crucially out of the stretch of river you intend to fish. This is extremely important, as stumbling over a rocky river bed in the dark can be dangerous. You can also plan how much time you should spend working your way upriver to the exit point.

Choose a pool where you know there is a good head of fish – The evening rise is short and frantic, so if you hit the wrong section of river you may end up struggling. You won’t have time to move spot. So do your research in advance.

Hit the river late – Do not make the mistake of entering the river too early. You could end up spooking your target fish, and putting them down before the rise begins. I tend to begin fishing an hour before sunset. In July/August that is around 8.00 pm.

Do not leave the river too early – Fish on as late as you can. Biggest mistake is to pack up as it is getting dark. The height of the rise is almost always as the light finally dies. It is at this point where fish can have a ‘stupid half hour’ and will lose caution – make sure you don’t miss it! You can carry on fishing into the night by making a mental note of where rising fish were in relation to your position, and by simply blind casting at whatever you can hear rising. I have had fish recently as late as 10.30 pm.

Pack a head torch – Essential for changing flies, and exiting the river in one piece. Make sure you don’t forget this piece of fishing gear, its vital! The head torch I am using at the moment is the TF Gear night spark from Fishtec, it’s a cracking bit of kit, very bright and fully waterproof.

Use a long leader – The flat nature of ‘spinner water’ means a long leader is essential. I like to use as long a leader as I can, usually this is two rod lengths (18-20 foot) I make these by adding an armspan length of tippet (normally 4 -5 foot) to a 15 foot long Airflo tapered mono leader. This means turnover is perfect, with very little chance of spooking the fish with the end of my fly line. The extra leader length also adds more range to your casts.

Make accurate casts – Might be an obvious thing to say, but it really matters! Unlike some other hatches, spinner feeding trout will very rarely move far to intercept a fly. They tend to hover just sub surface, with a very small window of often just a few inches across. This means your fly need to land within this window, right on the nose. Sometimes you may think a refusal is down to a fussy fish, but it could be it simply hasn’t seen your fly… So practice your accuracy.

Creep up on your fish – As it gets dark you can get much closer to a consistently rising fish. It is better to have that precious ‘one shot’ at close to medium range, rather than a long distance effort where you have a worse chance of a decent hookset, and risk spooking the fish with an imperfect cast. Make every effort to be quiet in the water – a gentle approach with frequent pauses in your movement can really pay off, and allow you to get close enough for a perfect cast.

Take care with your tippet diameter – Don’t go too fine! The wing design of spinner fly patterns means they can twist your leader up easily, especially if your tippet is overly thin. This can ruin presentation and cause tangles. Bear in mind that a thicker diameter won’t bother the trout in low light conditions, especially if you de-grease the leader every few casts. For spinner sizes 14 – 18 I tend to use 5X co-polymer (Typically about 4.0lb BS) this helps combat tippet twist, with added confidence for bullying big fish to the net.

1st Junior Morning – Cyfarthfa Park Lake

Jul 29, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Junior members are invited to come along to a mornings tution in the new building by the railway.  MTAA Coaches will be there from 10am to 12pm on Saturday 6th Aug to help juniors with the basics of fishing, or the more advanced techniques required for specialist fishing.

The coaches will help with casting tuition, making rigs, tying knots, making hair rigs, loading a reel properly and setting up your equipment, we will also answer any questions you have

Top Pond/Cyfarthfa Park Lake

Jul 28, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Both lakes are fishing well for Roach, Perch and Rudd on the waggler with maggot hookbait.  Top Pond is also fishing well using the cage feeder, catching carp and barbel.

Green Flag Award for Top Pond

Jul 27, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments
Since Top Pond was drained in 2010 we have worked to make it a good fishery and to improve the experience for those who use it for leisure activities such as walking and along the Cycle path.
To this end we have installed litter bins, planted trees, and in conjunction with Merthyr Council we have planted the pond itself with water plants to improve the habitat for both fish and wild life.
Ducks, Moorhens and a pair of Grebe have been using the pond and this together with the work carried out by Keith Jones one of our dedicated committee men led to us being advised to enter it as an open space for the Green Flag Award
We are pleased to say we were awarded the Green Flag Status and Keith Jones and our treasurer (Tony Rees), went to pick up the award at a ceremony held at Cheltenham last week.
The club is proud of this achievement.
We are also glad to hear that the pond has been fishing well, maybe the fish are grateful toogreen flag award

An International benchmark for parks and green spaces

The Green Flag Award® scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK.

It was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country.

The first awards were given in 1997 and, many years later, it continues to provide the high level of quality against which our parks and green spaces are measured. It is also seen as a way of encouraging others to achieve high environmental standards, setting a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.

XXII Freshwater Fishing European Championships2016

Jul 25, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

WALES have won the 22nd Freshwater Fishing European Championships 2016 that took place over the weekend in Holland.

Euro Champs 1 Euro Champs 2 Scoreboard

National Fishing Month

Jul 22, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

MTAA will be running fishing taster days, coaches will be on hand to help anyone of any age start fishing or give advice to those that already fish,  For the beginner fishing tackle will be lent and bait will be supplied.

The first date is 27 July followed by 10 Aug, 17 Aug and 24 Aug.

The events will be held on Cyfarthfa Park Lake.

Spreading of Koi Herpes Virus via Angling Equipment

Jul 8, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Spreading Koi herpes virus using angling equipment

Koi herpesvirus (KHV) is a fatal disease of carp which has spread rapidly between UK recreational fisheries. Although live fish movements are the main risk for disease spread, we’ve demonstrated that KHV can be transferred by contaminated angling equipment. 

A fish gill showing necrosis from KHV
Gill necrosis from KHV

Transfer pathway via contaminated angling equipment

For KHV to transfer via angling equipment – eg landing-nets, unhooking mats, weigh slings and keep-nets – a number of steps must happen:

  1. the KHV infected fish – which are shedding virus in their mucus – must be vulnerable to angling, ie feeding to take a bait
  2. the virus must contaminate and remain viable on the equipment until it is used at a different fishery
  3. fish without the virus must be infected through contact with the infected equipment

Although we suspected that this is a disease transfer route, there was little direct proof. So we designed a series of simple experiments to get more data, and thought you’d like to see what goes on behind the scenes at Cefas.

Carp in a net
An example of a net used by anglers to hold carp.

Experiment 1: feeding behaviour versus KHV shedding

To investigate the chance of an angler catching a fish shedding KHV, we examined the feeding of KHV infected fish. If a fish is feeding it can be caught by an angler.

Therefore we infected common carp with KHV, via a bath challenge, and fed them 40 food pellets each day. The feeding rate was monitored by counting uneaten pellets.

Carp were netted from their tank each day and then returned to check the levels of virus in the mucus on the net.

We found that:

  • all of the carp exposed to KHV became infected; 75% developed clinical disease. The remaining 25% survived the infection by creating antibodies.
  • virus shedding started the day after exposure and continued during the trial
  • KHV infection did reduce feeding, but they still ate over 40% of the daily food ration whilst shedding virus.
Graph showing feeding rates of KHV affected fish
This graph shows a time series (from 1-22 days post infection) which plots the percent of food eaten by the fish and the amount (titre) of virus shed in their mucus

Experiment 2: how net storage conditions affect virus survival

This was an in vitro study to assess if KHV can survive on nets, and how storing nets differently would affect the chance of transmission.

Strips of net were coated with KHV-spiked carp mucus, placed in clear plastic zip-lock bags, and kept under one of four conditions:

  1. dark and damp
  2. dark and dry
  3. light and damp
  4. light and dry

The dark samples were kept in an opaque box, whilst light samples were exposed to sunlight. Damp nets were sealed in their plastic bag, whilst bags for the dry samples were split open.

The nets were incubated for 18 hours before the mucus was removed,centrifuged and filtered before it was used to inoculate common carp cell cultures. The cell cultures were then checked to see if KHV had an effect on their structure.

We found that:

  • the virus remained alive in the ‘dark and damp’ conditions, with 100% of the cell cultures were positive for KHV
  • drying reduced KHV infectivity. About 20% of cell cultures were positive for KHV in ‘dark and dry conditions’
  • KHV did not survive exposure to sunlight. There were no positive cells for KHV in both ‘light and damp’, and ‘light and dry’ conditions

Experiment 3: transmission of KHV via anglers’ nets

Next we wanted to check if anglers’ nets transmit the disease.

So we held KHV diseased carp in a fine mesh keep-net overnight at 23°C. These infected carp were then removed, the net stored for 24 hours in a sealed plastic bag, and then we introduced carp without the disease to the net.

We found that these carp displayed clinical signs of KHV disease within 14 days of transfer to the contaminated net.

Dry your nets in the sun to protect fisheries

Hopefully you can see these experiments show that fish shedding KHV virus feed and are therefore likely to be caught by anglers, they can contaminate nets, the virus can survive on these nets, and that KHV can be transmitted to uninfected fish by contact with infected nets.

Put simply, the use of infected nets is a disease risk to fisheries.

Moving fish remains the biggest risk for KHV transmission. But we reviewed popular angling literature and found that 52% of UK fisheries allow the use of keep and landing nets. Anglers’ nets may therefore have helped spread KHVwithin the UK. So a high proportion of carp fisheries are potentially at risk of getting the disease via nets.

To reduce the risk, we always tell anglers to dry and expose their nets to sunlight before leaving a fishery, or going to another one.

For updates please sign up to email alerts from this blog, or you can follow us on Twitter @CefasGovUK.

News 23rd June 16

Jun 23, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

River Taff is fishing well after recent high water. Ceri Thomas of Fishtec fished last night into darkness in the Troedyrhiw area and had 10 brown trout all on a yellow klinkhammer dry fly. Most fish were cracking specimens of between 14 and 17 inches in length, with a few smaller fish showing as well.  Tal-y-bont is still fishing well in late evenings or over cast wet days. Istavan Bognar has a Tal-y-bont specimen of nearly 2.5lb on a black and green goldhead recently. Cantref is also fishing well – Rhys Davies has been catching lots of browns of about half a pound – a good sign for the future.

talybont 2.5lb   Taff1

The 2½lb Browning from Talybont                  Trout caught at Troedyrhiw

taff2    taff3

2 pictures of trout caught at Troedyrhiw

Don’t forget, if you shop at Fishtec show your Merthyr Angling permit to receive a discount.

Brecon Canal

Dave Couzins and John Coombs fished the Brecon canal at Pencelli on Monday Morning and Dave landed 7lbs 8oz of Roach, Perch, Dace and Gudgeon and John landed 6lbs of Roach, Perch, Dace and Gudgeon a really good day in the rain.

Fishing News 19th June 16

Jun 19, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments
Recently Paul Jenkins fished the river Taff from Quakers for some distance up stream. The river was low and he fished the shallow riffle water with small flies. He had around twenty small fish most below 20cms. This bods well for the river.
 David Briton fished the Mardy again recently and caught nine fish one at 2lb and a few around one pound with the rest coming in at 8-10 oz again showing a mixture of year classes that a river needs.

On the Salmon Front Colin Saunders had one from the Ysybyty on Sunday and Nigel Morgan had three of the Kemys on the same day. Lee Day had a nice fish of 15lb + on the Kemys last week and one of 8lb came off the Ysybyty.

If the weather stays cool and cloudy then the Usk will fish in the day for trout. If it warms up again then the evening fishing will be best.

Report by Peter Wessom on fishing the Brecon Canal

Jun 14, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments


I can confirm that the canal at Brecon is in tremendous form. myself and Barry Carter fished appx 100yds down from wooden sculpure and had a lot of roach up to a 1lb Dace in excess of 8oz, 4 eels plus some small chub, i would estimate between us we would have had 30-40lb of fish. not bad for a canal. Fished red maggot over hemp and bread punch as a switch bait, the bigger roach came to a bunch of red maggot over hemp after feeding for 2+ hrs.

Access Meeting at Welsh Assembly Government Building

Jun 13, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Rachel Evans (1)

Fishing News 7th June

Jun 7, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Brecon Canal

Bernie Farr and his wife Janice went over to Pencelli to fish the canal.   They started catching Roach, then they stated catching Dace, and then in the afternoon they were catching small chub.   Bernie and Janice have fished the canal for many years, but last Friday was the best day they have ever had, the fishing was absolutely tremendous.

Cyfarthfa Park

Dia Davies fished peg 28 and caught 4 bream and a 7lb carp, all the bream had spawning nodules on.   Fishing next to Dia was Robert Burke who also landed 4 bream and a lot of roach.

Middle Pond

Jun 5, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Malcolm Williams and Rhys Evans fished Middle Pond on 2nd June, Malcolm fished a method feeder with sweetcorn hook bait and landed 3 bream 4lb 9oz 4lb 5oz and 4lb 9oz.  Malcolm is picture below with one of the bigger bream


.Malcolm with 4lb 9oz Bream

Weekly News 29/5 to 2/6

Jun 2, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Stuart Jarvis Keeper Glan Usk Estate (Retired)

It is with great sadness that the Association has  to tell you all that Stuart Jarvis the well known and respected Keeper who worked for many years on the Glan Usk Estate passed away of a heart attack last night. Stuart  was a member of Merthyr Anglers and many of us probably either knew him or would have heard of him over the years.
Our Sympathy goes out to his family.
May Newsletter
IMG_20160525_174732107 (1)
The litter shown in the picture was dumped in front of the gate to top pond, it was moved to the side of the gate by members of the Association who were going to top pond to empty the bins and do a litter pick around the pond, we could not remove it because we did not have the equipment or transport to move it to the council recycling centre.  If the person who dumped this rubbish was a resident of Merthyr Borough they will be paying (as we all do), via their council tax bill, to have this litter removed by the council employees.  There is no need to dump litter in this way when the council go out of their way to provide residents with ample facilitites to dispose of litter.


May 27, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Brecon Canal

Anglers should be aware that on the weekend of  4th/5th  June a charity long distance walk is taking place in the Brecon Beacon National Park and that part of the route will be along the towpath of the canal, if you do fish the canal on these days be prepared for major distruption.   There will be 700 people taking part.

Nant Melyn Rivers Day

On the 2nd of June a River Fun and Wildlife Day will be held at Nant Melyn Road Rassau.   Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, see the fish and insects that live in our river, with willow weaving, arts and crafts.

poster 2 print (1) (click on first page and then again to see poster)


Fisheries News

May 15, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

Brecon Canal

Anglers should be aware that on the weekend of  4th/5th  June a charity long distance walk is taking place in the Brecon Beacon National Park and that part of the route will be along the towpath of the canal, if you do fish the canal on these days be prepared for major distruption.   There will be 700 people taking part.

More news from Cyfarthfa Park

Malcolm Williams fished peg 2 yesterday (Monday) and caught 14 crucians, a 9lb carp and  2 bream, not bad for a few hours fishing, Malcolm fished liquidised bread in the feeder and sweetcorn on the hook.

Brecon Canal

I have just had a text from Dave Couzens who went over to the canal at Brynych Lock and fished from early this morning (Sunday), he weighed in 19lbs 7oz of quality roach, chub and dace all in 4 hours

Cyfarthfa Park

The park is fishing well, if you put a maggot on the hook you are guaranteed a Roach or Rudd almost immediately, they are taking bait really well.  This bodes well for the upcoming coaching sessions the Association will be doing with local schools.   Dan Lewis fished peg 1 and caught carp and bream, Sean Price caught 5 crucian carp and 3 bream using pellet hook bait from peg 43 on the grass bank.  Although Sean was using pellet his float was bobbing around as he was being pestered by smaller fish too small to take the pellet.

I fished the park on Friday afternoon and as I was setting up 2 women approached me and asked if I would help them to net a pigeon that had somehow fallen into the water down by the inlet.   I went down to the end of the lake , but the pigeon was too far out for me to reach it.   However, Julian Burns who was just finishing his shift with the council was there and he asked what the problem was, we explained about the pigeon, (it was alive).  Julian did not hesitate and grabbed a rake to feel the bottom and jumped in, waded out till he could net the bird and brought it back to the bank.   The bird was absolutely soaking and worn out I doubt if it would have lasted much longer.    Julian took the bird in the van up to the council yard to allow it to recover where it would not be pestered by anyone walking their dogs. Well done Julian and the 2 ladies for bringing the plight of the pigeon to our attention.

River Usk

With the recent rain the river rose and 3 salmon have been caught on our beats, 2 of which were taken on fly in the lagoon at the bottom Ysbytty beat.

Talybont and Cantref

Both of these reservoirs and fishing very well on buzzers.

A report by Ceri Thomas of Fishtec

Fishtec team members Mike Morgan and Rhys Davies fished Cantref on Tuesday evening (10th May), landing 6 wild browns to 8 oz and 3 overwintered rainbows to 1.5lb between them. Ceri Thomas Fished Talybont on the evening of 12th May, landing 7 browns to 2lb 8oz with a good number of pound plus fish. Local angler K Probert also had 6 fish on the same evening to 12 oz.  All fish were returned. Successful flies have been diawl bach, red tag wet fly, black buzzer and black tadpole, fished on floating line with long leader.

Don’t forget as a member of the Association if you produce your Association membership you will get a discount when shopping at the Fishtec shop in Brecon.



April Newsletter

May 10, 2016   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association   //   News  //  No Comments

April 2016