Angling is to play a part in the build up to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Manchester in the form of a new 300-peg ‘Aquafest’ match.

The National Federation of Anglers has teamed up with British Waterways and the Environment Agency to promote the so called ‘Aquafest’ Championship, which will net the individual winner a cool £2002.

The match will be staged on the Ashton and Rochdale Canals in East Manchester on Saturday and Sunday, July 20/21. The Commonwealth Games kick off in Manchester on July 25.

The NFA says it has committed 20 qualified coaches to day-one of the angling weekend and they hope to attract 500 new recruits to angling.

The NFA’s new Angling Development Officer, Glyn Williams, said: “Our Stockport and District AF members will be organising the match and assisting our qualified coaches on the ‘fun’ day which is free.

“This is a great opportunity for angling to promote itself and we are on a ‘high’ after the brilliant success of the Adventure Youth Games at Carsington Reservoir which attracted 226 new recruits into the sport.

Manchester has enormous potential to introduce new people into the sport and this angling showpiece is exactly what the Aquafest Angling weekend is all about.”

The canals have been stocked with 7000 fish to the value of £5000 by the EA – a very encouraging sign as they have been reluctant to support angling events in this way in the past. The EA say they will putting on a marquee, displays and a wealth of information, and EA officers will be on hand for ‘pond dipping’ sessions with young enthusiasts in addition to promoting the sport through environmental displays.

Bernie Chappell, EA fisheries manager, commented “This event will not only encourage a new generation of anglers but it will also enhance angling opportunities in the local area.”