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Home / Sporting Events / Fishing / ‘Life was never dull when you were in a boat with Moc’ Tributes paid to fishing legend Moc Morgan

‘Life was never dull when you were in a boat with Moc’ Tributes paid to fishing legend Moc Morgan

Even as a busy head teacher at a Lampeter Primary School Moc Morgan found it difficult to resist the call of the sport that would dominate his life after retirement.

Son Hywel Morgan, 47, recalls how he would head for the river in his lunch hour to steal a few moments away from the pressures of his teaching career.

He said: “Many, many a lunch break he would sneak off down the (River) Teifi and fish.”

Welsh Salmon Trout Angling Association

The second eldest of five children one of his greatest legacies to fishing was to develop the sport among youngsters as secretary of the Welsh Salmon Trout Angling Association.

When he became involved with the group almost 30 years ago he started competitions between the home nations for under-18s, women and the disabled.

Hywel, of Pontrhydfendigaid, in Ceredigion, said: “Once he retired from being a headteacher I think that’s when his career started because he managed the Welsh Salmon Trout (Angling Association) and the international teams for nearly 30 years.

“He had given up all that – ill health had taken its toll. But actually he had gone back this year to be manager of the Welsh youth fly fishing team.

“He spent Sunday morning with them, which was a nice thing for him to do because that was very close to his heart. He started the international event many, many moons ago and was very passionate about getting the next generation into fishing.”

Broadening the appeal of the sport

Fishing instructor and broadcaster Hywel, who with wife Debbie has two daughters Yasmin, 16, and Tanya, 10, said his father has passed on his passion for the sport within the family as well as broadening its appeal among under-represented groups like women and the young.

Hywel, who become a World and European Casting champion in the sport, added: “I had no choice. He put a fishing rod in my hand at 18 months.

“That was it – I was going to be a fisherman.”

Grandchildren Yasmin and Tanya are also expert anglers. Yasmin is a three times casting champion, while Tanya demonstrates at shows all over the country with her father.

Mr Morgan, who was a presenter on S4C and Radio Cymru as well as being a Western Mail columnist, had remarried second wife Julia and the couple were living in Aberystwyth before his death aged 86 from cancer.

He lost his first wife Meirion – Hywel’s mother – to cancer about nine years ago.

‘Life was never dull when you were in a boat with Moc’

Mr Morgan’s friend and fellow angling international George Barron told BBC Radio Wales that his death marked a “sad day for Wales, Welsh angling and the angling world in general”.

He added: “Life was never dull when you were in a boat with Moc or on the riverbank.

“He started every season for as long as I can remember and perhaps back to his childhood fishing on the River Teifi at Pont Llanio on the first day of the season – I don’t think he missed it for 50 years.”

In a 2012 documentary for the Fieldsports Channel Mr Morgan told of how he enjoys the solitude on the riverbank.

‘Fishing is a way of life’

He said: “People do need to cut off from the pressures that they have. You come out here and you tie yourself to the great outdoors. Fishing is a breakaway to take you into a different world and you must realise it’s a religion really – not a sport. A way of life.”

He told the programme he was “alone, but not lonely” on the riverbank.

“People need something that stretches them and yet gives them a pleasure. We tend to criticise and complain, but we have a lot to be grateful for.”

The simple pleasures offered by nature and solitude were subjects he would return to in his final Western Mail column. He wrote of how a thriving angling press churns out ever more magazines focused on mastering the mechanics of the sport.

But he added “just being out in our wonderful countryside and being part of the pageantry of nature is a pleasure in itself”.

Mr Barron added: “I hope the world he has found now is the one he was looking for.”

In the more than three quarters of a century he spent fishing he enjoyed the sport with high profile figures like former US President Jimmy Carter.

But Mr Barron added: “He was far happier in a boat or bringing children into the sport and perhaps that will be his greatest legacy. He was a great, great servant for Wales.”

‘A great fisherman’

Numerous tributes were also paid on social media following Mr Morgan’s death.

South Wales Evening Post photographer and former captain of the Welsh Ladies Fly Fishing Team Gayle Marsh wrote on Twitter: “Moc touched the lives of many anglers young and old and of all abilities. Our love of angling is the richer for it.”

On their Facebook page, Angling Cymru said the sport has lost a “hugely influential advocate and a great fisherman”.

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