I write as someone who grew up fishing The Afan, and who has fished The Afan on my many trips to the homeland. For an in-depth treatise on the subject, I wholeheartedly recommend the book The Afan Fisheries by Ivor Lewis, ISBN 0-9537326-0-6.
The River Afan (or Afon Afan in Welsh), flows from the confluence of The Corrwg and The Gwynfi at Cymer, down through the various villages of the valley, eventually entering the ocean at Aberafan (aka Port Talbot). The Afan has several tributaries, including The Pelenna at Pontrydyfen, and the Ffrwdwyllt at Velindre.
My first fishing tackle was made by my father; A length of bamboo served as the rod, and the reel was made from a Meccano piece and a cotton reel. But they were the magic that got me started fishing for trout in The Afan, and kindled a lifelong love of trout fishing.
Some years later, I’d come off night shift at the steel plant, walk down the garden path and, on seeing The Afan, would go fishing all day instead of going to bed. A couple of days in a row of doing this would have me really tired by the end of the second or third night shift. But, those early days fishing The Afan have served me well over many years fishing for trout and other species on different continents.
Fishing The Afan requires a permit from the Afan Valley Angling Club in addition to a Glamorgan fishing license.
For decades, the waters of The Afan were polluted by daily coal washing at the colliery further up the valley in Duffryn, and occasionally by the flooding of an old coal mine on the Pelenna. The coal washing resulted in the water turning black once a day, while the flooding on the Pelena allowed toxic chemicals to enter the river and kill off all the fish.
Hard campaigning by Afan Valley Angling Club members, led by then-Chairman Glan Williams and subsequently Viv Evans, resulted in permanent solutions. Today, Afan waters are as clean as any I’ve fished, and hold rainbow trout, sewin, and salmon.
On one of my visits to The Afan I stumbled upon a fitting tribute to former AVAC Chairman Glan Williams who, sadly, passed away in 1988. Glan worked tirelessly for many years to restore The Afan to it’s former pristine condition. The commemorative stone is located not far from the river, in the vicinty of Afan Argoed Country Park.
Click here to view a map of the River Afan with well-known pools and fishing locations highlighted. Note that this is a work-in-progress.