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Coach Q&A: Rob Doyle

Rob Doyle has been the cornerstone of Fishing for Schools Southern programme for over ten years. The man is an inspiration; always creative, always practical and accommodating and always a presence that the students he coaches remember. All too often people see an Angling Coach as just that…someone who fishes. People forget the other multiplicity of skills a person brings to the role. In Rob’s case, it is huge personality and gentle, kind persona that “wins” students of all abilities “over” to his unique brand of educating “differently” – be that biology, cookery or just the natural law of the countryside. We are so fortunate to have Rob…we truly are.



What do you do now - apart from Fishing for Schools, of course and what should we also know about you? Apart from F4S, I am a plumber by trade and have been self employed longer than I care to remember. I'm also a qualified Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor, Southern regional organiser of the Game Angling Instructors Association. I guide on rivers in the South and instruction at all levels. I also support anglers who wish to progress to become instructors.

When did you start fishing?

I started fishing at about four or five; my dad, uncle and brother already fished and I think I must have been getting under my mother's feet. Reluctantly my father took me fishing on that first occasion.

What inspired you to start fishing? I think what really inspired me to take up fishing was that most people I knew fished, as I said earlier, my dad, uncle and brother fished and we would have family trips where mum, dad, my brother along with my aunt, uncle and cousins would all go together.


What made, or rather “inspired” you to continue fishing? I was mainly inspired to continue fishing by friends and easy access to waters, I was only a cycle ride from two canals and a river.

What notable achievement have you made in fishing, do you think Rob? I think there have been three notable achievements in fishing, the first was to help organise and run the Tony Clyde Challenge, a fund raising competition to support nominated charities. The second passing my APGAI (Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors certificate). Third joining F4S.

What made you want to become a coach?

Whilst on the committee of Wimborne and District Angling Club I noticed that a lot of anglers required assistance to develop their fishing. In order to give them qualified advice I would need to get a suitable qualification to coach.

When did become a coach? I became a coach in early 2005.

When did you join F4S and why? I joined F4S in I think early 2010, Charles asked me to find a suitable venue and assist with the sessions. Having then seeing the profound effect this had on one pupil, I felt this is something I need to be involved with.

What has given you the most pleasure working with F4S? The most pleasure I get from F4S are the little things which are actually huge steps for the children. How they overcome shyness, work together and become so much more focused. As well as the comments and thank you's and how much they've enjoyed the sessions. When teachers let you know the children returned from fishing "absolutely buzzing".

What is the most difficult part of F4S?

I think the main difficulty with F4S is that, since I started 12 years ago I have taken courses into a large number of schools, some only once and some for more courses. If we had more funding we could support more courses and help more children with their communication, social and other skills, as well as confidence.

What is your main aim for a F4S session? My main aim with every F4S session is to keep all pupils interested in fish, fishing, environment, biology, entomology, cooking etc and keep them smiling, it has to be fun.

How do you personally measure a successful session? Measuring a session is easy, if the children are as interested at the end as it started and are still asking questions. I must be doing something right.


What is your funniest moment with F4S?

I think the funniest moment for me was at the F4S Champions award ceremony at the Palace of Westminster when one of the young Champions walked up to his MP threw his arms around him and began to tell him all about fishing. Completely taking over as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Why do you believe in F4S? Having seen the changes in so many children, from all backgrounds as well as all abilities. Having seen shrinking violets blossom, violent pupils becalmed by fishing and pupils moving from exclusion to a return to mainstream education because learning can be fun. And that is why I believe in F4S. What is the future for F4S, do you think?

To me the future of F4S is secure all the time we are needed and seeing how many children in schools need an alternative way of approaching a subject we will be needed.

Why should people who are both anglers & non anglers get behind F4S? Anglers and non-anglers should get behind F4S because fishing is the vehicle by which we can impact positively on so many children who have missed out on many things that we, as children growing up before computers, mobile phones etc, took for granted. Fishing can teach confidence without arrogance, social and interactive skills. It also helps sensory and emotional development. All of which will and must help in society in general.

Where do you see F4S in five years’ time? I'm sure we will still be doing what we do now, getting stronger and developing together.



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