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  • Writer's pictureFishing for Schools

'It's never just about angling': Coach Q&A with Kevin Durman

Director of Fishing for Schools, Charles Jardine said: "During what seems another time and place (actually it was!), I met this month’s coach.

Kevin was in his teens and working behind the counter when I was trying to make my way in the angling world. We both found ourselves at Greenfields in Canterbury, a pretty unique angling and gun shop in the great traditions of both.

Even in that far-off time, Kevin’s meticulous eye for detail and innovation was impressive. The dedication and passion was ingrained. But it's not just his eye for detail, trail blazing innovation or sheer 'fishiness'. It's his organisation. Everything has a place and is neat. This aspect, above others, makes him a unique and brilliant coach.

Not only is our Kevin a superb fisher and a specimen angler of prodigious (and growing) reputation, but he is one of the finest coaches I know - anywhere. We, at Fishing for Schools, are so fortunate to have Kevin as one of our esteemed coaches.

What do you do now - apart from Fishing for Schools, of course and what should we also know about you?

At 55 I have recently retired from full-time employment. I now work Saturdays at Invicta Angling and one or two days a week coaching.

When did you start fishing?

I’m guessing aged around 10. I’d pinch a slice of bacon from my mum’s fridge then pop down the river and use bits of bacon to catch my grandad an eel or two. He loved them!

What inspired you to start fishing?

I think back then it's what we did as youngsters; build camps in woods, go fishing, play football and cricket and just go missing for the day, returning home when hungry. Having an older brother who fished probably pointed me in the right direction.

What made, or rather “inspired” you to continue fishing?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer. As a school kid I spent so much time in the local tackle shop, Greenfields of Canterbury, that the owner offered me a job. Being around all the passionate anglers had the knock-on effect of inspiring me further. As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy my fishing as much now, if not more, than I have ever done.

What notable achievement have you made in fishing, do you think Kevin?

I match fished for many years, representing some of the best teams in the Southeast. The team fishing would take us to national events. I have three national medals, one for a team bronze and two as an individual for winning a national section and having a top ten finish. At the time these nationals were massive, with over 500 anglers taking part. I’ve also won the Kent Championships as an individual and the Kent match fishing league, both individually and with a team. Whilst my angling has now changed to specimen fishing, I still look back at my match fishing and see that as my “golden” period.

What made you want to become a coach?

A chance meeting with a coach, after chatting to him I looked into what was required. I knew straight away it was something I could do. I’ve covered a very eclectic range of angling over the years so was sure I had something to offer.

When did you become a coach?

Around 10 years ago.

When did you join Fishing for Schools and why?

I’d known Charles “the boss” since my days at Greenfields all those years ago. He asked me to join the F4S team, I’d already been working with a school, so it just made sense as it would open more opportunities with other schools. It’s always about getting more youngsters out there on the bankside.

What has given you the most pleasure working with Fishing for Schools?

Seeing the difference in the pupils. We’ve had some real success stories over the years. Youngsters that just wouldn’t take to sitting in a classroom suddenly being enthused and engaged in the outdoors. I recently bumped into a former pupil who is now a tree surgeon, and he’s still angling too.

What is the most difficult part of F4S?

My role is mostly about getting the youngsters on the bank and teaching them the angling skills required. I think the hardest part is getting that initial engagement and commitment from the schools. Once a school has seen the work we do and how well the pupils take to it, they know it’s a winner with both pupils and teachers being “hooked”.

What is your main aim for a Fishing for Schools session?

To get the pupils fishing safely, competently, and obviously getting them catching fish.

How do you personally measure a successful session?

Feedback from teachers, chats and 'thank you’s from pupils, and seeing lessons and skills learnt being put into practice.

What is your funniest moment with Fishing for Schools?

Fish slaps are always a good one!

Why do you believe in Fishing for Schools?

I see the work we do and the success we achieve. I have talked with parents who tell me their child comes home after a F4S session calmer and more settled.

What is the future for F4S, do you think?

Hopefully with support we can reach all parts of the UK, take fishing into more schools, maybe even certain workplaces where stress is an issue, the NHS, who knows, maybe worldwide. To Infinity and beyond.

Why should people who are both anglers & non anglers get behind Fishing for Schools?

It’s never just about the angling. I’ll share a little story. As a rule, I put my pupils in pairs, they can help each other, have a chat. I recently had a lad get off the school minibus and ask me if he could fish on his own. I thought perhaps he wasn’t getting on with his classmates so asked why. He answered, “I’ve had a stressful week and I need a bit of me time.” Bear in mind he’s 12. It made me realise that for some of these youngsters, the few hours that they get with me could be the only bit of quiet time they get in a week. I obliged and left him to it, being watchful of course, and said to give me a shout if he needed me. At that moment in time, it’s what he needed most.

Where do you see Fishing for Schools in five years’ time?

Being busier than ever, we’re growing, and it’s no surprise as everyone we meet sees the benefits of angling and the outdoors.

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