Written by Fishing for Schools coach Bob Goble
I hope everyone is well, it's good to be back, even just online. In mid-March Fishing had to stop. Coronavirus had taken hold big time, and we had all to take onboard the Government Guidelines. As time goes on, restrictions are easing and we are now allowed to travel further afield and fishing again. What a relief for us anglers, who have all been chomping at the bit to get out after lock down.
During lock down life seemed surreal. During the early part the roads were quiet, no aircraft flying overhead, and little activity from people. Was this the same for you? It reminded of a film of many years ago, “The day the Earth stood still”.
It also reminded me of course fishing years gone by when there was a close season (March 15th - June 16th), this virus seemed to coincide with much of this time, but not so if you where a fly or salt water angler.
In those days you would try your hand at fly fishing to fill in the months before going back to your usual discipline of course fishing. We have of course moved on and the close season only remains on rivers and some club lake owned waters. Most fisheries are now what we call commercials and are open all year round.
The unfortunate thing with this virus was the timing. If like me you look forward to the March opening on our rivers and lakes (fly fishing that is), it just was not allowed up and down the country. Our rivers and lakes were closed, this was bad news as its one of our best times to catch a trout or Salmon.
You were allowed to walk the river or around the Lake, and it was so frustrating to see fish feeding heavily on Midge, swirling and bulging, heading and tailing. “Oh for a rod to be in my hand”, not only that, but the Hawthorns made good appearance in early May as well.
When eventually allowed to fish we still had time to make the best of it, before the early heatwave arrived.
Top tip here for this time of the year, try to fish early or late in the day for the best chance to catch, you still could be lucky if you have a cool overcast day. We anglers are born optimists.
Because of the lock down rules and no schools open, I had to do something. I thought it would be useful to give some natural history learning for our students that could not attend school but instead could learn from the internet. I decided to do some articles on the sea shore and what to find there. You can find out more about this on the Fishing for Schools Facebook page.
As I live on the North Kent coast very close to the sea, I would set the school children a project on the various creatures that inhabit the shoreline and at low water. Although I knew most of what lived there but with photos and a little research (and still learning myself), I understood far more about this fascinating subject. I would recommend you try it, its quite amazing what you can discover.
If you do go on a seashore discovery, please be mindful and respect the creatures that live there they are a very important part of our ecosystem. If you turn a rock to look underneath please return as you found it. If you don’t, the seaweed that may be growing on top and is underneath will eventually die, as with the creatures that are exposed to the elements.
As well as the above I have also been on a journey with finding out about the plants that live on the shore and nearby. There are thousands of plants and what I discovered, recorded and took photos of, is not even scratching the surface. The lock down period has been a wondrous journey of things I took for granted previously, and as we hopefully come back to some normality, I hope you have a better understanding of our precious environment - especially our lakes and rivers.
Next time you are fishing, take a deep breath, and observe what’s around you. Enjoy the moment, as our mental well being has never been so important. Listening to the multitude of bird life, the damsel fly in its glorious blue colour hovering on or over your rod tip, a bee passing you humming to its next meal, the rustle of the trees as breeze sets in, and yes the magic and mystery of the water in front of you, and what lies beneath, I hope you see as well that fishing is not just about catching, but being at one with nature.
Important tip: Please support your local tackle store and fisheries, there has never been a better time and they need your support.The Environment agency have recorded a huge increase in rod licence sales, this can only be good for our sport. But it also proves that angling is a very much needed requirement for health and mental well being.
Enjoy your fishing what ever your discipline, stay safe and have fun,
Best, Bob G