Todd's Fishing Adventure - An Introduction To Angling
Getting young people involved in fishing in the modern era is never going to be an easy thing with all the indoor entertainment that is there these days. There is a feeling in the fishing community that although the statistics for participation have gone up since Covid, we still need more juniors on the bank as it will be them that are the future of angling.
I realize that there are some really good fishing initiatives running throughout the country. Normally there is a junior event arranged which is a great success that hooks youngsters in, but the problem in a lot of cases there is no follow up sessions. Which is where the problem lies.
A few years ago on a Fishing for Schools course with Thamesview School, Gravesend I happened to meet a young lad, named Todd, who was really keen on fishing and wanted to learn more, after the 4-session course had finished. For any young person able to get on the Fishing for schools Course, it is a great experience and where their interest in fishing begins. After this course finished I was approached by Todd's mother who asked me if I would be willing to coach her son, she wanted him to be at the stage where he was able to go fishing on his own, but naturally a adult would always be with him.
To be honest I wasn’t sure at first, mainly as I am really busy with the work I do with schools and mental health groups, normally working with groups and not one to one sessions, and for the fact that I do not like to charge, I would prefer a young person to go to a Fishing event that is free, there are a few out there, but normally one offs, not where you can get taught a longer course, which you need if you are going to learn different methods of fishing.
Because I knew the lad was a really keen and nice lad, I agreed to go ahead. We started at Shorne country park, which is perfect for a junior to learn, not the biggest of fish but the variety is excellent and the fishing is normally good. We went through the basics, started on the whip, learnt how to plumb up which is vital in colder conditions and practiced using the disgorger, the one fishing skill that youngsters are really keen to get the hang of it. Its the one thing that parents get concerned about, when their children go fishing, are they going to be able to unhook a deep hooked fish, because in a lot of cases the parents have never been fishing themselves. It is one of the advantages of working one to one that you can give the student plenty of individual attention and in no time the lad was really confident using the disgorger.
Over a few years, mainly in school breaks we have learnt a variety of skills including Whip, Pole, waggler and the feeder and along the way at Birthdays and Christmas Todd has got many new bits of fishing gear including rods and reels. Along the way I have met the Todd’s Grandparents who have brought him and stayed with him throughout the sessions, in particular his grandmother was keen to learn more about fishing herself. I also had a few sessions with the lad’s father which was good. I always look at it that if the family are involved and get to know more about fishing, they are more likely to take their children fishing and can also pass on advice to them.
My last session coaching the lad was at my club water D.D.A.P.S ( Sutton) on the banjo lake, where I was able to get the lad a guest ticket. We concentrated on feeder fishing, looking at making groundbait and pellet for the method feeder, the lad had a really good session catching Carp and Bream on the feeder and some good silver fish on the waggler. Todd was particularly pleased with the bream he caught mainly because it was a nice sized fish but also it not a species that he had caught on the other venues we use.
It is always good for a young angler to try different venues, for the Experience and to see the different variety of fish, and good to take Him around my local club waters T.W.A.P.S and D.D.A.P.S to see their Waters.
After the last session, the lad’s mother informed me that her Todd wanted to join a Fishing club, and asked my advice about what club to join, either of my two clubs would be good clubs to join, but because the lad comes from the Gravesend area and I know there is not a waiting list to join, I advised on joining the T.W.A.P.S club. His mother has paid his subscription and he and this mother are now members of the Club. His mother has been a rock, throughout our coaching sessions.
This is something I had always been working to with Todd, but something you cannot rush, but to see a young lad join his local fishing Club, which could mean a hobby for life, really means a lot to me.
With some much appreciated help from The Tackle Box at Dartford, this years Fishing for schools, Kent programme, is now underway. The two schools are Thamesview school and Gravesend and Stone Lodge Dartford.
These courses are a mixture of education and Fishing skills, that forms part of the Cast Level one course, which focuses on; The Countryside code, Relevant Health & Safety issues, Weather conditions and fish care. So although we love our fishing there is an Educational focus to the course.