Warren is our lead Kent coach and is an inspiration to us all. Read why...
What do you do now- apart from Fishing for Schools, of course and what should we also know about you?
I work throughout the year as a fishing coach, I have focused on the school/educational side delivering BTEC Fishery courses. Before taking semi – retirement at 45, I worked for the Port of London Authority, working aboard the heavy lift crane, London Samson, dredging department, harbour service. I left after 30 years to spend more time as a fishing coach and to do more fishing.
When did you start fishing?
About three years old, with child’s fishing net, chasing minnows and sticklebacks at the Five Arches on the River Cray.
Who inspired you to start fishing?
My father was a tug skipper and I used to go to work with him as a nipper in the London docks. I would eel fish, my father loved jellied eels. This was a good grounding to handling fish. Also, one of my first memories of fishing, was catching a tench on worm, on one of my first fishing trips at my father’s fishing club, The Orpington Anglers Club.
What made, or rather “inspired” you continue fishing?
While on holiday as a young lad in Dorset, River Stour, an old angler fishing for mullet asked me to look after his rod whilst he went to the toilet. Whilst he was gone, I hooked into a mullet, which I finally lost. The fight shocked me, but I definitely wanted to do it again.
I have always liked being alongside water and love nature and animals.
What notable achievement have you made in fishing, do you think Warren?
As a fisherman growing up, I have set my own targets of what fish I have wanted to catch, after reading articles from famous specimen hunters. A 10lb bream, a 7lb chub, a 2lb roach, 8lb mullet. Luckily, I have achieved these targets, clocking up a lot of miles along the way. But it has always been about enjoying my fishing and being part of nature.
What made you want to become a coach?
I had always wanted to pass on my passion of fishing to others. I remember some years ago (before I was a coach) I was fishing at Dartford Lakes, and I helped a young angler who was new to fishing. I ended up giving him a feeder rod. After thinking over the situation, and the boy going home to his parents with a rod given to him by a stranger, I thought if I am going to do this again, I need to become an official licenced coach. It was something I thought I could give back to, and something I was always destined to do.
When did you become a coach?
I officially become a Level 2 coach in 2007, through the PAA.
When did you join F4S and why?
I joined in 2009 – I was already coaching for my own company, Coaching Coarse Fishing, and got to know Bob Goble as he was working at Buckland’s Fishery. Because he knew I had links to quite a few local schools, he asked me if I would join Fishing for Schools.
What has given you the most pleasure working with F4S?
To be able to introduce any person to fishing is a wonderful thing, but the work I do in education at schools and with my mental health groups is special. The educational work at schools gives the students the opportunity to achieve a qualification in fishing, then a pathway to higher education at Hadlow College and then the prospect of a job in the fishing industry. With my mental health groups, just being outdoors, at one with nature in a healthy environment, interacting with other people, really benefits the patient, which has been known to aid their recovery.
What is the most difficult part of F4S?
With the number of schools and mental health/disability groups on the Kent F4S Programme, each Winter there is a lot of work to organise and to be ready to start our courses in the Spring; it’s not difficult, but it can be challenging. I do find it difficult when one of our schools (that in some cases has been with us for many years), doesn’t get through the application process, but I realise that it gives a new school the chance to take part in our programme.
What is your main aim for a F4S session?
To create a friendly, safe and enjoyable environment for my students, learning new skills and importantly, working at their own pace.
How do you personally measure a successful session?
Each student is different, my main aim is to give each student the individual attention they need to progress. It is important that my students learn the basics, correctly casting, plumbing, handling fish, which in turn will lead to more fish caught and student confidence levels rising. Ultimately, you should be looking at each pupil reaching their full potential.
What is your funniest moment with F4S?
I remember two occasions that stand out both at the same fishery, Monk Lakes.
A hot air balloon came down at the fishery, luckily it didn’t end up in the water, but I can remember comments like, they would do anything to get a good swim.
On another occasion a car went into the lake; the owner got his pedals mixed up and revved too hard, then proceeded to plough into the lake. Sometime later a tow truck arrived at the fishery to pull the car out; I really felt for the owner. I remember another angler jokingly said ‘how near does his car have to be to him, before he will go fishing? It goes without saying that all sessions should be fun.
Why do you believe in F4S?
On our courses in Kent, we teach a combination of fly fishing and coarse fishing., We give the opportunity to children of all abilities as well as adults with mental health to get outdoors in a healthy environment and learn more about fishing and life skills.
I know first-hand what benefits these courses are on the people we teach, which also concurs with the positive feedback we get from all our organisations. A truly unique charity.
What is the future for F4S, do you think?
Fishing in general is going through a real purple patch at present; rod licence sales are up more people than ever are going fishing. This has been due to the fact that fishing was the only sport that was allowed to carry on all through the Covid lockdowns.
There has never been a time where more people want to go fishing. I have seen this for myself recently, with my schools and mental health groups, looking at an alternative to indoor learning. We really are in a position, going forward to make a difference.
Why should people who are both Anglers & non anglers get behind F4S?
We work with a lot of special educational needs and behaviour schools, with students that do not cope well at school but can change doing something they enjoy in an outdoor environment. In some cases, the introduction to angling has inspired pupils to go onto a career in fisheries. At present we have students that have come through the F4S programme and are doing Higher Education fishery courses at Hadlow College.
Where you see F4S in 5 years’ time?
Fishing for Schools will be a major player in the years to come, as there is such a need out there to go fishing. To enable us to go forward we need more young coaches trained up, we need to establish more local funding routes in our regions, because as we grow, the funding pot will need to be bigger. I love what I do and get such a reward from seeing my students progress, God willing I will still be involved with F4S in five years.