My angling coaching work is really varied, I work twice a week at Rowhill, a SEN school, Longfield, employed by the school. I also work for Fishing for Schools, mainly with their mental health and disability groups and a few schools. I am lucky that fishing is my hobby and passion, so I am one of those people that love going to work.
Now spring is here, and we have got over what seems a long winter, hopefully we can look forward to some good fishing. Because I work with school students throughout the year doing fishing educational courses and getting out on the bank on each session, it is vital that in the winter months we find some venues where we can catch. A lot of our sessions throughout the winter are on local rivers as they fish better in the winter, and we will travel further afield to a stillwater if we know it fishes well in winter.
The main venue we use is Grove Farm Fishery, Hadlow, owned by North Kent College, which is an excellent fishery and is a training centre for the College and a private facility. The winter fishing at the venue can be tricky, especially for silver fish. The water is predominantly a carp water and at this venue in the winter months you have got more chance of catching a carp then a silver fish. But normally come mid–April with the weather warming up, the silver fish start feeding and the carp start moving to the upper layers of water, in search for food.
Something I have learnt from the water is that if the carp are up in the water, that’s where you need to fish if you want to be successful. When I first started fishing the water, many years ago, my preference was feeder fishing, mainly because I liked fishing that style and at first it was successful. Over the years it has become clear that the fish are far more inclined to feed much higher in the water and, apart from the odd fish caught on the feeder, fishing on top or up in the water, pellet waggler style will certainly catch you more fish.
We like to cover all aspects of fishing as part of our courses and a recent session at Grove Farm, Hadlow, with the boys from Rowhill School was a good example of this. We started in the classroom, looking at rigs and how to attach baits using the pellet band, quick stop, and old hair loop, I like to use the quick stop, but it must be drilled properly first, or the plastic quick stop gets damaged using hard baits. Then we went on to put the lesson into practice at the lake. One lad had a great session on the pole and corn and other boys who plumbed up properly and fished on the bottom also caught carp. The carp are just waking up after a cold winter and we caught mainly on the bottom, but in the next few weeks when the weather warms, the fish will be up in the water.
Another example of the variety that we like to include is the fact that we can expand on individual students interests and incorporate them into the course. One of our lad's is keen on horticulture and wants to be a gardener when he leaves school. He gets a lot out of the fishing course, as we get involved in plant control at fisheries as this is part of our fishing educational course, so our fishing course is the nearest he can take to his interest in gardening.
With that in mind we visited a garden centre, we looked at garden tools that we use in plant control at our fisheries, then went on to the aquarium to look at the variety of freshwater and marine fish they have there.
It helps demonstrate the overlap between fishing and fish keeping, lake maintenance and gardening and the fact that many of the skills that the boys learn are transferable into several real-world scenarios.