Q&A with Coach Lee Hooper
1, Lee, what do you do now- apart from Fishing for Schools, of course and what should we also know about you?
I am a self-employed plasterer (nearly 30 years now). I am on the Fly Dressers Guild Executive committee as Fishing Competition secretary & also on the Chevron hackles pro fly tying team.
As well as obviously working as a F4S coach.
2 When did you start fishing?
I started fishing when I was about 7, fly fishing at a small local trout lake, St Algars farm near Longleat.
3,Who inspired you to start fishing?
My father, Uncles & Grandfather were all fly fishermen so they got me into fishing.
4, What made, or rather “inspired” you continue fishing?
I think if you get the fishing “bug” it is very difficult to stop fishing but I have continued fishing for lots of reasons. It’s a hobby I love, it can be fun, relaxing, it takes you to some really beautiful countryside places & is generally good for the soul. It has helped me get through personal huge difficulties on a massive, near life altering, level in my past.
5, What notable achievement have you made in fishing, do you think Lee.
I was very proud to have won the Orvis Iron man fly tying challenge twice in a row, I have helped coach the England Youth loch style fly fishing team for 2 years & obviously being a F4S coach is up there as a top achievement.
6, What made you want to become a coach.
Fishing has given me soooo much fun & pleasure over the years & I really wanted to help others share in what I love. Everyone who has fished remembers catching their first fish & I love making it a very special occasion for others.
7, when did you become a coach?
I gained my Angling Trust level 1 & 2 Coach license in 2013
8, When did you join F4S & why?
As soon as I heard about F4S I was keen to get involved, to help others using fishing, nature & the great outdoors was just so appealing to me. I joined F4S in 2013 as soon as I qualified as a coach.
9, What has given you the most pleasure working with F4S.
It is very difficult to pick one thing out as the most pleasurable. The Marlborough college school dinners are out of this world….. but I think the F4S student awards at the house of commons is always a very special event.
10, What is the most difficult part of F4S.
I think a lot of people think the F4S coaches are always just out fishing with the students but we also have to fit in our classroom work sessions, I always found leading classroom sessions difficult but I am definitely finding them a lot easier now with practice a help from fellow coaches.
11, What is your main aim for a F4S session?
Ultimately, as a trained coach the most important aim is to run a safe & fun session but where aims are concerned we have to have flexible targets depending on the school or student ability, A small thing like holding a fish might be nothing to most people but a massive achievement for some students.
12, How do you personally measure a successful session.
Fish caught & smiling faces are great but we are always trying to raise the crossbar & gently push to students to higher achievements, if we are making progress with each student no matter how high or trivial the goal I measure that as successful.
13, What is your funniest moment with F4S?
Again it is really difficult to pick out one thing, we have had loads of laughs. I know the Students of St John's school, Marlborough thought it was hilarious when somehow a jumping caught trout got caught up on a Reed stem & I got soaked wading in to free it. It was a good demonstration of the lengths we will go to for fish welfare.
14,Why do you believe in F4S?
As a F4S coach I get to see first-hand the benefits we have with our students, F4S isn't just about Fishing, Fishing is a dangled carrot for work completed, what we do is sooooo much more than that, we see the nervous students gain confidence, chaotic students find concentration & troubled students find peace. We are making a difference.
15, What is the future for F4S, do you think.
I know there will always be a need for F4S & hopefully we can just continue to grow across the country & abroad.
16, Why should people who are both Anglers & non anglers get behind F4S?
It really is a great cause & as I've said, it is so much more that’s just fishing. We are using a brilliant life time hobby to instil education, life skills & relaxation in a mad world with growing depression & mental health issues.
17, Where you see F4S in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully we will be a bigger organisation so we can deliver to more schools in need. I'm confident I'll still be involved with F4S in 5 years’ time.