Fishing for Schools Coach, Kevin Durman, gives an update on the Autumn term sessions with students at Orchard School, Canterbury.
Recently, visits to Coombewood Fishery near Ashford, Kent have been very successful. We are lucky to have such a wonderful venue available to us. Alex, the owner, loves having us and is so supportive of our Fishing for Schools cause. The venue is full of fish, exactly what we need to keep the bites coming, which in turn keeps the youngsters busy.
With the mild weather of November, the carp remained active giving the students some big fish to target should they wish to. I always give them a choice of angling styles to choose from. Some like to keep busy catching on 3m whips, feeding just 3 or 4 maggots regularly. They have learnt that at this time of year, feeding little amounts of bait is all that’s required to keep bites coming.
Those that opt for a feeder rod to try for a carp have learnt that having a bit of patience is often the best way to catch; regular recasting is not so successful as the water cools.
On a recent session, Mckenzie, who had been using a whip for a few trips and now had plenty of fish under his belt, wanted to try for a carp. I like there to be a progression so that the pupils realise there’s more to angling than just big fish. Catching plenty on a whip teaches handling maggots, putting them on the hook, recognising bites, striking, handling and unhooking fish, and returning them safely.
Using a feeder rod for carp is the next step but we needed to run through a few skills first, such as casting and playing fish. We practice these skills on the bank, with me acting as the fish. Once I was sure Mckenzie was confident, we set about loading a method feeder and getting a bait in the lake.
With the trap set it was a case of waiting for the rod tip to pull round - very different to the hands-on, busy approach when whip fishing.
Sure enough, the rod tip pulled round and Mckenzie was into a nice carp. Using his new skills, he played the fish superbly; I netted the carp for him.
A great end to the session and to the Christmas term; our last trip was cancelled as the weather had changed dramatically with the lakes freezing over. Roll on January when we can get back with a new bunch of pupils.
Our thanks to Coombewood Fishery for the use of their fantastic venue. We are also extremely grateful to the Red Hill Trust for supporting our work with Orchard School.