Fishing for Schools coach Michael Salisbury updates us on his work with two new schools this year:
I initially signed up with Fishing for Schools back in 2019, and I was very much looking forward to running my first sessions for them in the spring and summer of 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic put paid to that, and it was a great deal of satisfaction that I’ve been able to start the sessions in earnest this year.
The two schools that I’ve been working with are Rokeby School from Newham, and Draper’s Academy from Romford. In my initial meeting with the staff at both schools, it was clear that the Fishing for Schools programme couldn’t come soon enough, both for the students and staff alike. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the lives of young people up and down the country, and as we return to some semblance of normality, the opportunity for students to go fishing has been seized upon by both schools. They are acutely aware of how their students have been affected over the last two years, and fishing provides the perfect positive outlet for many of them.
Furthermore, the sessions aren’t solely about “going fishing”, as the students are working towards a Level 1 CAST Award, issued by the Angling Trust. The pupils must produce a small portfolio of evidence in order to achieve the award, which involves a small amount of written work, and visual evidence of the angling skills that they have developed.
During the practical angling days at Puddledock Farm Fishery in Upminster, all of the students have excelled. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of them had never actually held a fishing rod before, the progress has been exceptional. We started with the basics - setting up a float rod and plumbing the depth. Before long, all of the students were catching plenty of roach on maggots in the margins. For those that made significant progress, I got them fishing on the surface for some of the hard-fighting carp that reside in Puddledock’s Road Lake. This was very successful, as carp to over 10lbs were landed.
Overall, it’s been a pleasure working with Rokeby School and Draper’s Academy, and I’m really pleased that Fishing for Schools has been able to meet the needs of their students, at a time in which it’s needed most.