It had been a busy summer for GHOF and with the arrival of term time it was another week with the Insight School Skills Academy; a school to help young people who need extra support. We had a familiar group who by now were ready to start their cast awards. The scheme is a 7 step process where you are awarded different levels of certificates based on your knowledge of fish species, watercraft and angling ability. They range from CAST Award Starter to CAST Award Level 6. Anyone who wishes to attend a Level 1 Coaching in Angling course will need to hold CAST 3, and for a Level 2 course, it will be CAST 6. Conner, a year 10 student who has shown some great skill in previous sessions catching carp to several pounds, had been given his own rod by GHOF. Today I was first tasked to show Conner how to set this up himself, however, with his excitement he was more inclined to get out fishing with his peers than learn how to tie knots. The preparation in angling can be very time consuming and frustrating, especially if you are new to the sport. Nevertheless, if Conner is to become a self-sufficient angler he needs learn the basics.
Once the rod was sorted I took Conner and another student called Charlie down to the lake. The weather looked perfect; not too bright with a nice ripple on the water. Sometimes even though all the elements are in your favour, the fish don’t play ball. This was to be one of those days. For the first hour not one fish came out for anybody on the lake and both Charlie and Conner were becoming increasingly frustrated. I knew we just needed to keep nice and quiet while continuing to trickle in bait. Unfortunately teenagers are not known to be nice and quiet and Charlie and Conner were certainly keeping us on our toes. They both left the swim and while they occupied the teachers I decided to try and re-engage them by catching a few fish of my own. With the bank a lot quieter I managed to hook a sizeable fish within a few minutes, grabbing the attention of Conner. After some encouragement he decided to give it another go and was rewarded with a lovely looking perch.
Following a few more fish we stopped for a break to run through the Cast Awards Levels 1 to 3. This comprised of a series of questions to test their knowledge of not just the sport, but the environmental issues that go with it. After lunch we carried on fishing into the afternoon with Conner landing some really good size roach and rudd. It was a shame Charlie didn’t want to carry on but not everybody enjoys the sport, something I always find hard to believe! Admittedly, it’s also not just about catching fish, the program GHOF run is designed to teach valuable lessons. Just like how football teaches teamwork, angling teaches perseverance. This is one of the fundamental attributes GHOF are trying to install in young people; if you’re patient and keep working hard, you will be rewarded. I’m sure if you asked any entrepreneur what are the key attributes to success, perseverance would be critical.
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