After a long, gruelling winter for GHOF, spring was on the horizon and so came the first Family Fishing Fun Day in the South for 2016. These events are held throughout most of the year with the aim of getting as many people as possible out on the bank. All sessions are free with fishing tackle provided (including a free EA rod licence) and they can sign up to 30 minute sessions with one of the coaches such as myself. The day was held at Rib Valley in Hertfordshire, a beautiful location with a number of lakes. As well as coarse lakes, there is also fly fishing available, not something I’m particularly great at so I left this to the experts. It wasn’t just fishing on offer, we also had other activities such as casting practice where children and their parents had to cast a ball in a bucket, which kept people occupied while they waited their turn.
Unfortunately the weather was not very spring like with the forecast to be strong winds and heavy rain most of the day. Despite this, we had plenty of families turning up so I started trickling some bait into my swim. A father and son was first to have a go and we started using a whip; a long pole with line attached to the end. Due to the conditions it was clear it was not going to be an easy day and early on I realised we needed a change of tactic. I decided to use a float rod so we could cast a bit further but it meant for some of the younger children, I would have to cast for them. This did make a difference and we managed to catch a lovely looking perch but went without a bite for long periods. The other coaches and families were also having a tough time but a good size fish was caught on the trout lake and thankfully, a young boy hooked into a hard fighting carp. I told the children I was coaching to stop fishing and go and have a closer look. I remember the first time I saw a carp of a few pounds and at the time I thought it was enormous; I was awestruck and it was just brilliant to see the same thing happening right in front of me.
The day flew by and one child was really eager but the few bites we had were very shy and he was not quite quick enough with striking and setting the hook. However, it was nearly the end of the day and the same family were back for one last go. I was casting as tight to the island as possible where I thought the fish were sheltering from the cold weather and right at the last, we had two small roach. They were ecstatic and to be honest I was just very relieved, as I knew if the boy didn’t managed to land one, he may never go again. All in all it was a successful day considering the weather we had to endure and amazingly we had 147 people sign up, not bad going.
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