My next visit to Get Hooked on Fishing fell on half term which meant that there was no scheduled group of school children organised for that day. Instead, myself and Tony, a retired keen angler turned coach, were to offer our advice and assistance to anyone who fancied a go. It was a pretty miserable day as far as the weather was concerned with drizzly rain and wind forecast. However, in my experience, this can mean a good days fishing. Despite the rain, being a school holiday there was plenty of people at the venue for a day out. One of the great qualities of the site is that it’s situated in a public park attracting plenty of young families who are often drawn to the lakes.
There were two young families who were keen to get stuck in; the first family of two brothers of 6 and 9 had both never fished before and the second family of two boys and a girl between 8 and 12 had only been once or twice. We got a bucket of maggots and set up 5 simple rods called whips. Whips are the ideal option for beginners as there is no reel involved, just a rod with line attached to the tip. This makes casting and landing the fish as hazard free as possible. Nevertheless there will always of course be plenty of tangles. I was to take the two brothers, Kane, 6 and Drew, 9 to see if we could catch them their first fish. I took them to a great spot on one of the lakes which always produces plenty of fish. Within minutes Kane had landed his first fish, a small rudd of about 2 ounces. Although he did struggle slightly with his casting, for a 6 year old, he wasn’t at all bad and was completely fearless of the wriggly maggots or the fish. Drew was yet to catch a fish, so I told him to try an area by some reeds, a classic fish hot spot. In just a few seconds another small rudd sank the float and Drew struck the rod as if he had hooked a monster! Not surprisingly the poor fish came flying out the lake but unlike his younger brother, Drew was not so keen on holding it for a picture so I unhooked and released it myself. With the bait steadily trickling in we had fish after fish and Kane managed to catch a half pound roach, a fish which seemed gigantic when compared with the previous catches. However, this was not to be the largest fish that graced the bank that day and Kane and Drew were in for a real surprise.
In the swim next to us a large splash sounded as another young angler had hooked the largest species of fish on the complex, the illusive carp. Before this the angler had only caught small silver fish up to 1 pound so the pressure was on as he knew he had a personal best on the other end of the line. I told Drew and Kane to stop fishing for a moment as they would not want to miss seeing this fish close up. The carp of around 4 pound put up a good scrap but after some time he managed to net the fish with some relief. The look on the young anglers face was pure euphoria and it reminded me of catching my first carp. Drew and Kane were both very excited and couldn’t quite believe that they could catch a fish of this size and it spurred them on to get straight back to it. With all the excitement of the large capture, the fish in our swim were spooked so it was on to the next lake with the other family where the sport was great for the rest of the day. Both Drew and Kane were really getting the hang of it and Kane was able to hook on the maggots and unhook the fish himself. Sadly Drew couldn’t pluck up the courage to hold a fish but that didn’t stop him enjoying himself.
Eventually the wind and rain did take its toll and it was time to take the lines out the water. We gave both families plenty of information about upcoming fishing events in the future and they all seemed very keen to take up the sport. From talking to the father of Drew and Kane it appeared he finds it hard to encourage his children to go outside and away from the video games. I began explaining how once a child is hooked on fishing they will choose a day on the bank over a sofa every time. We could safely say the day was another success as we had most definitely got both families hooked on fishing.
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