My Let’s Fish year by Oscar Dix aged 11

I always wanted to go fishing when I was younger, but neither me and my dad had ever been fishing before. I think dad wanted to take me, but I guess he just didn’t know where to go or how to actually fish.

Oscar with hard fighting perch Oscar with hard fighting perch

First Let’s Fish event

My aunty Gloria saw an advert on Facebook for a free Let’s Fish learn to fish event on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Middleport which we booked in for. We arrived and were greeted and shown to a coach for my fishing lesson. I was impressed at how much equipment there was and all the different types of bait etc. The coach was very friendly and showed me how to set up the short pole, attach the bait on to the hook plumb the depth and cast the rig out without it all tangling up.

First fish

Large perch at Middleport Feb 2019

It didn’t take long before I saw a bob on the float and the coach told me to pull up. On the end of the hook was a lovely fish. I asked the coach what type of fish it was and it was a perch; it my first fish. After that, the float kept bobbing, the fish kept coming and by the end I had caught seven fish. I think everyone else there at the same time as me caught something too.

Starter kit

Coach Peter, the man who gave me the free starter kit hard at work

At the end, the lead coach, a man called Peter was kind enough to give me for free a whip rod and a rig so I could go and practice on my own. I then started going to fish down at the canal on my own with the rod, rig and advice that I was given. Using all of that, I managed to catch three fish on my first attempt. I waited a month and I caught more fish than I ever expected to until my next fishing lesson came.

Coach Josh

At that second lesson, my coaches name was Josh. He introduced me to a new bait called squatts, which were smaller maggots. Josh explained that the fish would eat the small squatts but it would take them ages to get full, but if they saw a huge maggot in the middle of the squatts and they would eat it as it would fill then up quicker. What he said was true because by fishing with a pinkie maggot on the size 20 hook and throwing in a few squats every now and then, I had caught an amazing 10 fish in half an hour, which was the length of that second fishing lesson. That’s one fish every three minutes and we missed a couple of bites too.

More Let’s Fish sessions

I ended up going to five learn to fish lessons in total in 2018 each with different coaches teaching me different tips. I caught fish every time and got better at fishing. I have caught many fish of different sizes and varieties from perch, to roach, to gudgeon and even a signal crayfish

What a scary looking creature that was with its nippy claws. You are not allowed to put these non-native creatures back into the canal, so the coach said he would deal with it at the end of the day.

My record number of fish in a session has changed a lot as I have got better and learnt more skills at fishing. I can’t wait to book into the next lot of Let’s Fish events which fingers crossed will start in the Easter school holidays when the weather gets warmer.

Roach of the day Middleport November 2018 Roach of the day Middleport November 2018

Future fishing dreams

I hope to learn more this year and compete in the national junior competition this year too. Luckily the place where the match is being held is not too far from where we live in Staffordshire. I want to learn about new fish and try to catch more different species of fish. Eventually I want to catch fish in different places all around the world. I wound not have started to fish if it wasn't for the learn to fish lessons near to where my dad lives. It is something that we can both enjoy together now and we always look to try to better the amount of fish we catch. My record is 18 in 3 hours, which will take some beating. Fingers crossed I can do it in 2019.


Support other youngsters like Oscar to enjoy their very first fish 

While all our Let's Fish! events are free to attend, as the charity that looks after and cares for 2,000 miles of canals an rivers, we also care about the people who use and enjoy our waterways every day to make their lives happier and healthier.

Go to our donate page to support our work now.

Last date edited: 7 March 2019