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Olivia Seymour: a developing prospect

More than 50 girls took part in the 2023 national celebration, breaking the record from the previous year. This is the story of one of them, 12-year-old Olivia Seymour brought to you in her own words.

Angler Olivia Seymour

An ongoing theme at both the national celebration of young people and fishing, and Daiwa Global Communities celebration events are the excellent performances of the female participants.

In Olivia's words

In the beginning

My name is Olivia and I’m 12 years old. I first started fishing at the age of eight. My dad used to take me up our local Woodhall Lake Bulwell which is full of big silvers like roach and perch. I soon got the fishing bug and the following year I started attending some fun junior matches run by Ian Wilks, a Let’s Fish! coach at Aldercar Lane fishery. Whilst having regular coaching sessions with dad, I fished several of the Aldercar matches that year to get more match experience.

Worksop beckons

When I turned 11, the opportunity emerged to try out for a place in the Worksop Juniors team, managed by former England junior international, Marc Foy. These trials were to see if I could get selected to be part of the squad and ideally the actual team itself to fish in the 2022 Angling Trust junior national held at Westwood Lakes. Pleasingly, I was picked in the final team of six and at 11 years old fished in the junior age group in this, my debut national. We had the youngest average age of any team and finished up in 5th spot which we all felt was a really pleasing result. I ended up 20th overall individually.

Rolls Royce of fishing

As well as fishing for Worksop that year, I became a member of dad’s club, Rolls-Royce Raynesway AC and started attending their club matches, competing against adults and from time to time beating some of them in the process. All the pressure is on them and none of me in these circumstances. This year I managed to fish quite a few of these matches as well as participating in some open contests where I’ve managed to win some section money! It’s been challenging at times but great experience fishing in adult matches. I can’t think of many sports where young people can compete against adults.

National medals

In what most observers consider a sensible move, Angling Trust introduced a cadet category in the national championships for young people aged 10 to 12. I was again selected for the Worksop gang, this time in this new cadet age group, the venue being at Tunnel Barn Farm. I was selected captain of the team. We finished joint first on points but missing out on gold by having fewer section wins, ending up in silver medal position which was a fantastic achievement. I finished 4th overall just missing out on a bronze medal. For good measure I was the highest placed girl in my age category.

National Celebration debut

Olivia Seymour holding trophy

In September of this year I participated in my first Canal & River Trust national celebration event on the Shropshire Union Canal, again captaining my Worksop team in the young junior age (11 &12 years) category. Teammates were Thomas Whittingham and Jake Whitfield. This was only the second time I had fished a canal so had to learn fast from the practise match Marc Foy arranged the week before. I struggled a bit but thinking back, I learnt so much on that practise day that meant I was much better prepared for the big day.

As I get a bit older, I’m beginning to realise that the sessions that don’t go quite to plan are the ones that can be the most valuable. I don’t suppose there is anyone who fishes who doesn’t have plenty of learning days. Back to the big day itself and to cut a long story short, our team of three won the event with three consistent weights. I was 5th overall in my age category weighing exactly 2 kgs, again the highest placed girl in the category with Freya Sullivan in hot pursuit, just 80 grams adrift of me.

Future plans

I just want to continue learning and reach my full potential. Hopefully I can push myself and take my fishing to the next level. Fishing is a sport with plenty of genuine people to guide you on the journey. I must confess I really like the competition side of fishing, it’s just exciting and for me it adds an additional purpose to the day. When you are fishing for a team you have to show up and give it your best shot, even if you perhaps don’t always feel like it.

Doing well is great, but so in the long run is learning from others and for your own errors of judgement when you don’t make the best of the peg you have drawn. Learning from experience is how people in all sports improve over time. I’ve noticed that the same people don’t win all the time in fishing, and there’s a useful lesson in that for us all, i.e., keep plugging away because if you persevere and with the help of a good peg draw and a little slice of luck here and there, your time will come. When it does, savour it, for it may be a while before the next big result arrives.

Following on from the national celebration, I’m excited to have been invited to fish the Daiwa sponsored Global Community’s celebration match and selected to be captain of the English Girls Orange Team alongside Maddison Whittaker and Holly Bailey. There are some strong teams in the young junior category and we will certainly have our work cut out to challenge last years young junior team champions, the English Girls Red team captained by Lottie Clarke.

Last Edited: 08 November 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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