Ramsbottom Angling Club's junior team - doing us proud
Ramsbottom reflections on the national junior canal championships - Sunday 15 September marked Ramsbottom Angling Association first representation in the Angling Direct junior canal national. Level 2 coach Dave Marshall looks back on the day.
Canal first timers
I can't tell you how proud I am of the four children representing our club. They set another milestone for our club, getting out there and having ago after having never fishing a canal until recently. As Stuart Conroy pointed out during an interview last week, it's imperative for youngsters to learn to fish all types of waters to become competent all-round anglers. Following advice from Paul Hughes and Sensas, all four children and parents spent the Saturday at the lido, making rigs, changing elastic and going through tactics. We started at 9.00am after having breakfast and finished at 8.30pm. That's dedication!
I got home and asked my daughter (Gabby) to put our bait on the bottom shelf of the fridge and soon hit the pillow. Sunday was match day and we were up at 5.00am and ready to go. I ventured into the shed to get the bait out the fridge to find only the big maggots and pinkies there; but no casters or squatts. Gabby had only gone and put them in the freezer and killed the lot. After a little bit of stress, my thinking head was on, not to worry Rory and Paul took half the bait home with them, so we could share that between us all and make do.
Journey to venue
We got picked up by Rodger and George at 6:30 loaded up in the rain and away we went. We meet up with Paul and Rory, then Nicola and Billy and in convoy, down the M6 we went. We soon arrived at the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal near the sleepy village of Church Eaton. We all arrived safely and in good time for breakfast and a few good laughs and to enjoy the atmosphere of the day.
Bait calamity part 2
At the draw Rory picked out peg 5 and Billy peg 9, these both being in the cadets' section.
George drew peg 35 and Gabby peg 84, this being in the junior (10 to 15-year-old) section. Time to sort bait out. Oh no, where's the bucket with all the bait in? The penny dropped, it was still sitting at my back door. Panic station back on, running around for bait, we did manage to get some bait to start the match with. Thanks to John Ellis, Peter Henery and Simon Mottram for helping us out with that while Roger drove to a tackle shop some miles away for additional supplies.
The match went well with every child in the event catching a fish or two.
That's fantastic and one big advantage of canals, if you know what you are doing a complete blank in the summer is unheard of. After the match we met back at the Royal Oak pub. When the results were read out Billy had come 11th in the cadet category with 60 grams. This young man has only been fishing for 6 to 8 weeks and his progress is fantastic, so well-done Billy keep up the good work, young fellow. As for Nicola, his mum, I'm sure you will be fishing the ladies Nationals in the next few years too.
On to young Rory, well what can I say about this young man? He's waited patiently for three years to fish a major national match. Aged 8, the time has finally come to debut in his first ever national competition. He plumbed the depth and fed his lines like he was told. At the end he weighed in with a fantastic weight of 960 grams, runner up behind winner Alfie Portman, missing out on first place by 40 grams. We are extremely proud of you Rory, you are a little-star in the making and a credit to your parents and the club.
13-year-old George only joined our coaching program in the middle of this year. It's his first-year fishing. He's one of the most dedicated young anglers I know, keen to learn; he eats and sleeps fishing. His mum reckons it's the only thing he talks about at the dining table. The young man has fished his socks off, picking the odd tiny fish up of each line to earn himself an impressive 730 grams of small fish (no bonus fish) this saw him grab 17th place in a very strong field of 68 other anglers in the junior category. Well done George.
Gabby is my eleven-year-old daughter. Once at her peg she set about her set up, her plumbing up, float choices and swim management showed me that what Paul had shown her had sunk in. To her right she had one of the England under 15 international squad. All she said was, I just want to beat him, she wasn't fazed one bit.
The whistle sounds and away she goes, feeding all her lines perfectly. An hour passes away with nothing in the net. She's worked he socks off, her first fish came down the track with a red maggot on the hook to a tiny roach, this settled her nerves, I went for a walk to leave her to it. After 30 minutes or so I came back to find she'd put a perch in the net. She kept at it all day, ending up with 450 grams; 23rd place out of a 68-strong field. She didn't manage to beat the lad to her right but did beat everyone to her left so well pleased.
Gabrielle is a massive credit not just to me, her mum but also to the club. She attends both weekly coaching sessions and enjoys passing on her knowledge and support to other youngsters coming into the sport too.
A few thank yous
I'd like to thank a few who made the day so special. To Paul Choppy for all his help on bringing all this together and supporting me. To Rodger for all the running around on the day.
Big thanks to Paul Hughes and Sensas. We can't wait to see you back again and help guide us as a club in getting more of our kids fishing canals. A massive thank you to John Ellis and Peter Henery at the Trust for all the hard work they have put into making the day as successful as it was. John has asked for the last three years for us to enter some of our juniors into this competition. He is a tenacious so and so! Now we have made this step we hope that many more of our juniors will compete next year. There won't be a bigger junior match in the whole country. See you there.