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Stanley Lafferty. The lad whose only sport is fishing

Stanley’s introduction to fishing began at a Let’s Fish! event at Meadow Lakes, facilitated by Northampton Nene Angling Club (NNAC). He turned up with his mum. I had never seen such a patient child fishing before. He was very attentive and always kept his eye on the float, almost willing it to dip. After a short while he caught his first fish and at that moment was hooked. This is his story, from coach Sue Galloway.

Stanley Lafferty

Joining the NNAC Club

Mum purchased his membership club card on the bank, and Stanley began attending the club's coaching and junior match events. He was absolutely thrilled to receive a starter kit which enabled him to continue fishing when he was not at club activities.

Canal & River Trust National Celebration 2021

The call for participants to form teams was disseminated to all the NNAC junior members. Stanley's mum felt that he was not quite ready to participate in this event just yet, but that a future appearance would be possible. However, Stanley continued to attend the NNAC activities, improving all the time, fishing the 2022 winter and summer leagues.

Canal & River Trust National Celebrations of Young People & Fishing 2022

A year later, Stanley is no longer the shy child we first met in 2021. He was now chatty with loads of canal fishing experience to back him up. Mum drove Stanley to Shropshire and at that time she was a non-angler who supported him as well as she could.

It being his first-time fishing at this event as a cadet, (for those aged between 7 and 10) he was not sure what to expect, but he was ready for the day. He fished as he always did with 3 and 4 metre whips, baiting with pinkies and maggots with ground bait over the top.

He was extremely excited when he caught the sought-after roach and gudgeon which ensured him winning a Let's Fish! cap and the renowned Fjuka gudgeon mug. He managed a respectable weight of 0.44kg for 50th place and Stanley said, “I felt really proud of myself at the junior celebrations.”

Stanley participating in National Celebration

Surprise call for the Commonwealth Communities Celebrations, October 2022

“I was really happy that I was able to attend to fish for Team Kenya.”

After his promising performance in September's National Celebration, Stanley was on the reserve list for the end of season Commonwealth Communities event. Close to the event, one of the Kenyan team was unable to attend and Stanley was duly selected as the third team member.

It was a step-up into the young junior age group, which did not phase the young fellow. As his mum was working on that day, a lift was arranged with Lottie Clarke and her dad. Stanley drew peg 81, pegged between sibling Team Kenya members, Zion and Jahreigne.

Supported by coach, Lewis Kenyon, Stanley couldn't wait for the all in to sound.

He fished steadily and methodically, always keeping his eye on the float and caught fish consistently throughout the day. Stanley said,” I used Noir ground bait, red maggots, squatts and pinkies.

My favorite fish to catch was skimmer bream. “I really enjoyed these celebrations, the atmosphere on the towpath and at the village hall was brilliant. I thought the Team Kenya coach Lewis was really nice, helpful and so supportive. My teammates were also great, and they were pulling out loads of fish.”

Team Kenya at Commonwealth Communities Celebrations

Team Kenya, 8th place pictured with team manager Lewis Kenyon.

A beaming Stanley was seen weighing in a whopping 1.35kg to see him place 10th individual out of the 51 young juniors and helping Team Kenya finish in an amazing 8th place overall. The images below are Stanley's trophy and bag weighed in at the Commonwealth Communities Celebration.

Even more rewarding was him receiving the John Ellis most improved young junior runner-up trophy.

“I felt really proud and happy for myself, as I never thought I could possibly do so well and get that trophy.”

Stanley has now enrolled on to the friendly NNAC junior winter league, where he aims to give Lottie Clarke a run for her money over the next few weeks. They say if you are keen enough to fish in winter, you will have an interest in fishing for life. I'm sure that will turn out to be true in Stanley's case.

Stanley’s first fish

Last Edited: 29 December 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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