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Thomas Charlton's Let's Fish! journey

Thomas attended his first Lets Fish! event on the 7 August as a surprise for his seventh birthday. Having taken a keen interest in fishing from watching his grandad, he couldn’t wait to have a go himself. Thomas fished on the canal that day and caught 11 fish. He was immediately hooked! This story is brought to you by his mum.

Thomas Charlton's Let's Fish! year

Emerald Isle

Not long after attending the Let's Fish! introductory event we went on holiday to Ireland where Thomas went fishing with his grandad. It was the perfect location for a very keen little angler! He fished every day, all day. He absolutely loved it and was soon holding and netting the fish and casting in by himself. He caught lots of roach, perch and skimmers, each day growing in excitement and confidence!

Catch of the Month Success

After the Ireland trip, we went camping in Staffordshire and again Thomas spent all week fishing on the lodge with his stepdad. Whilst his siblings played on the park, all Thomas wanted to do was fish! He caught lots of carp, with his favourite being mirror carp.

Every “big” fish he caught, he had to have a picture! We entered Thomas into the Canal & River Trust photo competition, with his favourite picture, of him and “Big Barry”. We were delighted to find out Thomas had placed runner-up and was awarded a free entry into the National Celebration of Young People and Fishing.

Thomas with massive carp

Getting ready for the big day

In preparation for the celebration, Thomas attended a few more Let's Fish! events. All the events were very well-organised and informative. The Let's Fish! coaches were very friendly and fantastic in helping Thomas prepare for the upcoming celebration. They also put us in contact with our local fishing club, Ramsbottom Angling Club.

We didn't know it at the time, but we couldn't have wished for a better club to support Thomas! The club have been invaluable to Thomas from the very beginning. From the coaches to the young people who fish, all have welcomed him into the club with open arms. They have been a fantastic support, from lending equipment, to coaching and helping Thomas improve his fishing skills.

He loves being part of such a great club and a special thank you to Dave Marshall and Allan Dye for all their support thus far!

Thomas at Let's Fish!

National Celebration day arrives

The National Celebration took place on Saturday 17 September on the beautiful Shropshire Union canal. This was Thomas' first ever competition and having only started fishing five or six weeks ago, we thought Thomas might be a little nervous. But he was quite the opposite! He was so excited and eager to fish, we told him it was for fun and to enjoy himself, and that he certainly did!

Thomas took part in the cadet section for those aged between seven and ten years, alongside over 80 other youngsters. Having only turned seven a few weeks prior, we believe he may have been the youngest participant in the whole event. Despite the cold and windy weather, Thomas watched his float like a hawk. He fished at three metres and continued to catch throughout the match. He caught gudgeon, perch, roach and rudd.

Weigh in

Thomas absolutely loved the whole experience and was very excited to weigh in with a fantastic weight of 600 grams. We attended the ceremony afterwards and Thomas was delighted to place 32 out of 90 children in the cadet section. Even better, his team “Rammy Small Fry” (Amelia Paynter, Sadie Thomas and our Thomas) to place second in their team efforts. Thomas was so happy, he did fantastically well, and we are so proud of him.

National Celebration award ceremony

The National Commonwealth Communities Celebration

Following on from the celebration, Thomas was then invited to fish in the Commonwealth Celebration in October, representing the English East Midlands team. He drew peg 7, which he was very happy about, his reasoning being he is 7 years old and thought that would bring him luck! He fished for most of the time at three metres and continued to catch steadily throughout the match.

When the whistle blew, Thomas couldn't wait to find out his weight. He went all along the bank watching the weigh in, and he was very excited to see all the fish everybody had caught. When it was his turn to put his fish on the Reuben Heaton scales, he was very happy to find he had caught 580g.

We attended the celebration afterwards and Thomas was delighted to find out his team had finished joint first on points and so it went down to weight and thus the was awarded second place on weight, just over 200 grams behind the Welsh team comprising Dylan Dowman, Travis Couch and Jacob Sayer. Thomas spent the whole car journey home holding his trophy with pride!

Thomas at Commonwealth Celebration

A big thank you to Canal & River Trust for running the Let's Fish! events and to Ramsbottom Angling Club, who have been a fantastic support to Thomas in many ways. Of course, also to his grandad and step-dad, who regularly take Thomas out fishing and have enabled him to develop a love for fishing.

We are really proud of Thomas and how he has done in his first few months of fishing, receiving two second place trophies in his first two competitions is an incredible achievement. We are very much looking forward to watching how much Thomas progresses over the following years!

Tight Lines!

Last Edited: 10 January 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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