As the Trust's award winning Let's Fish programme goes from strength to strength, a steady number of new coaches are coming on board, keen to pass on their knowledge and passion to the next generation.
Getting into fishing
It all started when I saw my work colleague Edward reading a salmon Angling magazine. I questioned him about it which led to a very interesting conversation about how he used to fish as a boy with his father. Now in his twenties, he has taken up salmon fishing as his main discipline. I mentioned how I was intrigued by the anglers I had seen fishing at the Calder & Hebble Canal close to where I lived as a young boy and always wanted to try it out.
Fathoming it all out
Ed generously donated all his coarse fishing tackle to me that he'd owned since his youth. It wasn't easy from there, as trying to work out how to use the rods, reels, etc took many hours. Lots of time was spent on the canal trying to work out and experiment how things would work. I asked passer- by whether they could help me, some had a little idea but most like me didn't have a clue. If only there had been a Let's Fish programme back then.
Trip to the library
Eventually I decided to visit the library for books on fishing. However, these books gave me a vague understanding, rather than the depth I wanted. I noticed the angling magazines at the local newsagents and bought them regularly for up to date information and guidance. I still have them in my loft to this day, I wonder if any are collectors' items yet?
Bryan to the rescue
I was trying to fish on the canal one day when an older man called Bryan who was fishing near me called out. He helped me and told me all about Thornhill Angling Club, the rod licenses and other basics which I was unaware of at that time. From this chance meeting, I went on and joined the club. This opened the doors of knowledge from the older, seasoned match anglers. I went to Argos and bought myself a whip kit then came my first serious canal session where I understood what I was doing. I caught 52 fish, it was a mix of roach and perch. Fishing to hand, feeding little and often just as the match-men had suggested. I was hooked.
I started off with the whip and then went onto the take apart pole which I purchased from the famous Roger at the used tackle store in Nottingham, along with other necessary bits and pieces of tackle. I did this for many years, exclusively on canals. In 2007, I met Lee who worked near to me and he was a rod and line angler since childhood.
Rivers and commercials
Lee and I started river fishing, feeder and classic long trotting with a centre-pin. We also fished commercials, which were a new concept to us back then. My favourite technique would be centre-pin trotting for grayling, chub or barbel on rivers such as the Nidd, Wharfe and Swale. My favourite fish species would be roach and rudd of a quality stamp because of their rarity and the skill needed to target and catch them, in any numbers at least.