Across the water with the PAA
Last weekend I went to Londonderry with the PAA as guests of the Loughs Agency on their two day Angling Fair. The idea was to show them our style of coaching as they are in the process of establishing their own coaching network. Unfortunately there was no water available on the site so all the physical activities such as casting had to be done on grass and various other activities were carried out in a marquee. Derek North had asked me to teach basic fly casting ( a subject I was a little rusty in). Waggler and feeder casting were also covered outside.
Coaching a young fly fisherman
Coaching waggler casting
Coaching feeder casting
Inside the tent tables had been arranged around the walls and pike, pole, carp and general coarse fishing as well as sea fishing and fly tying, demonstrations were given.
Teaching how to tie sea fishing rigs
Pole fishing instruction
Fly tying instruction
Carp rig clinic
Youngsters being shown insects and crustaceans
The Loughs Agency complex in Londonderry is very impressive and we were all very jealous of their facilities, especially the displays under a domed roof concerning the salmon, its life style and environment. We were made very welcome by everyone we met and apparently our contribution was well received by the public who seemed to flock to the site despite the showers. The Broomhill hotel we stayed in was very comfortable, the food excellent and the service superb. The picture below shows what they had to put up with but it gives no indication of the weird senses of humour that the hotel staff will probably tell their grandchildren about.
The only letdown in the whole experience was the travelling. I left home at 3.15 a.m. on Friday morning and drove to Pershore near Worcester with Lee Blundell. Here we met Derek North who had organised the whole thing. With several other coaches we piled into a mini bus and a van and drove to near Preston where we picked up some more coaches. Then on to Scotland where near Lockerbie we picked up two more of the team and on to Stranraer for the ferry. A very fast crossing on the Seacat took us to Belfast with only the drive right across Ulster to Londonderry to complete.
We set up the stands for the next day at the Loughs Agency and finally reached the hotel at 9.30pm where they offered us a full dinner menu without batting an eye. After two days of coaching we were worried about the return journey, as the weather forecast was full of gale warnings and we were convinced that the ferry would be cancelled. The gales failed to materialise and the return journey went without a hitch… but still took nearly fourteen hours.
Great fun, a great welcome, wonderful people and good company! What more could you want?