Back with the old team

When I first started coaching in 1999 I had a group of private students who started with me as beginners and later graduated to regular full days of coaching on special venues. As I became busier working with children from local government agencies, my days with “the regulars” became less and less frequent but a recent series of government budget cuts has reduced my workload of disadvantaged young people and I intend to spend a little more time with these lads over the coming months.

So yesterday I took three of my old students plus one of their friends to the fishery managed by Weller of the Yard. I hardly recognised a couple of them as they had grown up so much – two years is a long time in a teenager’s life! – but was really looking forward to coaching them again. The previous day had been so cold I was glad I had chosen a shallow lake rather than one of the deeper local gravel pits that take a long time to warm up and get the tench feeding again.

I equipped them with heavy waggler rods and six pound line because of the large amount of lilly pads in the corner of the lake where we chose to fish. I started loose feeding with hemp and trout pellet whilst we set the rods up and talked about all that had happened in the last two years.

James was the first off the mark with a carp of six pound four ounces, a notable feat considering the swim he had chosen between two patches of lillies. He has developed into a capable angler and I like to think that I’m responsible for much of the groundwork.

James Gray and his carp

He followed it with a small tench which was closely examined by Les and his new puppy.

James and his tench examined by Les and his puppy

Russell was next with a fish, a small tench and soon my three old regulars were all catching fish. I was particularly pleased with Tayler Clark who did remarkably well with one of my centrepins after only a few pointers.

Taylor playing his first fish on a centrepin reel

I was very proud of the way he was beginning to master what is quite a difficult art, especially because I wind the line onto my centrepins so that it comes of the top and this means he had to learn to reel in backwards.

Tayler with his first tench on a centrepin
For those interested the reel is an Arnold Kingpin.

The best fish of the day was caught by Russell and was a personal best carp for him.

Group with Russel holding his carp
Russell with the group and his nine pound fifteen ounce carp.

The new lad Aaron, who had never been out with me before, was struggling but showed great character and patience while everyone else was catching and eventually started catching bream, two of them about three pound out of only six or so believed to be in the lake.

Aaron and his first bream

An excellent day with some old friends, all of whom caught plenty of fish and I hope we can repeat it again soon. These lads are ready for further challenges and I already have some ideas for new venues.