In­tro­duce a ju­nior to fish­ing – James Fur­ness

IYCF ed­i­tor James Fur­ness ex­plains why in­tro­duc­ing a child to angling is in­cred­i­bly easy and will be your best-ever ses­sion

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents - Words James Fur­ness Pho­tog­ra­phy Lloyd Rogers

LAST month it was re­ported that there had been a 53 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of ju­nior rod li­cences is­sued. A fan­tas­tic piece of news for the sport! This means that 79,000 kids have given fish­ing a try for the first time. This was the first time in as long as I can re­mem­ber that we haven’t had to read about de­clin­ing num­bers of ju­niors com­ing into the sport. So, to cel­e­brate, this Great Bri­tish Fish­ing fea­ture is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent than nor­mal. These fea­tures usu­ally fo­cus on a par­tic­u­lar venue that is fish­ing well or can of­fer an­glers some­thing out of the or­di­nary. But what could be greater than in­tro­duc­ing a new­comer to the won­der­ful world of fish­ing?

Keep it sim­ple

Look­ing at some an­glers on the bank, you’d be for­given for think­ing that you need to pur­chase half the con­tents of a tackle shop for a day’s fish­ing. But this couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. The kit needed to start a new­comer on their angling jour­ney is ac­tu­ally pretty min­i­mal. And if you can take them to a venue where they are guar­an­teed to catch a few fish you’ll cre­ate an angler for life. Chil­dren have so much ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy but there is still some­thing amaz­ing about catch­ing a fish. Ac­cess to the right venues and sim­ple tac­tics will en­sure they en­joy their time on the bank. Plonk a child be­hind a cou­ple rods on bite alarms and then wait

hours for a bite and they’ll soon lose in­ter­est. But if they are reg­u­larly catch­ing they will have a mem­o­rable day. They have no de­sire to catch a named carp or the big­gest fish in the lake. To them, any­thing ex­tracted from this mys­te­ri­ous un­der­wa­ter world is in­cred­i­ble. My eightyear-old son, Toby, loves study­ing the dif­fer­ent species. From the spiky-finned perch to sil­ver roach, he finds it fas­ci­nat­ing. The great thing about these species is that they are so sim­ple to catch. Fish with a top kit, whip or a wag­gler rod with mag­gots and you can catch small rav­en­ous perch and sil­ver fish all day long. There is no need for any­thing more com­pli­cated.

Ex­cite­ment awaits

The res­i­dents-only lake in my lo­cal vil­lage is typ­i­cal of venues which can be found all over the coun­try. It’s a few acres in size, with large beds of lily pads lin­ing the mar­gins and is stuffed with small fish as well as the oc­ca­sional tench and carp which may put in an ap­pear­ance at any mo­ment. It is these hordes of sil­vers and the con­stant bites they pro­vide which make a venue ideal for any new­comer. Not only does it keep them in­ter­ested it en­ables them to quickly get the hang of skills such as strik­ing and feed­ing. Reg­u­larly cat­a­pult­ing out a few mag­gots close to the lilies and fish a sin­gle or double mag­got hook­bait just be­low the sur­face and it won’t take long to start get­ting bites. There’s some­thing in­cred­i­bly nos­tal­gic about fish­ing like this. I can clearly re­mem­ber my first fish­ing trip, catch­ing roach on a wag­gler with my grandad. The ex­cite­ment of watch­ing a float tip dis­ap­pear never fades. What­ever form of angling you even­tu­ally end up pur­su­ing, the kid in­side you will al­ways get a buzz from this sim­plest of angling plea­sures. I’d told Toby ear­lier in the week that I’d pick him up from school on Friday and we’d

“Fish with a top kit and mag­gots and you’ll catch sil­ver fish all day long”

go fish­ing for a few hours be­fore tea. I left work early in the af­ter­noon, bought a pint of mag­gots on the way home and by 4pm we were set-up in a beau­ti­ful peg lined with reeds on ei­ther side and large lily pads in front. I showed Toby where to cat­a­pult a few mag­gots – I think get­ting to use a cat­a­pult is ac­tu­ally one of the things he loves most about fish­ing – and he then shipped out a top kit with a ready rig and double mag­got hook­bait at­tached. Within sec­onds the float darted un­der but his ex­cited strike was met with thin air. The rig was low­ered back into po­si­tion and the same thing hap­pened for the next few bites. But he quickly got the hang of just gen­tly lift­ing the pole up when the float went un­der and was soon land­ing small roach after small roach. We’d just landed a perch when one of Toby’s school friends came past our peg while walk­ing his dog with his mum.

“We’re fish­ing!” Toby shouted to him. “Come and look what we’ve caught.” They both looked on with in­ter­est as I showed them the perch’s spiky fins and stripes on its body. And this is the magic of fish­ing through a child’s eyes. They would have been no more amazed by a 40lb carp than this palm-sized perch. We ended up with more roach, a cou­ple of skim­mers and two crack­ing lit­tle rudd all on two red mag­gots fished up in the wa­ter. My favourite fish­ing trips are these few hours at a time I spend on the bank with Toby. So if you’ve got a fam­ily mem­ber or friend who has shown an in­ter­est in fish­ing, try and in­tro­duce them to our sport this sum­mer. Trust me, you’ll love it as much as they do.

Ready rigs don’t cost a lot and make set­ting up much eas­ier

Reg­u­lary feed mag­gots to keep fish feed­ing up in the wa­ter

You only need mag­gots for bait

Rudd pro­vide great sport when fish­ing shal­low

A net of mixed species caught in just a cou­ple of hours – great fun!

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