Giving Something Back
On many occasions last year, I experienced first hand, how rewarding it is to impart angling knowledge to keen youngsters wishing to take up the sport. Having qualified as an angling coach, this was carried out on a professional basis through forward thinking schemes run by the Lough’s Agency.
Guiding a youngster from not knowing what a bale arm is, to being able to cast with a degree of accuracy in the space of half an hour, or demonstrating how to simply attach a hook for the first time, can be extremely rewarding.
With this in mind, I was delighted to receive an email from the editor of Irish Angler magazine asking if I would be prepared to take a young lad coarse fishing for the day. This young fellow’s name is Andrew and he is as “keen as mustard” as they say in the North. Although he fishes the Broadwater in Moira whenever possible, he was looking for some advice and direction, as locally this is apparently in short supply.
After a chat on the phone with his mum to break the ice and discuss possible ways to proceed, I needed to find a suitable venue that not only had plenty of fish, but also, was safe and accessible. I did not have far to look as Polehill Fisheries in Newtownards fitted the bill perfectly. Owned and managed by Harry McKee, there are three, well stocked lakes with another two currently under construction. As Harry owns several tackle shops, we arranged to meet in his recently acquired unit in Bangor prior to heading for the lakes.
A generous gift to Andrew from the magazine and contributors
This would give me the opportunity to top up my tackle box, purchase some bait for the day, and pick up useful information as to how the waters were currently fishing. As there was a cool, north-east wind blowing, I opted for the “mixed” fishery lake rather than the carp lake, as this would almost guarantee a few fish in the bag.
On arrival at the fishery, I presented Andrew with an array of tackle that left him speechless! The editor had sent up some bait additives, a mixing bowl and sieve from Dynamite Baits, along with a carp chair and fold away bivvy from Dennett’s. Fellow magazine contributor, Ian Kitson kindly donated a rod holdall, match rod, bank sticks, keep net and landing net, keep net bag, mixing bowl, line, hooks and split shot and the magazine also gave sponsorship by way of maggots, floats, and a lovely little bait runner reel. Andrew was totally bowled over. It was now my job to show him how to use all this equipment.
It is important to be comfortable
At our designated “peg”, we settled in with the carp chair in position and rod rests suitably placed to allow the rod to rest with the tip just breaking the surface. This kept the line below the water and away from potential surface drag that would pull the float and bait through the swim at an un-natural pace.
Before setting up, I demonstrated how to wet and mix the basic ground bait, using two parts standard crumb with one part continental mix. Once mixed to a fluffy texture, we allowed this to soak, and began setting the rod up for “waggler” tactics. Later, the ground bait was sieved to give a perfect mix.
With the waggler set- up complete and correctly shotted leaving a quarter of an inch showing, I was able to show Andrew how to plumb the depth using a swan shot attached to the hook as a plumb weight. It is vitally important to know the exact depth of the swim you are about to fish.
If you are fishing a venue for the first time, and wish to feed the area, a good guideline is to introduce maggots or crumb to the “swim” on a little but often basis. This avoids disruption and will give you a feel of the situation before you decide whether to increase or decrease the quantities of bait.
I explained the benefits of over-casting when fishing shallow venues. Cast well beyond the chosen area, bury the rod tip and quickly retrieve a few turns to sink the line, and then, slowly draw the float into the baited area. Avoiding un-necessary disturbance will help settle the swim until fish come on the feed and gain confidence.
Once the depth had been accurately set, I fed a couple of small balls of feed around the float, followed by catapulting half a dozen maggots and some Dynamite micro pellets over the area. With no bites forth coming, I think Andrew was a little concerned, but I assured him that this is all part and parcel of building a productive swim. Fifteen minutes of “little but often” and the float buried resulting in a fin perfect Rudd and a beaming grin from my new apprentice. This approach worked well, as it so often does, and Andrew began to settle in to the rhythm of casting, burying the line, feeding, and lifting into another fish as Rudd, Roach and Perch queued to be caught. His casting accuracy was a little erratic at first, due more to nerves than anything else. Speaking from experience, it is not easy when someone is standing, and watching every move. To give the youngster credit, he soon got to grips with it and began to build up a decent bag of fish.
Andrew's sister Anna, delighted with her first Rudd
When mum and the two sisters returned, I set up another rod and persuaded six-year-old Anna to try her luck. She soon hooked into a fish and was delighted to catch her first ever Roach, as mum jokingly groaned in the background “not another one hooked on fishing”. The day was a complete success and Andrew was a delight to teach. He was polite, pleasant and courteous; a credit to his parents, and he took on board all I had to say when it came to angling instruction. I would like to offer my thanks to all those who sponsored tackle items and for the use of his fishery, all of which contributed to a successful day out.
Andrew says “many thanks to Irish Angler magazine, the contributors that donated all the fabulous fishing tackle and to Terry for a great day coarse fishing. I learnt loads, from how to set up a float, shotting patterns, how to plumb the depth, how to feed a swim, casting and un-hooking, it was all fantastic and I can’t wait to try it out back home on the Broadwater”.