I was asked by a secondary school in Stockport if I would run a Fly Fishing day as an end of year Enrichment Activity. I remember having these days many moons ago when I was in my teens and spending many of them at Alton Towers or Drayton Manor Park. Looking back, if someone offered me the chance to go fishing at the end of the year, I would have jumped at it, and if used as a reward I would probably have got better GCSE grades!
So I gave the Bob Davies the organising teacher a date for the end of July with a limit of ten young people, thinking that he would be lucky to fill it against the more glamorous options available. How wrong was I? Two days later Bob emailed me back saying that it was one of most popular activities and could we cope with a few more or even another day!?!!
A second day was booked and numbers on each was raised to 12. Over the two days 24 young people came to Marton Heath Trout fishery in Cheshire. It coincided with the only bit of summer we have had this year! It was good to see lads and girls of all ages enjoying the countryside and fishing.
Many had never fished before. From past experience of running junior courses a change of activity throughout the day keeps the interest there. So after the usual health and safety talk and quick casting demo the students tackled their rods up and began to have a go at fly casting in pairs. Success soon followed with many putting a nice line out with ease. Prior to lunch the pieces of wool were replaced with flies and the fishing began. It wasn’t until after lunch that the first fish came to the net and soon more followed. Even the Rudd in the pools were willing to make an appearance. At 3pm it was all over and off the students returned to school.
It in a modern era of computers, phones and other distractions it was great to see a group of young people enjoying being out in the countryside. The fishing was tough but this didn’t dampen their spirits. Not one gave up and not one of them resorted to the techno comfort of the mobile phone!!
So this summer holiday take the opportunity to get a young person out and about fishing. Remember keep the sessions short. Two – three hours is long enough. Don’t fish yourself- I remember my Grandpa taking me- he buggered off for 4 hours and left me to thrash the water to a foam, getting in to an almighty tangle, getting fed up and waiting ages for some help! Find a balance between letting them have a go and doing it all for them!
The alternative? Find a local fly fishery that runs junior courses. A great way for them to taste fly fishing in the hands of the experts.
Those of you that live Cheshire way then take a look at Marton Heath Trout fishery where I will be running two junior days one on Friday 24th August and Friday 2nd November. Details on my website www.flyfishingtuitioncheshire.co.ukAndy Taylor