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01/06/24 - Coaching with Callum Dicks - Trendals Lake, Revels.

Before I get going, there’s a couple of news items I need to address.

The first is the points Championship table.

The last junior I need to make a slip up with their points is Jack Copp. I added his clothing bonus twice giving him five points more than he should have!

So, it’s Austin on 99 pts, Jack Copp on 92 pts, and Ollie with 90 pts…

I’ve bought a new abacus and read the instructions this time…

The other item of news is a warning.

The Mud-Slinger sees and hears all, and eventually the truth will come out.

At last years coaching with Callum day, one of the parents present turned to a chap that he didn’t know and asked if he knew much about fishing, thinking that he was a parent/Grandparent that he did not recognise. That ‘parent’ was none other than Paul Dicks, owner of Bristol Angling Centre and former England team manager.

Oh, how the hole could not have opened wide and quickly enough!

You have been found out, but discretion prevents me from naming and shaming…


It was Jason that said that I might need a lie down tonight after two days at Revels with the Shrimps.

I remarked that it would be more like crouching in the foetal position in the corner of a dark room, rocking gently to and fro mumbling incoherent incantations to myself.

To be honest I would settle for a decent foot massage from a dusky maiden. But I will probably get is the brush off from a dusty maiden instead…

Do you know what though, it was worth it.

Maver’s Callum Dicks had delivered once again, and I would have to put up with the phrase ‘Well, Callum said’ for the next twelve months if I dared to contradict anything that the great master had said. Not that I would, you understand.

The whole day started with Jason, Dean, and I staring into a cavernous cardboard box of goodies that had been sent from on high at Maver’s head office. They had come good for us with T-shirts, caps, and zip up tackle boxes. There were supposed to be some hand towels too, but they looked incredibly like more T-shirts to me. Not that it mattered, the generous gift in exchange for some very smart looking photos and action shots throughout the day was not a chore for our photogenic juniors.

The biggest decision of the day was where to position the flags and banners for maximum exposure of the lake in the background. May be the sight of a campers washing line full of undies wasn’t quite the image that Maver HQ was looking for, so the ‘stage’ was shifted further down Trendals lake. With high foliage and a little lake, it was tricky to get the water in, but we found a spot and left it at that.

Callum arrived with dad, Paul, in a downsized van from last year. It was good to see them both again and they were soon pressed into service inside the shop for the first of many photos. Callum in his casual tracky bottoms and T-shirt, and Jason dressed for arctic conditions in a Maver jacket that had appeared from nowhere.

Soon it was time for Callum to get his first look at a remarkably un-weeded Trendals lake. Some Grass Carp had been introduced into Trendals earlier in the year and had clearly been earning their keep. The lake had plenty of water in it and was looking very nice. Apart from a little mud on the campsite bank from the 200 years of a rain that we endured throughout the winter, Trendals was looking about as good as I have ever seen it. Kudos to the strimmer brothers, Dean, Ed, and Jason.

With Callum in situ, the Shrimps in their vivid green Maver regalia, and Jerry’s crazy eye brought under control by the use of prayers, meditation, and essential oils, it was time for yet more photos. This time before the juniors crisp green clothing was turned into mush by ground bait, fish slime, and whatever else children excrete during the day.

I quickly got the boring H&S bit out of the way before handing over the reins to our guest coach. Callum was straight into it from the off with his familiar way of talking to the kids that makes him such a hit and keeps us wanting him back time and time again.

The juniors were fixated and judging by the concentrated look on their faces, so were the coaches.

After running through some bait prep and explaining that you didn’t need ‘loads of bait to catch fish’, I thought that this was a good moment to reintroduce Callum to our very own bait flinging machine, Austin… If Austin does not get through enough bait to fill half a builder’s skip, then it isn’t a good day for him.

Callum turned his attention to the other stars of the day. The fish. With careful and precise feeding, he was soon into some small but very angry Carp. Proving that getting a rhythm into your feeding pattern is vital to keeping the bites coming, even if the float does not disappear straight away.

Watching Callum fishing it was easy to see why he has had the success he has over the years. Everything is deliberate, no unnecessary movements, just a smooth fish catching machine in action…and he wasn’t even trying!

A change of hook and a switch to meat brought more Carps gliding into his landing net, but the crowd was getting itchy and restless. They had done exceptionally well considering the amount of time they had been standing around, but when you have a World Champion at your disposal, they knew that it would pay off for them to listen.

Soon it was time to release the hounds, and like frightened mice, they scurried off to put what they had learned into practice. It wasn’t long before fish of all sizes were being extracted from the water with exciting regularity.

All the coaches moved into action helping where they could and being everywhere all at once. It was great to see and it’s one of the reasons why working with this team of great guys is so satisfying for me. Like a well-oiled machine, slightly aging, but well-oiled all the same…

With no peg numbers to work from, we’ll go round the lake and, by the use of interpretive dance, describe to you how the Shrimps were doing…

Reuben was in ‘Martin’s Electric Peg’. The swim where my late great mate was complaining that he had numb hands during a Christmas match one year. Oh, how we laughed when I pointed out that he had his pole resting on an electric fence in the rain. It's the little things that amuse the most….Well, I thought it funnier than he did…

Reuben was quietly snatching out little Carps, and some bigger Carps under the watchful gaze of Gentle Jon Bass, the silent assassin of Trendals. I think ‘Rubes’ enjoyed his day with the WC (World Champ, not water closet), and I think he’ll be putting it all into practice pretty soon…

Mia: Are You stalking me or something?

Me: Woah! Eh? What? No, eh? I was just watching you fishing. That’s what I do!

Mia: Just askin…

Me: I would really rather you didn’t actually!

Mia 1 v 0 Coach…and if that wasn’t bad enough, she whipped me across the eyeballs with her feeder rod! (Somethings, I confess, are fabricated. This bit is not!).

After seeing me suffering with feet that I no longer want, Uncle John offered me his seat to take the weight off my feet for a bit. Little did I know that I was sitting into a trap.

Once seated I thought, yes, this is nice. Then the attack came!

‘Watch me cast’ said little miss innocent and proceeded to show the coach her new skills. But instead of hitting the clip above her head as usual, Mia thought it far more efficient to use my face as a kind of soft brake for her feeder. Thank goodness for my lightning-fast reflexes akin to that of a lame badger, and the fact that I wear glasses.

I jest of course as it was purely an accident. My eyes were just in the wrong place at the right time…

I asked Callum to help Mia with her casting and even though he had no protective eyewear and with blatant disregard for his own eyesight, he bravely managed to coach her to such a level that she can now be classed as a competent caster.

Leo was having his own kind of day and one that would only stand so much talk. For a lad that likes to ‘do stuff’ rather than watch others do what he wants to do, one tutorial a day was enough. Not that he wasn’t interested, but it may have been the fact that lack experience meant that some things were ‘a little too deep’ for him. He was here to fish and fish he will! Callum spent some time with Leo the same as he did with everyone present, so I think Leo walked away with a little more knowledge than he arrived with. Even if that knowledge is that adult anglers tend to drone on a bit!!

Austin was on Callum’s seat box like he was playing musical chairs! The music stopped and ‘Whoosh!’, there was Austin!

Like Austin I always believe that, when attending a venue renowned for pole fishing, the best thing to do is to leave your pole at home. Why use your own pole when you can use a World Champions £3000 pole? Austin gave me palpitations when he appeared to almost loose his balance standing next to it, only to regain it before things got expensive! Hyper-poles are great to use, and Austin wasn’t letting this chance go begging for anyone!

Still with no haircut in sight for the foreseeable future, the human hairball had a great day until they were forced to leave because their car was poorly and needed to be shot. I think that’s right…

The above picture is proof that Alec WILL pose for a picture, but only when asked by a former world champion. That's where I've been going wrong! It was right that the noisy one would find a corner of the lake to fish. The incessant chatter is unbearable to most humans. Alec would have a great day and only narrowly missed out on a knockout final place the day before. I warned Callum that Alec would talk him to death, so he approached with extreme caution and offered the loan of a shallow rig as sign of friendship.

For someone for whom pole fishing is so new, Alec has grabbed it with both hands, shook it a bit, and beaten it into submission with increasing ease.

The Gallery of coaches watching from a safe distance are all starting to raise their eyebrows, scratch their chins, and nod at each other whilst making approving noises when it comes to Alec’s pole skills. He may watch from afar. He may talk not a lot. He may have the vocabulary of a Grimsby Dock Worker. But his fishing is definitely improving at an impressive rate….

Best picture of the day!

Oh George, how you steal our hearts. The Micro Match Angler is the smallest junior we have, but when he catches a fish of decent size, the whole complex knows about it! It is a pure joy to watch (and hear). I can imagine grazing cattle on the grass plains of Africa looking up as they chew the cud. Whilst in the background a flock of birds take to the wing when they hear a sound undetectable to humans. This is the residual echo of George landing a Carp over 3lbs…

For someone so young, George is putting everything into his fishing. I don’t think it will be that long before he is climbing the championship table, and frightening juniors much older than himself…

During a conversation about language with Kenzie’s mum, Tina…

Kenzie: I heard Graham say a bad word last week…

Me: (Looking bemused and rather stunned) I was YOU that caused that bad word!!!

Kenzie: (Now grinning)…

Kenzie took on board all of Callum’s casting advice and promptly ignored everything by casting clean across one of the islands and into Rueben’s swim. Clearly the widest peg on the whole lake was not wide enough, and it was time to annex part of Rubino's peg and call it his own. How you cast 35 yards across a lake and over an island and STILL get your feeder back is beyond comprehension. But Kenzie did it and I was a witness.

To be fair, Kenz had a good day, netting a few bonus Carp as he went. Tina got into a small child’s T-shirt (There was no child in it at the time) and asked if she could keep it whilst fluttering her eyelashes. How can one say no to that?

So, what did we learn today?

1. Callum is, not only a top angler, but a great bloke to boot.

2. Kenzie can make a saint swear.

3. Alec WILL pose for a photo. But only if Callum Dicks asks him to!

4. 11ft is the safest minimum distance to stand from a casting Mia.

5. George frightens birds on the Serengeti, from England!

6. A north westerly wind can make you dress and undress more times than a firefighter on Guy Fawkes night.

I’m a wordy kinda guy, but I’m struggling to find adequate words of gratitude with enough weight to express just how much I/we appreciate Paul and Callum’s willingness to travel for hours to spend the day with us. Maybe it is beyond words. I know that everyone appreciates your time and effort to forward the skills of our juniors. Long may it continue.

Thanks to Maver for the box of goodies! Most has been adopted and given a caring home.

Big thank you to Jason Fricker, his family, and the staff at Revels (Deano) for hosting us on Trendals. Long live the Grass Carp!

Kudos to my team of Bandoleros, Jerry, Tim, and Jon. Another great day my friends, well done and thank you always.

Thanks also to the Red Arrows who turned up EVENTUALLY! Next time, 12 noon means 12 noon! Ok?

I’m off to lay down in a cool dark room for at least 48 hours. Please do not disturb.

Take care all,

Juniors Sec…

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