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08/06/24 - Coaching with Jon Bass - Trendals Lake, Revels.

Updated: Jun 12

George had beaten me to it today and was fishing even before I arrived.

Sadly, Ed and George could not stay for the coaching session and had set up on Middle Lake. So I popped down to see how they were getting on. They hadn’t caught anything so far and I looked at the tackle and how they were fishing. You can tell they are learning fast because everything seemed just right. I stayed with them for ten-minutes or so, until George had snared a hungry Perch which made him very happy.

It was left to Gentle John and I to tackle the Tsunami of juniors descending once more on Revels Fishery for of several reasons.

Jerry was off to watch big men in tight shorts chasing odd-shaped balls. Si was invading the north. Chris wanted to put as much distance between himself and the juniors as possible and left the country, Neil had gone AWOL, Tim was doing ‘Tim things’, and Nigel was busy doing taxi-ing. We had roped in the help of the coaching foetus, Ollie Smith. He turned up mainly to insult the lead coach by offering him ‘a fight’ at regular 15 -minute intervals throughout the day.

Once had assembled, Gentle Jon gave a thoroughly interesting tutorial about catching silverfish on an elasticated whip. All was going well until some rather insensitive marauding Carplets tried to ruin the ‘Silverfish’ theme of this part of the session. Jon battled on against unwelcome Carp, and overly chatty juniors.

Once the tutorial was over, we turned back to the fishing to see if Jon’s teachings would be a comparable measure to that of Callum’s a week earlier.

Seven days ago, the fish were more than willing to throw themselves at our world champion guest coach. However, it was a different story with this weeks offering.

Trendals inhabitants had never seen Callum before and may have been taken with a cat-like inquisitiveness, but Jon had probably had dealings with most of these fish before and fish may have better memories than we think.

A more likely explanation might be that the fish had yet to spawn in Trendals and the water was less cloudy than last week. The clearer water and low catch rates may be a signal of preparation for spawning activity. (Excuse No.1104 in the Alan Winsper Catalogue of Excuses Vol.12).

Sadly, I didn’t get that many photos at this session because I spent most of the day trying to teach juniors how to tie hooks. I made the mistake of coaching more than one at a time. Three in fact. They used group mentality to take over the proceedings with chatter and….and….GIGGLING!

Enjoyment? Not on my watch….

With dwindling patience, I quickly brought proceedings to a halt. To be fair, hook tyers are tricky things to use and they do come with instructions. I mentioned this and, when one of them said ‘Why can’t we just use the instructions?’, I realised that this horse had been shot in the face, and it was time to return to the fishing.

I packed the table away and started to do some laps of the lake to see how things were progressing.

Kenzie had snared a Grass Carp and was reminding everyone of this on a regular basis. Not every fish is a Grass Carp but, it only took someone to even look at their landing net handle and the question would be fired across the lake, ‘Is it a Grass Carp?’

When it turned out not to be a Grass Carp, Kenzie reminded everyone that it was he that had one in his keep net.

Harry was sat on the feeder with a device (phone) in his hand. But I was so frazzled by this point that I couldn’t really care less. Normally a tirade of objections would be hurled at the offender. But I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Both Cryers, Jack and Harry, were sat on the campsite side of the Trendals and were both struggling to get any bites at all. They were quizzed about use of poles rig depths, baits, and methods they had tried. Both Jon and I had used up most of our knowledge and enthusiasm by 14:30, so I felt that we couldn’t really help them much more than we had.

Alec had a quiet start and had an aura of ‘approach at your own risk’ about him. But a while later, I held out a small bag of Haribo’s as a peace sacrifice and things seemed to be ok…

After the relative failure of the trio of prospective loop tyers, I had mentally abandoned the idea of any hook tying happening today. I packed away the bits and pieces and was ready to fold away the table when Alec asked me to teach him some hook tying. I excitedly got everything out again and began the knowledge giving process.

Alec found it much better to interact one on one and really started to produce some good loops. So, I left him to it.

Ten-minutes and 15 loops later, lead coach was very pleased indeed. With a small bit of resistance, I managed to tease a banded loop from Alec which we converted into his first proper method feeder hook link. It was so good, even Mr Fussy-Nuts (Me) would happily have used it!

To my delight, Mia also stepped forward and, in a similar time frame, also produced a good quality hook link. The loop failed, but she had the tools to make a better one next time, I’m sure.

They had both shown me that the best way forward is a bit of one-to-one training, and that’s how it will be done in the future.

Mia had the company of junior coach, Master Ollie, for a lot of the day. El Capitano is the king of the ‘bouncy-cast’ and talked Mia through it. At one point Mia had lost her way and wanted me to show her how it was done with Ollie elsewhere. I told her that I wasn’t as good as him at it, but I’d have a go.

It was ok but lacked the accuracy of the bounce-Meister. I told her about another way of loading up the rod and, with an underarm lift, you simply fire the feeder out across the water.

The first cast fell a bit short, so I tried again. I must have hit the sweet spot for once because the feeder left my hand like a fired bullet and, had the clip not been on, would have taken Kenzie’s cap clean away from his head!

Even I looked surprised. Usually, I would style something like this out to make it look like a regular occurrence. But I couldn’t help but marvel at a newfound skill I didn’t know I had.

At one stage in the day, I thought I might try to get them coming on the Pellet Waggler and, try as I might, they were not that interested enough to make it worthwhile. I did catch nine Carp and a nice Chub.

With all the tutorials and diminished coaching numbers, photos were few and far between, and I didn’t get to spend much time with Milo and Tall Leo. They did catch fish and did get some sage advice from Jon through the day. Even though I apologised to them both, they said they had learned loads and had a fun day. Leo popped on some more familiar Carp tackle and caught the biggest fish of the day with an 8lb Common Carp, a good fish from Trendals.

Austin was doing well right up to the point where he wasn’t.

We all slip in from time to time and end up with a soaking foot or a full welly. But to be in the water up to one knee and then launch yourself, fully clothed, into a full breaststroke is something else.

Later I admitted to being in discomfort and a little tired, but at the time of the swim I was incandescent. I was round with Kenzie when it happened and, eventually, saw Austin being dragged from the water by Uncle John. I then saw him getting strip torn off him by his grandad, Brian.

I know it can be a good laugh sometimes and I don’t want to be a miserable old git, but we do have a good reputation to uphold and maintain at the fisheries we visit. Falling in is one thing, taking the mickey is another. It is crucial that we are good ambassadors for the club at all times so that we are welcome at the great fisheries we visit. A bad rep could see all this end very quickly.

In fairness, Austin did apologise more than a few times, and we will draw a line under it this time. But behaviour (not just Austin) has been an issue on a couple of occasions this year and, although I do not want to take drastic measures, I promise that I will do so if I feel I need to. If only to prove that my threats of consequences are not just words.

I can always tell if a day has been a busy because all too soon it was over.

With me tied up with static coaching much of the time, Ollie and particularly Jon had carried the day extremely well. A team of coaches that even with depleted numbers, can still deliver. Thanks guys.

Thanks to Jason at Revels for allowing us time on the fishery today. We’re there so often now, we’re almost staff!!

We have a weekend off for the away weekend at Goodiford Mill this week (15th/16th), so our next event is on the 22nd June for our annual Junior Blind Pairs Match at Harbourbridge Lakes. Details of this freshly rearranged event can be found on Spond.

Take care,

Juniors Sec…

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