Junior challenges for title of Aquaboy: Junior Coach does more laps than the Le Mans 24 hours race: Drowning bird plucked from certain death: Bream sent humanly across rainbow bridge:
I must apologise for the late delivery of this edition of the Mud-Slinger. This is due to a three-day marathon of junior coaching sessions. My feet have aching feet, and I am more exhausted than a toilet attendant working next to a dodgy burger van at Glastonbury.
Today (Thursday) I have been to Revels with a young lad and his dad whom I have had the pleasure to have coached before (Yes, they came back for more!). Young George is only six and is full of enthusiasm for fishing. He hasn’t quite developed the patience yet, but I hope it will come soon because he loves it.
Wednesday was Todber Manor day for a dangle with the king of the North (Kit Freeman) and Sgt. Bracey (Jerry Christmas). It was going to be a fact-finding mission for the three of us and a chance for me to blow out some cobwebs. Todber is all most anglers want to talk about right now and it’s not hard to see why. With no keep nets used we estimated Kits catch to weigh around the 140lb mark and is his best unofficial weight to date. Jezza had a complicated day and even offered part of his pole as a sacrifice. The fish didn’t want it and Jerry got it back after having what he described as ‘a senior moment’ when he questioned himself as to whether he had been using the section of not! But it had slipped under the waves when Jerry wasn’t looking and was easily retrieved. He caught a guestimated 260lbs. I had a rusty day catching a clicked 313lbs. The place is a real eye opener whether you agree with it or not…
On to Tuesday then and back to Luckfield for the Tuesday Club.
Both of the regular followers of the Mud-Slinger will know all about the history of battles between myself, the coaching team, and the infamous Bog Tent. The toll taken on it from previous campaigns had reduced the once formidable foe into a rather tame shadow of its former self. Bits were detaching at an alarming rate, and it was literally coming apart at the seams. So much so that I dare not erect it in any kind of breeze for fear that it may suffer a catastrophic deconstruction during a hefty tooth-grinding bowel movement from one of our delicate lady members. (Strange fact but The Delicate Lady Members was the name of a Punk band that I once belonged to in the late seventies.)
The breeze today was the kind of breeze that would make a mouses whiskers tremble. So, I figured it would be ok to give the tent its very last outing. It went up and came down without incident and was packed away with full honours. The Bog Tent is dead. Long live the Bog Tent. The son of Bog Tent has been purchased and is ready for action. I look forward to many fights with it in the months to come.
We started with a chat about how to avoid smashing your landing net in many tiny pieces. New anglers have this strange idea that the fish needs to be removed from the water as soon as possible. Even if it is still three metres out into the lake. There is only one thing that will give, after a coach’s patience, in this situation, and that is the tube of carbon fibre that joins arm to net. I demonstrated the art of correct landing which morphed into fish-care with mats and gallons of water.
I’m going to start with Austin because I want to save the best until last.
Austin and Glamour Gran, Alison, had opted for peg one with the shortest of walks. Austin is getting to be quite the marksman when casting into the lake. It would appear that he is a marksman behind him too. Wherever Alison sat, she had a pellet laden method feeder wafted past the end of her nose. A bit like the smoke following you at a BBQ. She eventually found a spot that she felt safe to sit in. But the windows in the car had to be wound down because it was a warm day….
Liam had returned to have a go at the big fish that reside in Luckfield. Memory escapes me if he managed to snare one. I’m thinking not, but he did have a good day with some maggots and a whip. Sometimes just seeing a float going under is enough to keep your interest for a few hours, and this was the case for Liam. Jerry and I both agreed that it was good to see Liam more like his old self today. Full of enthusiasm and keenness to learn. He stayed to quite near the end and we all hope that this was the return of the lad that we met at Revels last year.
Reuben, one of our shiny new juniors, had set up in P3, one of my personal favourite swims. On a crowded lake, peg 3 is one of the more ‘pinched’ areas, with limited casting. But it has plenty of room to spread yourself out in. Reuben is mega keen, and I like that! He wants you to show him more and more about fishing each time and absorbs info like a sponge. He acts on it well too, turning words into skills surprisingly fast. We looked at setting up a method feeder and how to prepare pellets. As well as looking at all the other bits and pieces that make up an emerging angler’s tackle box. It was in Reuben’s part of the lake that we had to witness the sad demise of one of our Bream. It was in a bad way and needed rescuing. Step up Countryside Chris who courageously, and with thought at all, simply walked across the water to gather the ailing snotty fish…Is what should have happened. Instead, Chris just got in the water right up to his chest tattoos and gathered the creature in his loving arms. How many of us have longed to be there??? There was nothing to be done for the fish, so it was humanely dispatched and ‘sensitively buried in a quiet corner of the lake’ is what the juniors were told. I genuinely do not know what became of it…
Next to Reubino, was our newest junior. Tesni is our newest and quietest junior. She has the prettiest name and the coolest shades! It took me a while to coax out of her the kind of fishing she likes to do which turned out to be to catch anything that swims! A whip is the perfect tool for such activity, and she set about extracting some of the lakes smaller and not so small silverfish. I think she enjoyed her first junior session because she left the lake at the end saying that she and her dad were on their way to the shop to buy a whip! I’m sure she will find her voice if she becomes more familiar with us and is a delightful addition to our family of juniors… Welcome Tesni…
Kenzie had turned up with a coffee and walnut cake that mum Tina had promised to bring and was baked especially for us by Tesco… Sadly, that was the last we saw of the cake… It’s a good job Si Wag wasn’t there because he can chase down and dispatch anyone that walks away from him with cake without offering him some, particularly coffee and walnut cake. It was apparent that Kenzie misheard my instruction to soak his micro pellets for 30 seconds to a minute, in favour of ‘soak your pellets for 30 days to a month’ because they were completely unusable for anything but feeding the rats. I dipped into my personal supply and attempted to show him how to do it correctly… His head seemed to on slightly crooked because at no point did he look in my direction during the instruction… “Are you listen to me Kenzie?” I asked. “I can’t listen to you; I’m trying to fish here!” came the reply. There are occasions when my mind or my ‘ID’ does one thing, whilst in reality, I physically do something completely different. In reality I said “Well I’m trying to show you how to fish properly”. My ‘ID’ had held him under the water until the struggling stopped!!!
I jest of course, but there are times when you must walk away, and this was one of them…
Kids… You can’t live with them, and you can’t sell ‘em on eBay!
Kit was settled into peg 7 with Jen, our new fitness instructor. I must say that for a fitness instructor and twerking expert, she stayed pretty static. But she did display some impressive levels of bitterness towards Kit’s choice of swim. Kit wanted to catch a Tench or two and the old aerator position and the lilypads could have given him what he wanted. He had no thought for his mum who would spend the day in the shade. So keen was Kit to catch a Tench that, within 10 minutes of starting, he had been in the lake. Not Ollie levels of ‘in the lake’ but a good leg full. The uncomfortable feeling of wet trainers was the penance for ‘plumbing the depth with your body’. Maybe it was all the hissing from Jen about feeling cold whilst she could see everyone else melt in the sunshine that put the Tench off or the fact that there no Tench there. Either way, no Doctor fish for the King of the North.
Wrapped up like an Eskimo by the end, Jen was glad of the help with Kit’s ever growing tackle collection. Something that, no doubt, I will get the blame for.
(I tell people what I think they need, so technically it really is my fault!)
Jack Davies arrived slightly later than the others because his grandad put selling cars ahead of the need to go fishing. Something I’m not sure we will be able to rectify. I told Kevin that he needed to find a deeper commitment to angling…
Sadly, I didn’t get to spend much time with Jack, but Jerry did and said that he was coming on nicely considering his experience. If we could only stop Kevin from poaching the big fish from Jack’s peg, Jack would be better off!
Last, we come to William Tattersall and his grandad, Dave. Now, I love Dave. I truly do. But dear heavens above can he get into some pickles!! I don’t know who needed more coaching, William or Dave! I am not going to wite about everything that happened for the following reasons, I haven’t got time. I would be deemed to be picking on him. I like Dave too much. Instead, I will simply make a list and you can fill in the gaps. Parking too far away. Parking too close. Wrecking a feeder rod. Wrecking a float rod. Wrecking a feeder rod again. Making the largest amount of ‘paste’ (ground bait) I have ever seen! I can’t do it. I can’t go on, it feels wrong… William had a good day and enjoyed his first junior session with us. I hope that he will be able to come again soon, even if we have to bind Dave to a tree first!!!
During the session, some murmurings went round the lake that a bird was in the water. Nothing unusual there I thought. Until I realised that the bird was a young sparrow! The daft thing had misjudged the water for something more solid. Step forward hero No.2 for the day! Sgt. Bracey had, thankfully, kept his trousers on and decided that the dryer option of rescue was more favourable than the ‘walk on water’ technique displayed by Chris earlier. Jerry stretched out a landing net handled gripped in his strong hands, whilst the other strangled a tree for support. Hanging off the tree like a pair of soggy underpants, Jerry managed to net the struggling Sparrow, save a life, and win hearts around Broadmayne. The bird was dried, checked, and given a stern warning not to do it again…
The coaches always get thanked for their efforts and we try to recognise that with a round of applause at the end of every session. Our coaches today were Neil Haine, Jerry, and Chris. All of whom were everywhere all of the time. Jerry was orbiting the lake faster than an electron in Sellafield. So much so that I nearly held out a chequered flag so he could take a break. Chris was fed up with walking round and just took a short cut across the middle of the lake, and Neil was a big hit on his first session with us and I sincerely hope that he can become a regular member of the team. I want to take time to say ‘Chapeau’ (Hats off) to them all. Without you, the juniors would not exist.
Not quite the normal blog this week and I didn’t get many photos. I’m writing it almost three days later, completely exhausted from the effort of providing some coaching experience to some great kids.
But, I love it!
The next Tuesday Club (22nd Aug) will either be at Sharnhill or on Lysander Lake, depending on the weather.
If it’s windy, we’ll go to Sharnhill. If it isn’t we’ll try Lysander Lake at Silverlake near Warmwell.
I’ll let you know over the weekend.
Don’t forget the last Tuesday Club (29th Aug) we are going to Todber Manor in preparation for the pairs match the following week. Sadly, I will not be able to attend that session, but you will be in safe hands with Jerry.
That’s all for now, I’m off to bed!