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25/07/23 - Tuesday Club Coaching #1 - Sharnhill Green

Mud-Slinger Headlines

Boy hooks torpedo Woman tries to drown own son Lead coach introduced to ‘Jungle Wee’ (not literally)

I always check out the venues now after the ‘Whoopsie’ at Nutford. So, a gentle trip to Sharnhill Lake was in order for M’Lady and I on a wet Wednesday afternoon. No lake looks it’s best in the pouring rain, but Sharnhill was in desperate need of trim. I couldn’t get far around the lake before needing a change of trousers (make of that what you will!), so an S.O.S. was put out to the Club Sec to arrange a working party for the following Monday.

On Sunday, Steve messaged saying that he would be going to the lake a day early because of the promised rain forecast by the finger lickers at the Met Office. Unfortunately, I was on ‘Uncle duties’ on the Sunday, so Steve had to fly solo and did a grand job to be fair. Big thanks to Steve for his sterling efforts in getting the lake fishable for the shrimps to do their thang…

Come Tuesday morning and the Met Office Druids had read the bones and got it spot on. The rain that had soaked everyone on Monday had done one leaving the skies as blue as a MP’s hard drive content.

The lake looked quite a picture as I set out all the equipment that I would need for the coaching session, and the fish were impatient. It was a piscatorial ballet and quite an aerial display at times. I set about making some pole rigs whilst I waited for everyone to arrive.

I had received notification on Monday that three of the nine juniors booked in were unable to attend. We were down to six and that deflating feeling was starting to make itself felt. On the morning, a message from Hazel meant that young Liam was not in great shape and was not able to join us. Down to five. Juniors come in various shapes and sizes. Their enthusiasm is just as varied. Finley was out of the car before it had come to a halt, skilfully making the open gate at some speed and avoided ending up in the lake. Newbie Jack made a far more sedate entrance. (Yes, yet another Jack! There must have been a job lot of ‘Jacks’ going cheap locally. I’m even considering changing my name to Jack just to make it easier!) Probably because Kenzie is new and didn’t know anyone had made him a little shy. He had to be encouraged from the car by placing Smarties on the ground for him to follow, pick up, and eat. He was experiencing a small inferiority complex because he felt his gear wasn’t up to scratch. He felt better when I told that my first rod was holding up garden peas the previous year, Captain Chris’s first rod was a tank aerial, and Sgt Bracey’s first rod was a Squad car, a teargas cannister, and a side arm… We found out later that Si Wag’s first rod was an attack helicopter… You learn something new every day…

I gave Kenzie an important job to do with the captain, and he soon forgot his troubles. He busied himself scooping cut grass from the water. This broke the ice, and he was quickly ‘back in the room’.

Tina quickly noticed the absence of the ‘Bog Tent’. The poor old girl (Not Tina) was not in great shape when I looked at it on Sunday. One strong breath of wind or one big fart would be the end of her. I decided I didn’t want to risk the chance of a collapse in mid flow, so to speak. I suggested that I could have just brought ‘The Pot’, and the business could have been performed ‘Al Fresco’? Tina said she was a ‘Festival Veteran’ and would perform the dying art of a ‘Jungle Wee’… Something I’d never heard it called before… We waited until 10:35, but there looked to be two more no shows. We were down to just three and I started to feel bad for Steve’s efforts the day before. But the lake did look splendid. I am not happy when the coaching staff out number the participants, but this was how it was today and there is nothing to be done about it. The three attending juniors would be coached into a coma!

After I had robbed all their cash, it was tutorial time.

Being newbies, I started with bait prep. I am going to be totally honest with you now. I took two bait boxes with me, both containing maggots. I opened one and it was clear that they were the fresh batch bought the day before. The other was home to maggots bought two weeks previous. I genuinely had no idea of the condition of the older bait and held my breath as I opened the lid. Perfect bait! It wouldn’t have mattered if they were a bit manky, because I wanted to show the shrimps how to ‘bring them back from the dead!’. We discussed riddles, fridges, sawdust, and maize. Next was ground bait. Which one for what and when. Cereal and fish meal, and how to mix them. The shrimps got their hands mucky too. Lastly, were pellets. All the sizes, and when to use them.

I have mentioned before that I am no great orator. Nor am I a professional teacher. I do my best to get across the information that juniors need to enable them to learn more about fishing. Even so, I always feel like I am boring them to death most of the time. I mentioned to Tina that I have Imposter Syndrome a lot of the time too. It is an awful situation because it doesn’t matter how many times you are told that you are doing a great job, it never goes away. However, I know it’s all good, and we are doing great work.

The three shrimps were released from the droning coach and let loose on the lake. As usual, out comes the feeder rods, and splash goes the feeders. As the years roll by, I’m getting less and less a fan of the feeder. There is no denying the fact that it is a very effective method that does catch an awful lot of fish. But there is something about watching a float that makes it feel like pure fishing. There is nothing like reading the dips and bobs of the float tip. On this occasion the feeder wasn’t working. The second tutorial came at an opportune moment.

Pole fishing is extremely popular, and it is a method that I grew up with and know very well. Anglers these days are spoilt when it comes to what tackle they can buy off the shelf. But I still feel that there is nothing quite like making your own pole rigs and tying your own hooks. You save yourself a lot of money over the years too. We talked about lines, weights, loops, washing up liquid, silicone sleeves, hook links, and winders. I even managed to get them to understand the importance of the No.9 shot/Stotz.

The second tutorial done, the three amigos returned with fresh ideas and poles in hands.

What a turnaround! Fish were being carefully plucked from the water, as Grandad Kevin said, ‘Like hook the duck!’ There were smiles everywhere again and the little Crucians were to die for. The elastics were a little too ‘Macho’ for the fish they were catching but it didn’t detract from the fact they were catching and loving it!

Si Wag, Master of Corrections, turned up after his change of batteries at the hospital, and had about his person the crusty loaf that I had requested earlier in the day. When I arrived at the lake at about 08:15, the fish were gracefully gliding about on the surface, occasionally breaking the surface to ‘mouth’ potential food items. If I didn’t know better, I might have thought them to be spawning such was the commotion. The high air pressure was the reason that the feeder didn’t work that well today and Si had the key bait to snare some bigger ladies of the lake.

Armed with more traditional tackle of a specialist rod and a centrepin reel, it did not take Si long to latch on to a 6lb Carp. This got the attention of fish hungry shrimps and suddenly they wanted to catch one too. Jack was the first to try. I’m not sure if he actually caught one or not, but he was soon back and catching on the pole again. Next to scurry off was Finley. But, again, he was soon back asking why I hadn’t set up his pole yet! (Damn cheek!). I had and he stayed to catch some of the smaller species. I can’t remember Kenzie having a go at all?

Jerry was teaching Kenzie the art of fish counting. As every fish was landed, we got a running total of Carp to ‘other ones’ throughout the afternoon. All was going well with the gentle splash of Goldfish, Babby Carp, and Crucians surrendering themselves to excited juniors. The peace was shattered when Jack hooked a beast!

The overly tight elastic came into its own as the fish tore off across the lake in a bid for freedom. These Carp are not daft. They know where the safest place to be is, and that is in the large bed of reeds at the carpark end of the lake. Kevin, by this time, had his pulse rate up and was barking orders at the lad like a premiership football coach without the swearing. I think he was more excited than Jack was to be honest. The Carp didn’t care about who was excited and who wasn’t. He was going to exit stage right at extreme haste. ‘Keep your rod up!’ shouted Kevin. ‘Keep the pole down, under the water’ I countered. In the end, it didn’t really matter either way because the carp had made it to sanctuary and spat the hook. Chris witnessed the moment that the fish was lost as it did so with a swirl and a flourish and was gone…

Jack spent the rest of the day trying to recreate the scenario, and to some extent he did, although not on such a grand scale. He would have to be satisfied catching, as he did, a string of smaller Carps.

Tina, Kenzie’s mum, decided that the day needed spicing up a bit. There are several ways you can do this. You can hook a big fish. You can fall over in style. You can even have a wardrobe malfunction. Tina’s method of choice to virtually drop kick her son as far into the lake as humanly possible. Ok, so, there may be a tiny piece of exaggeration there but, she managed to stumble over a deceptively flat piece of ground, collecting Kenzie as she went. It caused a ‘Oooo!’ reaction from Sgt Bracey and myself and had me reaching for my phone like a gunslinger in a wild west salon bar. A really bad one! Fortunately (Sadly) no one got wet, and Tina retreated to the safety of her chair.

Not much else happened that I am willing to write about and the session was all too soon over. We were packing the day away until the next time. These sessions go so fast that I swear I am going to meet myself going the other way one day! Maybe it didn’t go that fast for the onlooking mum’s present, but I hope they got something out of the day too… Kevin was alright, I think he’d gained five years of youth from all the excitement.

I want to take a moment to wish Kevin’s brother, Alan our best wishes and a speedy recovery from some recent and ongoing ill health. I witnessed him give away two sea fishing weights free of charge recently and I had a feeling that there would be repercussions. We hope he recovers quickly from the experience, and that he recoups the deficit soon.

My thanks this week go to Jerry, Chris, and Si for an excellent coaching session.

Special thanks to Steve Sudworth for his effort to get the lake looking so good and to make it fishable for us today.

Our next event is this coming Saturday (29th) for our rearranged points match at Todber Manor (Whitepost Lake)

Following that, and every Tuesday throughout the holidays, is the second Tuesday Club at Luckfield Lake.

Take care and tight lines,

Juniors Sec… Footnote: Spond is great for letting me know that you may or may not be able to attend our events. But if I could ask you just to drop me a quick line to explain why, it prevents me from worrying unnecessarily. Thank you…

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