Updated: Jul 10
Friday night brought an earlier than expected end to what was a busy week. After the Junior event last Saturday, well documented in the last Mud-Slinger (apart from when I accidentally threw the unhooking mat into the lake trying to get it wet, and Faith’s feeder rod exploding unexpectedly on a 4lb Carp. The mat was retrieved by a red-faced coach and Faith’s rod has since been replaced with a nice, pretty new one), DDAS restarted what I hope to be an increasing trend in organising fishing events with local schools. Atlantic Academy made their third trip to Harbourbridge with teacher and fishing enthusiast, Duncan McConnell, bringing with him 14 students from the school to come and fish with us. I’m pleased to say that nearly half of them were young ladies. I am a staunch supporter of women’s sports, none more so than fishing. There is nothing that warms my heart more than seeing women/girls serving a huge helping of ‘In Your Face!’ in sports that have traditionally been male dominated. Indeed, our own junior championship is currently being led by Faith Stone. Something that the boys are probably keen to rectify.
During my welcome/introduction in which I mentioned my role within the club including my coaching certificate, I was immediately challenged to show proof of this achievement by one of Duncan’s students. A bespectacled young man wearing a green frog bucket hat had had the nerve to challenge my authority within minutes of getting to the lakes. I, of course, rose to meet the challenge by shoving my Angling Trust coaches certificate almost under his nose, to which he replied, “Very good Sir, thank you. Please continue”… I looked at Duncan’s raised eyebrows that told me that the lad maybe one to watch. A quick word about Duncan before I go further. He is a tall-ish chap, who has previously had a larger-than-life physique. But if he had not been walking at the head of group of students in school uniform, I genuinely would not have recognised him at all! Having not seen him since before the Covid crisis, the NINE STONE he has lost has totally changed him and he looks better for it too. As a tubby guy myself, he has nothing but respect from me for this achievement.
Your coaches/helpers on duty for this event were Captain Mainwaring - Graham Howard Sgt. Wilson - Jerry Bracey Private Pike - Tom Foyle LCpl Jones - Si Wagner Private Godfrey - Chris Ward Warden Hodges - Steve ‘Sid’ Sudworth Verger Yeatman - Terry ‘Niblet’ Green Private Frazer - Mike Millington-Stevenson Mrs Fox – Lydia Stone
I didn’t get the chance to see a lot of what was going on else where along the lake, but the two lads that I was looking after were chalk and cheese apart. One of them was chilled and quite quiet, going about the instructions quite industriously. The other one, however, asked me if he could ‘go for a swim’ as soon as he got there! This was a sign of things to come… Once the excited screeches and shouts from first fish caught and having to touch maggots had died down a little, the students were catching fish of all different sizes from every peg. Everything was tickety boo until, SPLASH! Yes, you guessed it, the excitable one had gone for a dip! Mike was on hand to extract the now drowned rat from the deep and, following Duncan’s lead, a good laugh was had. Now he had added to his legend within his school group, the dripping boy had the embarrassing task of stripping off in a depression in the ground to change into his school uniform (they were in their PE kits apparently) Apart from the human fish incident, the evening went smoothly, and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience. I handed out some of my cards to those that wanted them and bid them all farewell.
This may be the last time we entertain the Academy as Duncan is moving to All Saints school in September where he hopes to start a fishing club.
Our work with the Academy has always been rewarding and, although there has not been much of a chance of reaping the benefit of new juniors into the club from Portland, I have enjoyed our experiences with the school. This has been down to the enthusiasm of Mr McConnell for his beloved fishing. I hope this continues and wish him well at All Saints.
I want to thank Atlantic Academy for allowing their students to come fishing with us in the past and I hope can repeat these events with them in the future.
My personal thanks go to Jim Roper for allowing us to play in his lakes again, and also to all those that came out to offer their experience for this event.
Junior Knock Out Round Three – Revels Stock Pond
The following morning after the school event, I received the extremely unwelcome news that poor Si had tested positive for the exploding pants virus (Covid) which sent me diving for the cupboard to see if my pants were going to explode too. As it turns out they were not. But seeing as Si had kindly offered to help me press gang some more juniors at the Family Fun Day in Charminster on Sunday, it was obvious that he was not going to be able to attend. With M’Lady being so susceptible to this kind of thing, and people testing positive getting closer and closer to our front door, it gets me a bit jittery when it comes to any type of gathering, regardless of its size. I took the decision not to go to the Fun Day this year, and I wish Glenn Taylor the best of luck on Sunday. I also wish Si Wag a speedy recovery from exploding pants… (You should know by now that it is best not to ask why things are called what they are. Even I don’t know the answer. Just go with it).
With Charminster now scratched from the calendar, the only two things that were left on my radar for the rest of the week was getting Martins memorial bench finished, and the final qualifying round of the junior knock out series.
The Bench: It was a huge shock to everyone when Martin suddenly left us, and I know for many of you he is just a name that I keep repeating. But trust me when I say that he was one of the nicest people you could ever dream to meet, as well as being one of the kindest. I got to know him through M’Lady’s crafting where we used to drop in to see Martin for other 12kg of paper pads, embellishments, stamps, stickers, and anything else that Trudie could spend our food money on. Martin and I got talking about fishing and before long I took Martin for his first real coarse fishing trip to Revels. He got into ‘proper fishing’ (he was a sea angler before), and before too long was helping to fill the pockets of the rest of us by attending matches. Martin wasn’t a pole angler and rarely fished with a float. If the feeder didn’t work, he was happy just to be out and around friends. On the odd occasion, the planets aligned, and he actually got in the frame for some coin, and even won a couple of matches. A few days before he died, we had talked about just going back to what we had before. Just fishing together, going to new places, without the pressure and confining regulations of match fishing, and the feeling that he was just pools fodder (not necessarily true by the way). We never did it and now the chance has gone forever. A measure of the man was that many people that knew him, regardless of how well, pitched in to buy him a bench at Revels where it all started. Roger Fullbrook did a great job with it and it has stood overlooking the main lake for a number of years. It was looking a bit tired, so I bought it home to breathe some love on to it. I replaced the slats with Teak oiled hardwood and the fittings with stainless steel. Repainted the cast ends and rebuilt it. I’m not often forward in complimenting myself but, I am proud of myself for this one. Last night (Friday), as I fought to keep my composure, Mike and Lydia helped me to bring the bench home to its position on the lake. It looked resplendent in the light of the setting sun. The 8th of July is Martins birthday. He would have been 71. Happy birthday my dearest friend. I hope you are still casting into other people’s swims wherever you find yourself today…
The Match: With Faith already through to the final and Oliver Smith deciding he would rather be somewhere else; the competitors were down to four. Josh Roe was suffering with the heat and hay fever, so now we were down to just three.
Peg Two – Faith ‘Jibber Jabber’ Stone.
Peg Three – Josiah ‘His Lordship’ Wells-Parkes.
Peg Four – James ‘Baby Longus’ Oram.
Peg Five – Jack ‘Twiglet’ Copp
Your Coaches for this evening were, playing Oliver Hardy – Graham Howard Stan Laurel – Andy Hawkins
Peg Two: Faith Stone: With Faith already through, Mike was steering her through some ‘Finesse’ practice which involved throwing maggots everywhere, thrashing the water to a foam with the pole rig, and telling everyone that would listen how much he hates pole fishing. Faith coped with all of this with complete indifference and was more concerned with where her juice drink was… During this time, Lydia was busying herself by picking surviving maggots from a pot of casters. As much fun as this looked, I declined to help because the excitement may have killed me. I reanimated Lydia after helping Faith to unhook a difficult fish in my left hand, then wiping my right-hand down Lydia’s back as if to remove the slime and poop. “You didn’t? You better not have!” Her normally soft features had turned rather harsh, and I foolishly commented that I needed to wipe my hands on something. It only needed a nano-second after seeing her body language signal that she was getting up from her chair to make me scurry off like a frightened hamster and beat a very hasty retreat. To be honest I had been pushing my luck since she arrived and now with caution being the better part of valour, I desisted.
Peg Three: Josiah Wells-Parkes: After each blog I write, I normally subject M’Lady to the torture of listening to me read it to her as it helps me to wheedle out the cock ups. Sometimes this includes the photographs. The pictures from the last session included a shot of Mr James Parkes, Josiah’s dad. M’Lady pointed at said picture and made a sound a bit like a purring kitten and asked ‘Oooo, who’s that?’ I informed her that was indeed looking at the midlands best bin lorry driver and all-round good bloke, James. I can inform you all now that, not only has M’Lady been talking about Slimming World ever since, and had her hair cut for the first time in nearly 18 months, but James is now officially known as ‘Sexy Dad’ in our household. I can only apologise to Georgina (Josiah’s mum) and to all the other dad’s that did not get such a title bestowed upon them. James should be flattered because M’Lady clearly has very good taste (obviously). Either that or she needs to get out more often. Jo was ignoring all the rubbish going on around him by concentrating on the job in hand, which was to catch as many small fish as he possibly could. Officially titled as one of M’Lady’s champions because of their similar heath issues, Jo did himself proud by ending the evening with a creditable 7lbs 2ozs. Which would have been enough to win the first round.
Peg Four: James Oram: James is one of our juniors that takes everything in his stride and does not seem to cave into the pressure of a competitive event. I like this attitude because it means he is measured and is learning at his own pace. I’m sure there is a part of him that wants to win a match and I’m sure that will come, but right now he is enjoying his fishing and that is all you ever need from it. We spoke about the midweek fishing session with me during the holidays that anyone can join in on. I think James is looking forward to a bit of extra, more relaxed fishing. It will give me a chance to knock some of the rough edges off his fishing that every new angler has. James’s long arms and wild technique make him look like an out-of-control cane fly at the moment. But give me half a day and we’ll soon sort that out. James is joy to be around, and he enjoyed the evening with some baby Carp towards the end. James weighed a shade over 3lbs at the end.
Tim gets special mention for Mrs Oram's delicious Chocolate Rice Crispie Cakes... Thank you Mrs O!
Peg Five: Jack Copp: Jack arrived with a plan. A plan which I admit didn’t think was going to work. I can tell you now that I was wrong. Some of you may have seen the post on Facebook about the flying Pellet Waggler float that buried itself in the tree, and how lucky I was not to still be wearing it as some sort of head ornament. Pulling for a break is a necessary risk when things go wrong, and obstacles get in the way. This was demonstrated tonight when Jack got his rig caught on a piece of weed. He did the right thing by handing the pole to dad Dave to get free. It was extremely fortunate that Dave was wearing sunglasses because I heard that float hit the lens from the next peg away, saving Dave from a potential serious eye injury. For the next few sessions we will be discussing how to be as safe as we can be during our fishing trips, at junior events and beyond. Jack started on the pole, and was catching well. But he had noticed some Carp in his swim before the start of the match and got a feeder out to try to tempt one or two. It was more than one or two in the end, and he won the match with a fantastic 18lbs 13ozs. The highest weight yet. I was wrong about the feeder not being a viable method, but in my defence, I guess I was trying to make it easier for those with less experience. But I’m not going to take anything away from Jack. He fished extremely well and proved that learning does not stop with a coach’s certificate.
So, there you have it… Your finalists for the match on the 2nd of September are Round One – Faith Stone
Round Two – Oliver Smith
Round Three – Jack Copp
Highest runner up – Josiah Wells-Parkes
We will see those four going head to head to see who is going to go away with the win later in the year.
Big thank you to Jason Fricker and the staff at Revels Fishery for your continued help and support.
Thank you also to Andy Hawkins for his expertise and lots of stories.
The next event on the calendar is the presentation evening on the 16th of July at Weymouth Angling Club. I will be able to give you all more defined times after the meeting on Tuesday.
The next match is on the 23rd of July at Luckfield. This is an evening match with the draw being at 14:30. There are only four places left on this limited event. Booked in so far are
F. Stone J. Copp O. Smith J. Oram J. Wells-Parkes Take care everyone and see you all soon…