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Coaching #8 - Harbourbridge Fishery - Charlottes Lake




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The negative part of being passionate about something, is when it doesn’t go the way you either want it to or had planned it to. You would think that the summer holidays would be a bonanza time for junior fishing. Bored kids and desperate parents could find us and be forever in our debt because we would give their precious babies something to do for a few hours every week. But apparently there are other things to do apart from fishing? Crazy things like, holidays, and family time…

Because of this, I must confess to being a little bit down on myself due to the low attendance numbers. The effort is the same whether it is 2 or 22, but larger numbers are always more satisfying. M’Lady always reminds me that I once said that I would go out if there was just one junior wanting to fish. She drives me to try to make ‘a memory day’ for the juniors I coach every time I go out. Either that or she just wants some time away from the lunatic she lives with and his constant yapping about fishing!

This past week, however, has proved me very wrong… We still only had 4 juniors for the coaching at Harbourbridge on Saturday. Then Friday happened. Brummie Becky called me for one of her ‘quick’ 45-minute phone calls to tell me that she had a friend with two lads that were interested in coming. Then an email from a friend of Dave Copp, Paul, who has two boys wanting to have a go. On top of that was an email from Lauren saying her little boy would like to try fishing for the first time. With lots of coaches on holibobs, some frantic emails/messages were sent to the Red Fox and Mr Bass to ensure that Sgt Bracey and I were not found gibbering in a ditch by the end of Saturday. The cherry on the cake was that Charminster’s finest pair of knees, Mr Glenn Taylor and the Mudmonster were going to come as well all be it a little late. (Glenn does ‘work’ apparently?). So, we had gone from 4 to 11 in the space of 3 hours!

It's a joyous problem to have. From the desperation of just two juniors at Revels a few weeks ago, I think we could be shifting some of the Re-Gen stuff very soon. The last count was 23 juniors total in the club, and we could have potentially added at least 7 inside a week.

Fans of the toilet tent will be delighted to know that it made a return to the junior sessions today. As I unfolded the tent, I thought how weathered it was looking. The poor thing had never recovered from ‘The Great Battle of Whitepost Lake’ in which it took on the one-man army of Chris ‘The Captain’ Ward. It had met it’s match in so many ways. The tent battles with me regularly. It took on Sgt Bracey and nearly had him in the drink. It fought Dave Copp at Luckfield and earned a broken zip. But mild-mannered Chris was a whole different bucket of fish. The tent seemed lethargic to say the least and didn’t seem its usual self. The first pole went in ok, and it didn’t try to blow away went I let it go. Until the second pole. The ground is very dry and deeply cracked. The poles have elastic threaded through them, so you don’t loose any. The second pole was almost in place when I felt a little resistance. I pulled a little harder to no avail. I pulled harder still and looked to see what the issue was. It was at this point that the end of the pole that had lightly wedged itself into a crack in the ground let go and whipped me round the back of the knees. A new move for the old girl. The fight in the tent was still there. I smiled as I cursed at it for being a bit of a git and knew there would be some fights yet to come…

On to the session then and the starting line up looked something like this.

Faith Stone (Jibber Jabber) Josiah Wells-Parkes (His Lordship) Austin Scott-Kennedy (Camouflage) Carter Lynock (Foghorn) Jake Taylor (The Mudmonster)

Newbies were. Harry, Jack, Another Jack, Leo, Riley, and Sofie

Coaches on duty were. Ringmaster General: Graham Howard Lion Tamer: Jerry Bracey Plate Spinner & Juggling: Jon Bass High wire, Trapeze and Acrobatics: Thomas Foyle

At around mid way through the session I gathered the troops to initiate the newcomers in the DDAS Juniors version of a mental endurance test by exposing them to a tutorial on threading pole elastic through a top kit. Miraculously no one yawned, no one that I noticed anyway. There was fidgeting, but I think that was Mike sitting on a nettle. It was quite a quick demonstration because I didn't want to bore the new juniors to death from the off. That comes later on...

Josiah Wells-Parkes Jo wasn’t feeling great when he arrived because of his allergies, etc. But fishing means a lot to him, and he wasn’t going to let a little discomfort bother him too much. I didn’t get to spend enough time with Jo and James, and for that I apologise. Newcomers tend to need more attention than hardened juniors like Jo. They weren’t ignored though and I saw Jo’s rod bent into some angry Carp a few times during the day. Both Austin and Jo are fishing the Senior/Junior pairs match, so discussed a few tactics for that as well as the upcoming final of the Junior Knockout match next Friday. Jo always has the best smiles for you when you see him. I always feel uplifted by him. Jo had a surprise for me in the shape of a shoe box of bits. Once we had identified what each item was and what was rubbish, as well as a couple of reels from the 80’s that still worked ok, he was happy to go back to fish until the end of the session, something that both James and I did not think he would see. Well done, Josiah… Trudie’s little Champion…

Austin Scott-Kennedy I already knew that we would have a very excited Austin coming to the sessions today. I got a message asking about which pole to buy because he was selling his Bearded Dragon. I assume that was some kind of lizard, and not an elderly relative. But to be truthful, I didn’t ask… I gave him some cheap options, but he was determined to rinse his funds with a new Preston pole, and very nice it is too. He triumphantly declared that he could hold it easily at 8-metres and proved it by doing so. Dad Tom (Yay, I remembered at last!) was helping Austin out today. I can only assume that Amy (Agent Maps) had got lost somewhere just outside Bridport and was unable to attend… Like Josiah, I felt that I didn’t give them the attention that they deserved today and will remedy that very soon. I apologise.

Lauren, Riley & Sofie Downes (No pictures, Sorry!) Lauren contacted me and said she had a nipper that was chewing at the bit to try fishing out and, having no experience herself, needed some experts to show them how. They had come to the right people. Sgt Bracey was given first shift and a great job he did too because it wasn’t too long before Riley was shouting about his first fish! Lauren, a confessed live wire, said that it was great that Riley was enjoying himself so much. They had sadly required the use of MOSAIC (Support for bereaved children), our chosen charity for this season. Riley has been to a few different clubs of varying types lately. He’s a lovely lad and I hope that he sticks with us for a while. What about younger sister Sofie though? I could see her watching Riley catching these fish with Jerry and I asked her if she would like a go with a whip? The fear drained from her eyes after I had explained to her that a whip was a fishing rod rather than an item of torture, and she said that she would… Sofie used the whip well and caught a few small Rudd using ‘Magnets’ as bait. We’ll work on saying ‘Maggots’ next time… With other newbies present, I handed Sofie over to Jerry and together they hooked into a couple of small Carp that unfortunately got away… It was great seeing Lauren, Sofie and Riley today. I hope that we see them again very soon…

Paul, Jack & Harry Cryer Having gone fishing before with Dave, I knew there would be a lot of bad habits to knock out of them… I’m joking of course. It’s great that they have a little experience because we can go deeper into fishing quicker than a junior with none. Jack and Harry seem a quiet pair of lads that look like they enjoyed the day. I apologise for not remembering which one, but one of the boys caught the biggest Carp of the day at around 5lbs! Thanks to the Red Fox of Broadmayne… Their casting was very good and reasonably accurate too. (Dave will take credit for that no doubt!) Dad, Paul had also brought the boys younger brother with him. Being probably only three, he was a little young to be whanging feeders around the place. I did comment on how well behaved the little one had been today… Paul gave me one of those ‘You’re &%$£* joking, right?’ looks. To which I said ‘Oh, well, he’s been well behaved whenever I have looked up’… To be fair, north of four hours is a long time to be kicking around for a small boy. I think he did very well… Harry, Jack, Paul, and the shrimp are all very welcome to DDAS Juniors. I hope we see them again very soon…

Carter Lynock Foghorn made a very welcome return to the juniors and set about doing things ‘The Carter way’. I will explain… When Juniors come to us, they sit there, smile, and do everything that is asked of them by the coaches, and more. After a while, they begin to get help from parents who may have learned a little from watching the coaches at work. Then, phase three kicks in… Phase three is where the rod is trust, in this case at mum, who is told ‘Bait that for me!’. It's not right but, my goodness it’s fun to watch! The times I have bitten my lip to stop me laughing out loud are many. Carter is no exception. The rod is given to mum whilst he goes and looks for insects and worms in the bone-dry ground. Becky just shrugs and says that she’ll ‘have a go herself and catch a bigger fish than him’. Something that she has previous form of. This why there are more pictures of Becky fishing than there is Carter... I like spending time with these guys. They make me laugh a lot and they are great fun to be with. Apparently Becky is now an early morning sea swimmer, and I must say she looks well from it. I just hope she remembers to count the assembled parts of her swimming outfit because today she spent most of the day wearing just one flip flop. I thought it was a northern thing, but apparently, she just didn’t care. Fair play…

Lisa, Jack & Leo Bates We’ll start with Jack. I’m not even going to mention that Jack was wearing a Bournemouth Football kit on a day that Cherries fans would like to forget. Having never fished before, it was all new to Jack. But he was keen, and you can’t buy that. I get the impression that Jack likes things to come to him quickly because the frustration set in fast as did head tosses, sighing and eyerolls. I thought quickly and asked Jack how many keepy-uppies he can do? He said about 30. Did you do 30 straight away or did you have to practice? I practiced.. Well, casting is no different. You need to keep practicing and the good casts will come. Sure enough, by the end of day, Jack was casting to the far side of the lake more often than not. But he did like a bit altitude to his casts. I swear one grazed a satellite and two came down with snow on them… One or two even landed behind him as we all looked to the water waiting for the splash!

Leo is a different character altogether. A little calmer than his brother, Leo worked through his casting learning well with measured patience. Leo even snared the early Carp too. There is definitely competition between them, and it will be interesting to see how that progresses in the future.

Both boys are great company and I hope that they will enjoy their time with DDAS Juniors, and I am interested to see how they develop as anglers. I am happy to say that they both bought a membership, and we will see them again at the next available session.

On to mum, Lisa. Oh Lisa… This is a lady that knows how to make a bloggers life so very, very, easy, and how you make a first impression that sticks! Like her boys, she quickly fitted in as a new member of the DDAS family. She is a good friend of crazy Becky, so fitting in wasn’t going to be an issue.. Now, I’m a sensitive kind a guy and I know roughly where the boundaries of modesty lie. So, I am going to tiptoe around this like a ballerina Rhino in a dense minefield. Despite it being a very warm day, there was a point in the afternoon at which the sun dipped behind some clouds, and it got noticeably cooler very quickly. I wandered along seeing how everyone was getting along. I noticed Lisa was draped, toga style, in a large towel/blanket. Getting cold? I asked. No, she said red-faced, I’ve split me shorts! So many questions hurtled through my head and all I could come out with was, Oh dear… I was told to think of a pair of laddered tights, only made of denim, split from north to south poles… Lisa is of slight build it’s fair to say. So, I can only assume that denim shorts aren’t what they used to be! The real dilemma started when the clouds allowed the sun to shine again making the towel/blanket too hot to handle. Bold Lisa thought, stuff this it’s too hot and released the ruined shorts to the public at large. To be fair, you could not see any splitage as long she stood, let’s say, ‘very properly’ for the rest of the day. I watched as she leapt to attention every time someone got close or walked behind her… It kept me amused for hours! We welcome the all the Bates to the DDAS Juniors family…Wardrobe malfunctions and all…

Jake Taylor Jake made his welcome return to the juniors after a little time away. You know what, I’m gonna say it… It was adequate to see Glenn too… We rip it out of one another, but I love the guy really… Jake even had his Mud Monster T-shirt on that always makes me smile. It isn’t until you haven’t seen a junior for a while that you realise how much they have learned and how much they have improved. I watched Jake casting extremely well and it wasn’t long before the landing net was sliding beneath some sizable Carp. Coming late, I didn’t get to talk to Jake much and, like the others, I will remedy that in the future. Glenn took it upon himself to warn the new parents about the blog and the dangers of doing or saying anything that will incriminate them. Advice far too late for poor Lisa… I reminded him that if nothing funny happened at a session, I would simply embellish the truth so that it is amusing…

Faith Stone Poor Faith again turned up to see us with no fishing tackle. Lydia and Mike stayed a while, long to get some pictures for me, thank you. Special thanks to Mike for keeping his trousers on this time. Faith’s entourage is having some major works done at home and therefore everything is up in the air right now. Hopefully she will be back in the groove to make her bid for the junior knock out match next week.

I am exhausted but happy. My mood is lifted by a better attendance.

My thanks and congratulations go out to Jim Roper, Mike Millington Stevenson, and Lydia Stone for the use of Harbourbridge Lakes and getting the fishery back to full health again.

Big thanks to my team of coaches today, Jerry Bracey, Jon Bass, and Tom Foyle

Lastly to the parents and juniors, new and old, that make it all worthwhile. Thank you for choosing us and for sticking with us…

The next two Junior events are fully booked I’m afraid. Friday 2nd September is the Junior Knock out Final at Revels Stock Pond Saturday 10th September is the Senior/Junior Pairs Match at Ash Lake at Todber Manor.

We are at Revels on Saturday 24th September for the next coaching session. See the website or email me to book into this event.

Please do not forget to download the SPOND App to your phone or Pc ready for the Christmas Match and to be ready for 2023… Take care and thank you, Juniors Sec…

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