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Junior Coaching - 30/07/22 - Revels

I hate August…

There, I’ve said it…

August only exists to thwart my efforts to get as many juniors fishing as I possibly can during the time that I walk the earth. Most of the time it’s stupid things like, going on holiday, spending time with family, or doing something other than fishing. I mean, what’s wrong with people?

The omens were screaming at me early on because I had wrongly told everyone that the next event was in a fortnight, when it was actually the following weekend. Then, I contacted Tom at Whitemoor to confirm the date, and he told me that we had had a conversion earlier in the year saying that the 30th wasn’t good for him. He was right of course, and I looked to Revels to bail me out. Jason then told me that I had already booked with him and that he had us down anyway.

Nurse? Prepare the soggy Weetabix please, the patient is losing it fast…

With venue now sorted, I looked forward to the 7 juniors that we had booked in. Two of whom were from the campsite at Revels. 5 juniors plus 2. (Martin Roe’s asthma flared due to the warm conditions. No Josh.) 4 juniors plus 2. (Mike’s truck was poorly suffering from a bad case of M.O.T. No Faith.) 3 juniors plus 2. (James Oram woke up not feeling well. No James.) 2 juniors plus 2. (The two ‘Campsite kids’ were actually local and couldn’t make it this weekend.) 2 juniors… (I hadn’t heard from the Grassby’s since they booked a place, so I wasn’t sure if they were coming considering the rotten luck we had experienced already)

Quite possibly only 1 junior.

I had already emailed Mr Bass and told him not to come if he didn’t need to, and Jerry was with me on the morning trying to prevent me from drowning myself with despair. I had said to him that he need not stay if he didn’t want to. Being the good egg that he is, he would stay, even just to say hello to whoever did turn up.

The work for these events starts well in advance for me. Cleaning my equipment to be a good role model for the Shrimps. Work out who needs to do what for their coaching program. Sorting out what tutorials I think would be useful. Get bait prep done for tutorials. Making rigs. Cleaning flags and banners, etc. You could argue that it is the same prep as for a match. (I don’t take flags and banners to matches unless I win!) But in this case, it is not just me I am letting down if I get it wrong. So, more added pressure on myself than normal. The check lists are done. All the gear is loaded up. Doing all of this with the passion for doing it that I have, just for August to flip me off, put its arms around my juniors, and guide them off to do something else, can be a little distressing.

Having said all that, Trudie and I have always said that if just one kid wants to go fishing, then I will give it 100%.

The lowest attended junior event was in 2018 (Before we set it up properly) with just two juniors attending. Could today beat that with only one?

I rang the Wells-Parkes to make sure they were coming, and they were very keen and excited to be fishing. So, stay I would and that was the end of it.

We had Dead Tree lake reserved at Revels because Trendals was, and I quote ‘Chaos’ the day before. Revels always looks stunning in the summer time. Everything is lush and in full bloom. The trees are thick with foliage and wildlife is everywhere (Not just on the campsite!) Even the Carp seemed to be on holibobs because they were basking in the intermittent sunshine.

By now, Jerry and I had decided that we were going to have a good day, no matter what. I was delighted to find I have a kindred spirit in Jerry. I had forgotten the liquidised bread and the coaching kit (I do loads of prep, I never mentioned that it worked!), and Jerry had forgotten his lunch and his glasses. Jerry had also dipped himself in factor 50 ready for the sunshine that was now hiding behind the clouds and had a very fetching shimmer to him. Graham and Jerry, The Forgetful Brothers. Watch as we hold hands and together skip joyfully into the sunset of senility.

Nurse? The Weetabix please, and Mr Bracey needs changing!

Join DDAS Juniors. If not for the fishing, then to watch the gentle degradation of our minds until we forget who the names on our T-shirts belong to…

Let’s move out of the nursing home and back to the lake…

I cannot remember being so happy to see a BMW estate as I was when the Grassby’s rolled into the carpark, closely followed Sexy Dad and Master Wells-Parkes of Maiden Newton.

Two juniors! We have equalled the most unwanted record but, thankfully, not beaten it!

If you hadn’t guessed already, your juniors for today were.

Jack ‘Nosebag’ (Because he’s always eating!) Grassby and the Dorchester Everyman, David. and Josiah ‘His Lordship’ Wells-Parkes and Sexy Dad, James.

We headed up to the lake and my enthusiasm started to return. Maybe today was going to be good after all.

Unexpectedly, we were joined by Mr Bass, despite being told he didn’t have to, he came anyway. This just one of the reasons why I feel I have the best coaches in my team. You cannot buy commitment like this…

They got settled in and set up, and I went and got my own gear out of the car.

Jerry immediately commandeered my seat box because he had not brought a chair thinking that we would be busy today(!) Oh the irony!

I left Jerry with Jo and went to help Jack. I am beginning to wonder if I might put forward a motion to the committee that we only except juniors whose name starts with a ‘J’. I’m sure David felt the same as I for daring to have names that started with a different letter…

Talking of Jack, a quick tutorial on how to use a disgorger without damaging the fish and he sailed passed the post of achieving his level one certificate. We did some fish species too just to be sure… Well done Nosebag! Certificate and badge next time! Jack asked lots of interesting and valid questions during the day, and even asked for another casting lesson on a field somewhere.

This was a very good point. If anyone else would like me to organise another casting day let me know and I will get it sorted for you… Jack had a few nice fish including a new PB Carp of around 3lbs, and a nice snotty Bream!

Jo had popped himself on a renowned swim (P48 I think it is) and set about snaring a few of the inhabitants in the small bay opposite. Jo has progressed extremely well since he joined us. His casting is accurate and fish playing is measured. I think he’s doing very well in fact. Jo caught plenty of Carp on the feeder, to be honest I lost count how many.

With my enthusiasm back up to 98%, I proceeded in doing two tutorials today.

The first was a nice little chat about bread fishing with plenty of input from Jon (Another ‘J’!!) and Jerry. My knowledge of bread fishing is not strong, although I know enough to talk about it, so I appreciated some extra input. Jon in particular has gained more experience than I during his 140 years of fishing. Jerry has just forgotten what he knew…

The second tutorial was on Paste fishing with a pole. Messy, awkward, and frustrating, paste can also be extremely effective at catching fish of all species. I struggled to find the right words to explain what it was that I wanted to say, but I think I got my point across well enough. Despite not thinking that it would actually work at Revels, I managed to catch a couple of Roach and a pretty little Crucian Carp. Josiah had a quick try in the last twenty minutes, but failed to connect with the lightning bites that you get with paste!

I want to go back to the subject of questions. Right from the start, our juniors are encouraged to ask questions. Regardless of how ‘silly’ they may feel the question might be. They are told that there is no such thing as a silly question because the most stupid question is the one you didn’t ask. You will never know the answer if you do not ask the question…

During last week’s FWTC (Fishing With The Coach) session at Luckfield, Young James Oram asked the most profound of questions I have ever been asked. James, whose new nickname is ‘Subsonic’ because of his teeny tiny voice coming from a tall lad, asked me if fish feel pain? James has been wrestling with his conscience with angling for a while now, and I answered him as honestly as I could.

A totally honest answer is, I don’t know… There are scientists that will say yes or no, but unless they are a fish, they will never truly know. I told James that if he was to be at peace with his conscience and keep fishing, he would need to task himself by being the best, most conscientious, and caring angler that he can be. He would need to take responsibility for the creatures that he catches. He needs to make sure they are looked after, regardless of their size. The equipment that he uses should be sensible and safe (hooks should always be barbless as club rules state), to be gentle and respectful when playing fish, to have compassion for the fish when he is unhooking them and taking photographs, weighing them, etc. We as anglers have a responsibility to ALL fish, not just the fashionable ones, to look after them and reduce the stress on fish as much as is practicable. Every fish we catch has given itself to us for our pleasure and for the enjoyment of our sport. It is only right that we should look after and return the fish to the water is the best way possible.

At the end of the day, what seemed like a potential car crash, turned out to be a useful coaching session. We got to spend some one-to-one time with those present and got some intensive coaching done too. I feel that the two juniors got their money’s worth today…

Just as a cherry for the cake, despite me asking Jerry to remind me to take some photos, I/we completely forgot… So, there are no official pictures! Lydia was missed as the Forgetful Brothers strike again!

NURSE! Where is that Weetabix!! They both need changing now!!!

Right at the very end we had a moments silence for one of Jon’s favourite floats that was a victim of a Carp attack on a whip. Jon had been dicing with death all day until the Carp had the last laugh at the death. Seeing as Jon was inconsolable, promised that I would make a tiny bench to sit next to Martin’s as a tribute to a lost friend. R.I.P Porcupine Quill…

My thanks to Jason and Dean at Revels for their help today and for supplying us with a lake to fish in.

Thank you to Jerry and Jon for staying…

Thank you to James, David, Jo, and Jack for turning up at all!

I’ve checked my calendar and I’m pretty sure the next event IS in two weeks-time at the awesome Todber Manor Fishery on the 13th of August. With weights of 500lbs+ only being good enough to get a section win, you seriously don’t want to miss this one!

Just quick note of thanks to Dereck Purchase who kindly donated a fantastic trolley to our regen program.

Juniors Sec…

Two pictures from today. Thanks David…

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