Junior Match #4, Whitepost lake, Todber Manor 24/07/2021


Thankfully, the thunder and lightning that had threatened the Junior event at Todber Manor, had passed through during the night and, apart from a little early drizzle, was looking up by the time I set up the flags and banners at the lake. The lake was absolutely churning, particularly peg 6 halfway along. So the fish were ready to play host to our seven intrepid Juniors when they arrived. I went back to the meeting point at the tackle shop and, because I haven't been to Todber Manor for some time, the shop looked better than I remembered it. So much tackle to look at and I knew the Juniors eyes would be out on stalks when they saw it for themselves.

Once the excitement of so much lovely fishing tackle had died down a bit and I had done the boring talky bit, the draw was done from the pocket of dreams. With pegs 2, 4, 8 &10 ruled out because of trees impeding casting, The pegging went as follows. 1. Faith stone 2. Lydia by kind permission of the staff at Todber Manor. 3.Carter Lynock 4. Empty 5. Empty 6. Jack Copp 7. Max Faulkner 8. Empty 9. Thomas Millard 10 Empty 11. Ollie Smith 12. Jake Taylor We all made our way round to the lake, about a mile from the shop, only to find I had lost two ducklings when we arrived. A quick retrace back to the shop found my ducklings there. They were gathered up and escorted to the venue.

Setting up was well underway and Carter was able to make use of a really quality setup courtesy of his coach, Si Wagner. Carter had been given a seat box from the Re-Gen program from which, unfortunately, he was unable to reach the ground with his feet! Si to the rescue with his state of the art set up, ensuring that Master Lynock had a more comfortable day...

The match was started bang on 11.30 am and first blood went to Jack with a nice Carp, but for the others, there was a little period of uncertainty.. Faith in the low numbers also got off to a quick start on the feeder. Quietly netting Carp after Carp, with a little help from Mike. Faith is a steely eyed competitor who's quiet demeanour belies the fish catch machine beneath her cute smile.

As the match progressed, everyone started to put some fish in their nets....Except for Max.

Poor Max had another troubling start to his session and it looked like a repeat of Whitemoor all over again as he got left further and further behind by young Jack in the next peg. Max had signs of fish moment everywhere in his peg, but was just unable to latch on to any. But, bless him, he stuck at it doggedly.

Meanwhile, at the far end of the lake, little Mister Lightning, Thomas, was blasting through the day at his usual 300 miles an hour and we were all running to catch up. The boy of one million questions, set about wearing down the coaches one at a time until we, including yours truly, were heaped in a sobbing mess behind some trees, swearing that we were not coming out until the questions stopped... It's great that the lad has an enquiring mind, but dear God if I hear the word "why?" one more time today, I won't be responsible from my actions. I am, of course, just joking...

Once I had spoken with Teresa, Thomas's mum, about how best to reach out to him to give him the best coaching that we could deliver, then we really started to make progress with the lad. Thomas continues to impress me with his enthusiasm and casting prowess. So much so that, for the first time ever, I named an 'Angler of the day' as one master Thomas Millard. well done Tommy, keep it up....

Ollie Smith was next up with his ever attentive mum, Anna, at his side. Ollie has come on leaps and bounds over the last year and today he impressed all the coaches with his display of long distance under arm casting with a Method feeder that left us all slightly wide eyed. Ollie takes everything in his stride and is a true competitor when it comes to matches.

Jake 'Big smile' Taylor was at the far, and windward end of the lake. Fishing tight to the lilypads, he quietly built a good weight on the feeder. Dad, Glenn, managed to stay awake in his brand new comfy chair for the duration of the match. Jake has incredible patience and staying power for a lad of his age. Once he gains confidence in his casting, then I have no doubt that Glenn will be heard snoring in his throne all the way to Sturminster..

Many of our Juniors suffered a few lost fish today and it gave them a taste of the frustrations of modern match fishing in heavily stocked waters. The phrase "If was supposed to be easy, they would have called it 'catching' instead of fishing" was muttered a lot up and down the bank.

Si Wagner whispered words of wisdom in to the patient ears of Young Carter, and really reached out to him. The picture below with mum Becky just says it all about why all of us are here. You just can't buy that kind of joy...

At the end of the day, Todber Manor has given our Juniors a venue that they were already talking about returning to as soon as possible. It has definitely been our most productive day with everyone managing a respectable weight. I want to return to good old Max before we get to the results. Max tried to follow Jack's lead on the pole in the margins, but Jack is a little more experienced than Max, despite being half his age. I gave Max my attention for the last hour or so and tried to claw something back for him. So the poor lad had me bleating on about feeding patterns and columns of feed for a full 60 minutes. He even looked interested a couple of times. But the hardest days are the days when most is learned. Particularly when the lessons turn up the biggest fish of the day to offer Max a sense of redemption. It's now down to Max to show what he has learned in future events and get off to a better start.


The winner of our match today was Faith Stone in peg one, with a thoroughly impressive 50lb 13ozs 4drms. Well done little lady, we're all very proud of you!

Second was Jake Taylor at the other end on peg 12 with his best weight ever of 41lb 15ozs

Third was Jack Copp with 39lb 4ozs, one of which was his favourite fish, the humble Gudgeon....




As usual, and at the risk of repeating myself, I don't do any of this on my own. Huge and heart felt thanks go out to my two patient coaches, Simon Wagner and Jerry Bracey.

Without them I would be either a gibbering wreck or institutionalised by now... Thanks to all the parents for joining in this path of learning with their Juniors. Lastly big thanks and congratulations to our Juniors who delight, entertain and challenge me every time. Through them I strive to be a better coach and continue to have the best job of my life...


Special thanks to all the brilliant and helpful staff at Todber Manor for hosting us today. You gave us a superb fishery, tackle shop and facilities and gave our juniors a day to remember. We will definitely be returning....

Extra special thanks will have to go to the Stone family. Who decided to load my iPhone with some cute, and not so cute pictures. If you take 'em, I will posted 'em.... !!!



Thank you all...


Our next session is Coaching at Kingcombe on the 7th of August....



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