August 2, 2023
Phoenix was the youngest angler I’ve coached at Piscators – a fantastic five-year old with a million questions and the coolest dinosaur umbrella I’ve ever seen.
He needed it, because he and mum Angela arrived during some of the worst weather possible! Heavy rain persisted on and off throughout the session, but luckily we had a match brolly over the seatbox and the brolly I use for overnight carp sessions set up as a refuge for mum.
Some thought went into swim choice and we ended up in Swim 4 on Castles, tucked away from the worst of the wind and rain and able to find some nice calm water close in. Given that this was only Phoenix’s second time fishing, we were always going to start with short pole to hand; on his last session (at Cassiobury Park Farm) he caught a grand total of one roach, and I told him that if we didn’t beat that today I’d jump in the lake. Luckily, it took about a minute to catch his first two fish so I stayed dry – although given the conditions a dip in the lake wouldn’t have made much difference!
Again, it’s amazing how fascinated the youngest and most hyper of children get when fishing. Angela wasn’t expecting much in terms of attention span but regular action ensured that Phoenix stayed glued to the seat box for over two hours! Roach, rudd, gudgeon, perch and chub kept him casting and feeding, although we do need to work on the accuracy of his maggot throwing (and on mum’s reaction to a pint of Harefield Tackle’s best!).
I also learned a very valuable lesson myself; don’t progress to method feeder too early and keep a really close eye on the rod at all times! Phoenix really wanted a big fish to close the session and the amount of bubbling and mud clouds told me that a method-caught carp was on the cards. We talked about how to watch the end of the rod for a bite rather than a float, and how to pick up the rod as soon as it bent round. It turned out that a carp was on the cards, but as I watched the feeder rod and reel disappear into the lake courtesy of an angry fish, I realized that we might have taken that step a little too soon! Sigh.
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