Spotlight on…

10th May 2019

Richard Hadley, Angling Trust Coaching Centre Manager and Lead Safeguarding Officer introduces a new monthly “Spotlight On…” series.

Following on from useful feedback about this newsletter (…and please keep your suggestions coming – thanks!), each edition we’ll have a focus on coaching in one area of the country to inspire you and help illustrate what’s on nationwide.

Our first article is from Mark Brewster with news about a great initiative between one of largest, most forward-thinking and proactive single-species fishing groups that I know, and youngsters that it helps introduce to fishing. Can you guess which one?


Shortly before 9.30 a.m. on Sunday March 17th, eight keen youngsters assembled at Milton Country Park for a Pike Anglers’ Club of Great Britain Level 1 coaching day.

The PAC offer three such courses for anglers aged between six and sixteen: Level 1 (‘Jack’), Level 2 (‘Double’) and Level 3 (‘Twenty’).

On this occasion, Angling Trust Level 2 coach, Phil Wilkinson was at the helm, with fellow Level 2 and Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society‘s (CFPAS) John Pope and RA2 Cambridgeshire PAC’s Jamie Martin and Tim Anderson assisting.

After introductions, a safety briefing and a few facts about the quarry, Phil gave an explanation of the Grinner knot before handing out instructions, lengths of braid and sections of wooden dowel fitted with swivels for the youngsters to practice with.

Out of the onsite classroom an hour or so later, the participants, lead coaches and those assisting headed to an especially cordoned-off area nearby. The mixed ability group of attendees then had a chance to cast with lure rods, the session culminating in them looking to land their brightly coloured wooden (and hookless) ‘lures’ in orange buckets that Phil and his colleagues had placed within roped circles – the coaches and assistants also chanced their arm, whilst parents and guardians too enjoyed the part of the day that always proves popular.

A short session back indoors entitled ‘What is a Lure?’ was followed by examples in all shapes, sizes and colours being handed out for categorisation on titled laminates. It was also at this point that the pike anglers of a certain age that were in attendance, admitted to pinching their mother’s spoons when somewhat younger, before fitting them with a swivel at one end and treble hook the other!

While some in the group enjoyed a packed lunch, a few made use of the friendly visitor centre’s facilities and well-stocked cafeteria, returning with a hot drink and a sandwich. One or two of the PAC members however, had come prepared with their usual bankside cooking equipment and utensils and the smell of fried eggs and bacon wafted across the seating area in front of the classroom.

With appetites satisfied and thirsts quenched, it was time to take the short walk to Todd’s Pit nearby, where a short afternoon was spent trying to catch a pike or two.

The typically unpredictable and changeable spring weather, coupled with clear water conditions seemingly weren’t conducive to ‘old Esox’ obliging though, and a couple of ‘follows’ were the only reward for efforts of all concerned.

Around 3 p.m. everyone gathered in the classroom once again for a debrief. John thanked the lead coaches, several PAC members and the Angling Trust coaches that gave up their day and traveled to the venue to assist.

Medals and certificates were handed out and George Wild was named winner of the casting competition, with Zenith Kan runner-up. After group photos outside, youngsters departed clutching copies of the PAC’s regular publication, Pikelines, under their arms.

Level 2 and Level 3 days are scheduled for Milton later in the year and whilst our target fish don’t always read the script, the day was surely a success. The pike is a species that thrives on neglect and the emphasis of such days is always on fish welfare, that and the safety of the young people that choose to fish for them.

Mark Brewster, Angling Trust Level 2 Coach

Next month the focus will be on the South West region so please send me any stories or copy (Word Document preferred please) and we can share it through the All-In! newsletter – thanks – Richard: coaching@anglingtrust.net