Question

Following on from the fishing in the good old days post, I hear a lot of people asking how can we encourage young people into angling ? In fairness, unless they are encouraged by a family member, and allowed to use the family members gear, it is going to be very hard. Take the average non fishing parent, who brings their off spring to a commie to “try out” fishing. What do they see ? Blokes sitting on top of the range boxes, using top of the range poles, rods etc. So they stop for a chat. Parent :”How much does your gear cost ? Angler : “Well this pole cost me £1200 and the box was £600, The box attachments work out about another £300 or £400. The two piece suit was £200 and the boots were £60.” Parent : ” Thanks for your help, I think I will get him flying lessons, it will be cheaper.” Angler : ” He does not need to buy all expensive gear, some of the cheaper stuff is every bit as good !” Parent : ” If that’s true, why aren’t you using it ? I don’t want my Johnnie to look out of place !”

Answer

Jeez – that paints a bleak picture Kevin. You are right of course it does look a bit grim when you look at it that way. I think there are quite few things to pick up on in that question mate.

The first and key one for me is the family member. I know society has moved on and we here a lot about errant fathers but you know I just don’t see anything like enough dads uncles etc. taking their kids (or someone else’s) fishing. Why is that? I also came across a venue quite recently that didn’t allow anyone under the age of 18 onto the venue whether accompanied or otherwise – well I wish them well with that blinkered attitude – I will never go there and I even tell others to avoid it.

But there are also quite a lot of venues that won’t allow under 18’s to be on the venue after dark, because of H&S rules or insurance!!! Really – What madness is this?? (Don’t get me started on H&S).

All that said I’ve taken and taught my own 3 kids and quite a number of their mates fishing (too many to remember), and not just to teach them fishing but to get them to understand the wildlife, the countryside, nature, and how to look after it by treating it with respect, not littering etc.

The next thing is tackle – yep starting out has got very expensive but as you’ve no doubt guessed – I’ve acquired quite a bit of my own tackle over time (and most of it was not expensive).

Every time I take a youngster fishing with me for the first time they get to use an 8ft old converted tank aerial (that might jog a few memories) that my father made in 1948, I keep it because its virtually indestructible and an old Shakespeare Sigma reel (because its small enough for any youngster to handle). Either that or its an old whip that my eldest son first used.

Before we go they get the Allen lecture of – If I’m going to take you, you need to understand that you can catch big fish with a tree branch, some line and a hook if you learn to do it right. Learn your water craft practice what you’re doing with the cheap stuff (it doesn’t them matter if you make mistakes) and when you get better you can use some of my better gear or I’ll help you to save up and get your own. After all you don’t start playing football by going out on the pitch at Old Trafford with the most expensive football boots do you?

I then take them to a venue where I know they will catch (and usually because I’m teaching them they catch more than I do which I then use to reinforce the point about tackle).

By doing this I’m working on the principle that once they have caught a few fish it kinda won’t matter about tackle because by then they are hooked on the fishing.

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