So I thought I will volunteer to organise a Youth Day. I will do some Theory and Coaching in the morning and we will fish in the afternoon with a little competition thrown in to spice things up.
Most sports, clubs and other activities are struggling to attract a new generation these days so instead of just lamenting about it I decided I should do my bit. FOC of course.
The idea was to get some youngsters into fishing but as it turned out they were all fishers to begin with anyway. That is something we may have to work on for next year.
The day took a lot more organising than I thought it would. There were people dropping out and others forgetting. Then we had to cancel because of the weather and co-ordinating a new date with school holidays on either side of the border being different was a tad stressful.
Anyway the day dawned and very disappointingly only 4 of the 5 youngsters booked in turned up!
The adults who accompanied them were mainly Granddads and with me recently becoming one perhaps that is something I can look forward to.
The weather was kind in the morning if not perfect. Slightly cool after a hot one the day before but light winds and a fair amount of cloud cover. However by the afternoon it had become scorchio and very bright.
I took the boys from nine o’clock for talks and demonstrations on quite a few different subjects.
We started off with Respect for the Environment and the Fish. This was followed by a discussion on Safety with a particular emphasis on Life Jackets and Safety Glasses.
Then we covered Basic Entomology and how this applied to our choice of flies. Rods, Reels and Lines followed and how the Rod Rating system allows us to balance our tackle not only to its own individual components but to the fish we are liable to catch, the environment they live in and the stature of the user.
Knots and Cast Construction and Preparation for a day out followed. Then we moved on to how to set up a boat for safety and efficiency.
Competition Secrets were discussed!
I did not have time for a full casting session but did manage to pass on a couple of tips and tricks on how to prevent the most common errors and increase your distance. I also demonstrated and talked through how a Roll Cast can catch us more fish.
We had a tea break in the middle of all this and the lads set up an impromptu Fly Tying Session on the picnic table. Keen or what!
By the time I got through all the various subjects it was Lunchtime and Bacon Rolls were expertly provided by Carmel and Gareth.
Lunch hour passed in a flurry of setting up the rods in conjunction with the adults who had spent the morning out fishing to try and find the methods and hotspots for the afternoon competition amongst their respective young uns.
The boats left the dock as soon as they were ready and with a shot fired by Gareth at precisely one o’clock the first casts were made. Alfie Dodd who was the youngest in the group was the first to land a fish with only 10 minutes gone. Corben Skene, the second youngest was next with one in the net only 5 minutes later.
The competition was only for the fish caught solely by the Youths so some of the adults did not fish at all in the afternoon and most of us only had the occasional cast to see if something different might be working.
We had our work cut out anyway with changing flies and sorting out tangles as well as giving advice on techniques!
The final result could not have been closer with 3 of the Lads on seven fish each with Corben getting his last fish in the dying seconds of the match. Always fish to the last moment!
This was a Catch and Release Competition with totally Barbless Flies. However the points scoring system rewarded the angler who caught consistently during the afternoon as opposed to someone who landed on a hot spot.
So with 7 trout for 10 points the winner was our youngest angler Alfie Dodd.
Corben and Jack both had 7 trout for 9 points but with a quicker first fish Corben was second and Jack third.
A total of 23 fish were caught by the Lads so not bad for a four hour session in unhelpful conditions.
Anyone under 16 interested in taking part next year should register with the Carmel and Gareth as soon as possible. No experience or tackle is need for the youngsters. Lads and Lasses welcome.