Following the Christmas Party and presentation the end of January saw us start our winter programme in the classroom at the Lido. We planned to host the advanced young anglers on a Monday evening ( every other week) and the developing youngsters on a Thursday evening ( every other week) and started to teach some of the basic skills needed to enable them to be able to make their own rigs and tie their own hooks.
On Thursday 6 February the classroom session was run by Allan and Neil and involved them dissecting two trout ( bought from the market) to be able to look at the biology of the fish. Investigating the outside first we saw scales, gill covers, eyes, mouth, lateral line and the various fins. Internally we saw the spine and ribs, Liver, heart, stomach, intestines and swim bladder and discussed how much of this works to keep the fish healthy.
Howard Kelly joined the Monday group on two occasions to discuss and demonstrate important facts about fishing with rods. We learned a lot about the structure of different rods and reels and how you would choose which was best for a particular occasion. Howard also spent time on rigs, shotting patterns, hooks and all the important things if you are going to improve your fishing. Lots of questions were asked and answered by Howard.
Another Thursday in February saw Tony Quinn and Warren leading a session on invertebrates. These are tiny little organisms that live in the lakes and rivers. We looked at a sample from a river that Tony brought and samples from the Lido and used magnifying glasses to see and identify them. It was interesting to hear how many of them would turn into flies at some point and leave the water where they lived. There were also leaches, which take blood from the fish they live on. It was very interesting and the coaches found it as interesting as the juniors.
Another Thursday saw Tony Quinn and Jeff showing the group how the fly fishing anglers tie artificial flies to represent those leaving the water and then becoming food for the fish. The artificial flies are lures used by the anglers to catch fish like trout but can also be used to catch coarse fish. We learned how to tie a fly and actually made one which we got to keep.
Colin Scott not only spent time talking to the juniors about improving their angling skills but presented a development session for the coaches so that they can develop some consistency about what they are saying about specific skills particularly in the development of the “nationals squad”.
By March we were getting more and more excited about the nights getting lighter and being able to start fishing. The Monday advanced group had a very interesting session run by Dave Marshall about using paste for fishing. These are some of the juniors that will go to the National Championship and may well use paste in their attempt to be successful. They got to mix paste and look at how you make sure that it stays on the hook whether it is made from groundbait or pellets. Using the tank they also got the opportunity to be able to see how it breaks down and how it can be presented in the water.
Dave Marshall gave the juniors an interesting session on bait and how to best present it. The juniors were able to consider how to hook bait be it a maggot, worm or pellet and present it to give them the best chance of catching. As always they took the opportunity to practise and ask as many questions as they needed to.
Ramsbottom Angling Association thinks that youngsters should have the opportunity to experience different types of angling to be able to develop their interest and skills. We use commercial waters, our own waters and catch various coarse fish and sometimes game fish. Catching Pike is a different experience and we have had sessions to provide this experience supported by the Pike Angling Association. These have been popular sessions and provided fun and knowledge to improve the members skills and knowledge.
The Guru Talent Pathway ( North and Midlands) took place on the Partridge Lakes. This was a great experience for our developing junior match anglers who came back having had specialist coaching and opportunity to fish developing their personal skills.