Monday, 18 June 2012

Angling from the start - take kids fishing

Saturday the 2nd of June

I have been promising to take my two nephews, Will and Tom, fishing for a few years now though in all honesty they are probably only now at the stage where it would be worthwhile, meaning they might be able to sit still for more than five minutes without running riot! At a recent family bash I promised their dad Paul that this year we would actually do it and a date was arranged to spend a few hours down on the canal, though as the date approached I thought better of that plan, with it being the jubilee bank holiday weekend the canal was going to be busy and the extra boat traffic would create problems. After a bit of thought and advice from some mates I settled on a small farm pond which although local to me I had actually never set eyes on, but I was assured that it was stuffed with small fish and that was exactly what I wanted, a day struggling for bites would lead to boredom and I wanted to give the lads a day to remember.

We arrived at the crack of 10.30 and on peering over the five bar gate at the water my heart sank, the pond was tiny and full of weed, the one or two swims on it were quite steep and I had visions of wet feet, or worse. But after we made our way on to the banks we could see another piece of water glinting through the trees and on making our way towards it things started to look a bit more promising. It turned out that there were actually two ponds and the second was much more appealing for a beginner, not much weed bar a few small sets of pads, a couple of small islands, and a reasonable amount of flat bank to work with, all we needed now was some fish.

My initial plan when the intended venue was the canal was to set the lads up with a short whip each, the thinking being that taking the reel out of the equation would simplify things and eliminate one source of tangles, I well remember when my Dad used to take us fishing when we were young, I don't think he spent much time fishing himself and he certainly spent an awful lot of time un-picking tangles that we constantly got into. The problem was that the pond contains carp and hooking one of those on the whip would be entertaining for all of two seconds, so I dug out my trusty Drennan waggler rod along with my Daiwa Whisker whilst saying saying several prayers that they would return home intact. Both are cracking rods, true classics that would be difficult to replace nowadays but I don't own anything else that would do the job while still being light enough for a kid to use. My first proper rod was an Abu glass fibre float rod that I could just about get my fingers around the butt off and which weighed a ton, this pair didn't know how lucky they were, I just hoped that they didn't trample my prized carbon.

I set up the first rod with a 5bb insert waggler and swung it out with a swan shot clipped to the hook to plumb the depth, less than four feet, float adjusted and out it went again, less than three feet, hmm, adjusted again until I found it was two feet at the most, blimey that was a shocker. I wandered around to several other swims and found exactly the same so we stayed put though I must admit that did my confidence no good at all. I passed that rod over to Paul while I set up the other rig, this one with a float more suitable for the now established depth, and was relieved to hear a shout go up almost immediately as a small roach was swung in, phew, pressure off then.

First one for Will

Tom gets in on the act

Double trouble!

Myself and Paul then looked after one of the lads apiece with them swapping over now and then, usually when it seemed that the other swim was producing more fish! A steady number of fish came our way, mostly roach and rudd with some lovely fish pushing 8oz's, plenty of sticklebacks that kept pinching the bait before the proper fish got a look in, a couple of gudgeon, the first I've seen for a long while, a couple of skimmers, several small crucians and the specimen of the day was a small common carp caught by Paul who funnily enough seemed to be holding the rod quite often himself!

Dad gets in on the action

Tangles were also a regular feature of the day I must admit, though I should also admit to causing some myself. I found the hardest thing was to try and get the boys to strike with the correct amount of power, it was often either too feeble or else the float shot out of the water and ended up on the bank, usually signalling yet another tangle! That was something else I remembered from when I first started fishing, one particular memory that stands out is of me looking up at a tree behind me to see a small roach swinging from the branches after an over enthusiastic strike.

One happy lad
Starting to look quite proffesional

Tom caught himself a carp
The lads did really well, we had thought that two or three hours would be enough and that they would lose interest but in fact we ended up fishing for almost five hours and I'm sure that there wouldn't have been many complaints had we stopped for longer. There was the odd bit of compeitiveness as you would expect and a few minutes of disillusionment now and then, soon cured when the next fish arrived, but all in all it was just pure fun fishing. No doubt about it us adults had a cracking day too, I really enjoyed introducing the lads to the sport and will certainly take them again, I get the impression that it might be sooner rather than later as apparently they had a "wicked day uncle Rob"!


  1. Looks like a splendid day mate, the smiles say it all.

  2. Great stuff Rob, do we have some new converts?

  3. At that age who knows Leo, they've got so different interests anything could happen but it would be nice