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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


14/11/2015 - Does Angling Have A Future?

a group who have then gone on to be very good anglers

Recently the angling press reported that rod licence sales are down, children were not taking up the sport. This I can understand with so few angling clubs making a determined effort to get our children to take up the sport, then today we have many one parent families where some children probably don’t see their father from one year to the next, probably just lots of uncles who would have no interest in taking a youngster fishing. Then look at the cost often £5-00 for a youngster, don’t these fishery owners realise they are the future, that’s if angling is to have a future.

Prince Albert Angling Society have a great scheme where a junior can join for just £12-00, a non fishing person can get a permit for the same price, this means mum, dad if he is around or other relative can take their youngster fishing for little cost. The Society also has a very successful junior section headed by Peter Henery and his team of dedicated helper, not only do they have competitions, but also clinic’s covering carp, pike, legering and float fishing techniques also fly fishing. Further details contact Peter by e-mail [email protected] Pic IMG 208 I was guiding 12 year old Nathanial Roe when he caught this big chub from the River Aire on crust, Nathanial is lucky to have a dad who takes him fishing.

Back in the 1960’s I organised a schools angling league sponsored by the local newspaper, the Editor realised that children sell newspapers 200 or more youngsters would take part, Also several school masters gave up their Saturday once a fortnight to help out, those youngsters were never a problem, clubs helped out with waters free of charge. On one occasion the Saturday league match was nearly cancelled due to a serious pollution, my editor told me to book a fleet of coaches so we could the competitors half way across the county to fish the River Stour.

Over the past 10 years I’ve worked with the Sgt Major Tam Miller of the British Army, PC Mark Hyde of the Lancashire police force in taking boys and girls fishing, it’s been a great success, probably a 1000 youngster have taken part in the Pendle Fishing Buddies courses, the overnight stops prove very popular with both the boys and girls, Woman army officer turn up to look after the girls, helping them put up tents etc, I’m sure these youngsters learn a great deal about life in general from these adult helpers. Sgt Major Miller is extremely popular with everyone, certainly a great role model. Pic DSC 2132 a group who have then gone on to be very good anglers, some of the older ones now help with the newcomers, others have gone on to a good career in the army or have been helped to get apprenticeships, a great success story where we give our time freely. Pic DSC 2473 A group of boys and girls enjoying a BBQ on an overnight fishing trip.

During one of my fly fishing academy courses in the UAE, one of my pupils gave me a cheque for $1000-00 as a tip, I turned it down saying it was a pleasure helping him to master fly fishing. But he insisted, I said “please make out a cheque for one of my charities” after explaining my three charities he chose Pendle Fishing Buddies, the manager of the AL Aqua hotel in Fujairah then added another $1000-00, it gave me a lot of pleasure handing over that cheque to PC Mark Hyde when I got back to the UK.

Three Anglers Who Taught Me So Much

From being a 4 year old during World War 2 I was fortunate to have a grandfather who would take me fishing, at the end of the war my father and several relatives also took me fishing, At 11 years of age I was extremely fortunate to meet 3 top local anglers Harry Rowland, Len Cuckoo and Dennis Trim they would take me fishing most Sundays, during these trips I would be given a large jug just before noon time, then sent off to the local pub to get the jug filled with best bitter, being told “Don’t sip or spill any” often this entailed a mile or more walk across the fields. Harry hailed from Northampton had a cobblers shop close to my home, where I worked as a Saturday boy, my job was to clean his basket and bait tins, then go off to Gammons tackle shop to get his gentles, hooks etc, my bus fare was never used I would run there and back using the bus fare for bits of tackle such as these Pic DSCN0106 tackle winder with line float shot and hook, probably cost sixpence in old money. On our fishing trips, I would spend the morning with one of these anglers, then fish the afternoon session putting into practise what I had been taught. On one occasion I got a big slap around my ear, for throwing in a tennis size ball of ground bait when it should have been a pigeon size lump of soft ground bait. I never made that mistake again. My teenage years were a time of learning the art of angling, the lessons haven’t been forgotten, even if these days I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday.




A group of boys and girls enjoying a BBQ on an overnight fishing trip

tackle winder with line float shot and hook

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Martin James Fishing
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