My wings are feeling a little clipped at the moment regarding transport and thus I did not feel like travelling far. At times like these either the Sowe or lake become my go-to venues, and as the Sowe is doing a very convincing impression of that chocolate river from the 1971 Willy Wonka film, the lake won first place as my chosen venue. But! and that's a big BUT! I know that right now that the predator fishing is probably best described as... well, not good.
Even though I fancied a little bit of piking I did not have it in me to wait all day for one run. So I thought it would be nice to take just one predator rod and my new favourite little feeder rod and go down to the brook pool to just have a bit of fun bashing bites whilst maybe fishing out a few errant pike to relocate back to the lake.
I do love an Autumn walk around the banks of Coombe pool. With such a differing mix of tree species, the season gets dragged out in a slow riot of Autumnal shades. As I kicked the leaves along the bank I must have passed at least eight pike anglers all eagerly awaiting their floats to bob or alarms to squeal. They all seemed in high spirits although I suspected when I passed back later they may not be in such good moods...
The brook I must say did as it always does and fished well. A constant stream of veracious roach, rudd and hybrids found my scaled-down feeder rig and quite quickly I found myself carrying a small pike up to the lake. The second jack came along as I was supping my cup of tea not long later.
It was as I was considering heading for home that two silhouette,s one large and one small, appeared over the top of the ancient old sluice that drains into the lake. At the time I was watching my dumpy float bobbing around close to the wall, only half concentrating when I heard my name called through the trees. It turned out that the figures above were in fact readers of this blog who have followed my adventures on Coombe with some interest. Soon after we exchanged initial greetings, a young fellow called Gabe burst through the undergrowth, rod in hand, exited to cast into the confluence pool.
As Gabe cast around the pool catching a mix of roach and perch I stood chatting to his father. I have to say that the young chaps enthusiasm was infectious. It was very refreshing to be reminded of how keen young anglers can be in these modern times when children are so easily distracted . He actually bought a real smile to my face with his antics and I couldn't help but be reminded of my own formative angling years.
|Gabe, with a pike we caught|
It was a pleasure to meet Gabe and his dad and I hope that his enthusiasm for fishing continues in the future. I also hope he gets his wish and catches the tench he so much desires next year.
After I left the my newfound acquaintances fishing the little pool, I walked back along the leaf strewn path. I don't know whether kicking leaves as you walk is a proven to help contemplation, but it seems to help me reflect. So as I tempted the dog poo gods and kicked leaves, I began to muse a train of thought Gabe had prompted. Of late I hardly see any young anglers at all! In fact I reckon I could not recall seeing any more than ten, tops, within the last year.
I know I don't fish too many commercial venues which I am sure have larger populations of young anglers, but even so you would expect to see a few here and there. When I was growing up there wasn't a single body of water that didn't seem to have a group of kids fishing on it. I suppose times have admittedly changed and parents can't just let young kids go roaming around as I used in my youth, and that the technology addicted generation have become a little reluctant to leave the the proximity of their WiFi connections But I am left in no doubt that young anglers might actually be becoming a rarity, therefore what future does that hold for our sport? Will the number of anglers dwindle so much in the next thirty years that we will see big manufactures starting succumb to lack of buyers in an over-inflated tackle market. Will Danny Fairbrass be seen in some Essex dole queue, or will Peter Drennan be seen be begging outside Starbucks? I actually suspect not, as something else comes to mind. Unlike young anglers I have actually seen a lot of new adult anglers. By that I mean people who have taken up fishing a lot later in life. People who may of had a dabble as a youth and didn't continue fishing but have actually had another crack later in life only to find they enjoy it and go on to take it up properly. And I suppose that's even better for our tackle companies as older anglers have more money than kids. So no need to worry Danny or Peter, you might not be for the poor house just yet...
As an afterthought I do think that we as anglers are actually doing our best to encourage youngsters interesed in the sport. Andy, my regular fishing companion, often takes groups of budding young anglers fishing through his school. I've followed Rob Thompsons passage to becoming an qualified angling coach on his blog http://www.speci-angler.co.uk/2013/10/angling-coach-nurturing-future.html and several other friends/bloggers encourage their children and friend's children to go fishing. However still I am willing to bet that there are loads of kids out there who like myself had little access to angling who would love to have a go. Unlike me they will never have the freedom to just go off on their own, as sadly our society has changed so irrevocably so that it's just not safe for them to be out alone. And that makes me very sad for those would be brothers of angle.