Written by Jon Neafcy
Eric Edwards contacted me about setting up a teach-in in the local area for juniors & newcomers to the sport. I thought this was a fantastic idea as it’s good to put something back into our sport & I think this is definitely a way to shape future attitudes to pike angling in the area. Eric went along to the St Helens AA meeting & obtained permission to use a section or Car mill Dam. Eric mithered fellow anglers to donate gear for the event & he was inundated with stuff which included about 9 rods & 6 reels, my thanks to all who gave (the rods & reels will be retained for future events).
We nearly had a show stopped when the PAC said that the insurance would not cover the event, my coaching insurance said they wouldn’t cover it either & in the claims culture we live in I just couldn’t risk running the event without adequate 3rd party liability insurance, this was a bit of a nightmare to obtain many insurers just would not take the risk, one insurer quoted over £1000! But after a bit of negotiating & limiting the number of events I finally obtained it to cover 3rd party liability for club meetings, outings, events & the club boat for £190 + tax.
Myself & Eric co-ordinated the event & Eric made up 25 pike packs for participants. We promoted the event on the internet, in local tackle shops via a flyer that I made up & event in the local press. I had to make up a safety briefing, lesson plan & risk assessment for the event all pre-requisites enforced on us angling coaches by the powers that be. Myself & Eric met up the week before to finalise our plans. Although there was a lot of interest in the event you can never be certain that any number (if anyone) will turn up to these events, or on the other-hand you could be over-run with attendees. The unknown variables including the weather could make or break the event.
The weekend of the event arrived & late notice I also had the nod from the solicitor that me & my family were moving house that weekend, hectic to say the least. I put up posters around the event area informing others not to fish there whilst Eric was busy sorting all the tackle for the event. I returned home Saturday to complete my move, early to bed & up & down at Car mill for 8am. Eric was already there waiting as was one young lad who had peddled down on his pushbike with full kit! Eric was I think close to the point of being thrown in by two burly match-men; the area had been double-booked for us & a match! Anyhow we negotiated a compromise with the Match lads moving round & we all managed to stay dry.
We had several stewards & assistant coaches including James Dean, Dave Cottrial, K. Devlen, John Woods, K. March, N. Stubbs & Dennis Bird. The event was split into 4 sections to cover various methods – ledgered dead-bait & trace making, float-ledger, lure & drifting & paternoster, the event ran 10-2 this giving 4 of 1 hour slots of each method. We had 4 coaches & a steward to accompany each group with a couple of extra stewards to take photo’s take the registration, now all we needed were some attendees. By 10 we had about 25 kids accompanied by parents & about 5 adult newcomers to piking & the show was well & truly on the road. It was a bit repetitive for the coaches going through the same subject with 4 different groups, but the feedback from the coaches & the stewards was that they all very much enjoyed it, the kids were very well behaved & no doubt some very keen young anglers amongst them. All the kids received one of the pike starter packs made up by Eric from the stuff that had been donated.
Overall the event was an astounding success, even the idiot in the speedboat couldn’t spoil it for us despite his best efforts, St. Helens AA have kindly left an open door to us for future events. My thanks to everyone who attended & to all those who gave gear for us to give away, without each & every one of you the event could not have succeeded. My special thanks to Eric Edwards for all his time & effort in co-ordinating the event with me. Sadly we never got chance to show unhooking a pike as we all blanked, well you can’t have everything can you now!