This was written about me by the sports editor for the Bude & Stratton post recently. I think it gives a good idea about who I am, what I do and why.
“I don’t think I would have enjoyed my life so much without fishing in it.”
Colin started fishing aged five-years-old and has never stopped. When it comes to fishing in the UK, he has, probably at some point, fished for everything that swims in and around the UK.
“I started fishing in the late seventies as a youngster fishing with my granddad,” he said. “Everything we caught was for the pot back then, so it was mainly sea fishing off the coast of North Wales. However, Trout, Pike and Perch from some of the big Welsh reservoirs were also eaten.”
He much prefers catch and release these days, though.
“Our knowledge of the environment has moved on a lot since the 70s. Even when sea fishing, I never take more fish that I will use that day; if I have to freeze it then I don’t see the point. Fish is so good to eat fresh from the sea, that freezing it is just wrong.”
Colin’s main fishing interest for the last 20 years has been coarse fishing for Carp — big ones, he says. In fact, his personal best Carp catch was just shy of 25lb (pictured). He’s also happy fishing to catch lots of small fish, such as Perch, Roach, Rudd and Bream.
“What I really find challenging these days is being able to target a particular species,” he continued. “By knowing about the fish and how each different species feeds, breeds and what habitat it likes, it can be very rewarding.
In 2002 Colin came to Cornwall on holiday, staying at Forda Lodges and Cottages near Kilkhampton. He and his wife Jayne loved it so much they ended up coming back two or three times each year since.
Harry, the son of owners Jim and Gillian, decided he wanted Colin to teach him how to catch the fish in the ponds, which turned out to be a fantastic experience.
“For me, it added another element to my fishing, being able to coach someone through the whys and wherefores of how all the aspects come together.”
In 2008 Colin decided to become a qualified angling instructor, taking course and his coaching exams with the Angling Trust — the governing body for angling in the UK — which issued his licence.
Around two years later, the couple were back in Cornwall, but this time permanently. Jayne was offered a job — Forda Lodges and Cottages as it happened, where she and Colin had come to know Jim and Gillian very well. They sold their Liverpool home, and arrived in the June of 2010 with a Land Rover and caravan in which to live while they looked for a new house.
It was, by Colin’s own admission, quite the adventure.
“I was immediately signed up to provide coaching and fishing lessons at about a dozen holiday sites around the area that have lakes or ponds on site. The service I provide is not available, as qualified coarse fishing instructors are few and far between in the area. The lessons have proved very popular, and, although I also work full time as well, I love teaching fishing, so manage to fit it in all in.
“Last August I did 25 (three hour) lessons in one month and a full time job. But, as I say, I love it so much, it’s not really like work — even though I get paid for it.”
This year he will be providing sea fishing trips out of Bude with Dean Cork, who runs the boat ‘Team Shed’, amongst his adventures. The catch, family or group of friends will be taken back to the London Inn, Kilkhampton, after their day out, where new owner and chef Stuart White will cook the best of the haul.
“This should provide a really good experience and good day out for everyone,” Colin said, “and if some of the group don’t what to go on the boat, they can still enjoy the fish and chips.”
Colin admits he would now like to get more tuition set up for the local community, based on his belief angling can provide such a variety of positive experiences.
“I’ve seen dads and sons get closer, whole families actually doing something together that they all enjoy. There are also educational benefits — I once took a maths class fishing!
“They learnt a lot of maths too.
“I have seen angling work for a whole variety of people such as people with learning difficulties, the disabled, ex-drug users and young criminals. I have done fishing lessons for a guy with only ten per cent vision, and it was fantastic to see him feel the line for bites and successfully hook fish time after time. But fishing is accessible to everyone, and will provide benefits to anyone young or old, able or not.
“The other thing I love about teaching is ‘creating anglers’. After one three hour session I often see young lads or girls that I know will be fishing for rest of their lives. I don’t think I would have enjoyed my life so much without fishing in it, so it makes me very happy to give them something that will be with them forever, can’t be lost or taken away.”
Colin’s second passion is wildlife and this no doubt stems from his encounters with it while out fishing. Being outside in the fresh air, where you can enjoy the countryside, is one of the pastime’s greatest aspects, and one he hopes he conveys when coaching.
This year Colin is hoping to run various classes at Upper Tamar Lake. These will be aimed at local people of all ages and abilities.
Carp Fishing School is open to all ages and abilities, but is aimed at people who already fish and are maybe looking to improve in a certain areas, or maybe want to move more specifically into fishing for larger carp.
There will be six classes prepared:
• Fish location and watercraft
• Casting (distance, accuracy, spod and marker, etc)
• Rigs and bait presentation
• Bait, bait application, bait enhancement, particle preparation and more
• Practical fishing experience, bite indication, playing and landing carp, unhooking and handling carp, and photos (including self takes)
• Surface fishing and zig rigs (summer 2013)
“People can take one or all of them, depending on what they feel they want to get from it,” he explained. “The classes will also be quite small so that I can try to pitch things to the individuals taking part. The classes will be weekend mornings lasting three to five hours, and will be run through March, April and May.
“The dates are to be confirmed once people sign up and I can make arrangement with Ben Smeeth, who is the estate manager at Upper Tamar. Ben and I have in the past done fishing taster days for young anglers, but what we would like to do now is develop this into something more formal and on-going, where kids can come a couple of times a month through the spring, summer and autumn, and fish with a real chance of catching, and with expert instruction.
Colin is also in discussions with one of the Bude Scout Leaders about putting a course together allowing some of the Scouts to earn their angling badge.
This may be merged with some plans to run a Junior Angling Club at Upper Tamar, which is starting in the spring — details of which can be found atwww.swfishingadventures.co.uk/budejuniorfishingclub.
“One of the big things with what I do is catching fish is top priority. It may sound obvious, but it is the single most important aspect of making the session work — although you can still learn when you don’t catch, and often learn more if you can figure out why you didn’t catch.
“For younger students you have to set the hook and get them interested, and that means catching fish. It makes the teaching part really easy then, because they want to know everything about what’s going on and I often spend hours just being bombarded with questions from them.”
Anyone interested in signing up for Carp Fishing School or the Junior Angling Club can visit www.swfishingadventures.co.uk, telephone 01288321852 or 07765689380, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.