Celebrating Sport was the theme of the day at the Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen last Wednesday.  In recognition of the sport of angling in Northern Ireland we were delighted to receive an invitation from DCAL Inland Fisheries Group to present some of our coached anglers from the National Coarse Fishing Federation to join with the game anglers to provide an introduction to angling.  For the first time the game and coarse anglers worked together with the fisheries to providing a variety of activities to engage the juniors with a non-water based inter-active theme. 1300 children attended from schools across the counties Fermanagh and Tyrone to sample a number of sports on offer at this annual event organised by The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Sport Northern Ireland, and the angling marquee certainly caught their attention.

From an educational angle the juniors were introduced to the variety of baits and equipment used by the anglers, fish dissection and had the opportunity to tie their own fly. Coarse fish species caught from the River Erne prior to the event were on display and the children were then given the chance to try out the virtual fishing machine and pull in a catch themselves.  Our own sporting heroes, Double World Pairs Champions and members of Ireland’s International Feeder Fishing Team Cathal Hughes & Philip Jackson presented a pole cupping competition with the keenest rolling the pole to drop a bean bag into a target much like the anglers do on the bank; competing against the clock this activity was about speed and precision introducing the competitive element. Silver Medallist Cathal brought along a display of his medal and trophies giving the juniors something to aspire to.  Coaches Julian Kendrick, Gavin Brown and David Bowles also provided the opportunity for everyone to have a go at casting inside on their indoor lough with everyone keen to reach the target and gain maximum points before heading outside for some game casting.  Much to our delight there was as much interest from the girls as the boys in this male dominated sport.  DCAL Fisheries will present trophies to the fastest timed pole cupping boy & girl along with those who gained the most points in the casting competition at their schools in the coming days.

The activities were all very well received by the schools and active clubs officer Gary Lavery already has leads from those who are keen to get more involved as well as introduce other groups to angling in the same way.

We welcome the invitation from DCAL Fisheries to support them in getting more children out on the bank but also for the opportunity for our coaches to play a role in developing the skills of our juniors.  If you have an interest in presenting the same to your group or community please get in touch at anglingcouncil@gmail.ie or if you would like to form an angling club contact gary@anglingni.com.  Visit afydireland.com for Angling for Youth Development.

Click here to see a gallery of images from the event.