Don’t Hate...Educate!

WELSH carper Andrew Riste on a brilliant community effort to make carp angling accessible to youngsters.


Back in March I came across a post on social media which really made my heart sink, a photo of a young angler standing proud whilst holding a carp without an unhooking mat, I then found myself reading comment after comment of unnecessary vile abuse and ranting from an army of keyboard warriors.

It’s something I’m starting to see a lot of online these days which has convinced me to try and create something positive on social media to try and make a difference. Don’t hate..... educate
Something that really alarms me is the number of youngsters constantly glued to their X Box, mobile phone or ipad. When I was growing up I spent some of the best days of my life walking the banks of my local stream catching minnows and small trout.
Fast forward to Sunday April 24th and after advertising on a local Facebook fishing group I had recruited a small army of local anglers from South Wales to take part in a junior coaching day at Cefn Mably Lakes in Cardiff, between us all we had gathered a huge amount of our spare and unwanted fishing gear and bait and brought it along with us as we stood in the car park waiting for the first young angler to arrive.

Action within minutes of arriving

Within minutes of us arriving 12 year old Daniel Hawkins was soon setting up his fishing rod and learning how to cast and clip up tight to an overhanging tree that we had baited with a scattering of 4G squid boilies and sweetcorn. Dan had some general coarse fishing experience and had recently started carp fishing, it didn’t take long before he was into his first fish but unfortunately he lost it. We then showed him how to tie a new rig and as I demonstrated how to cast I managed to land it in the tree which was followed by everyone laughing and taking the mickey out of me, the banter was coming thick and fast. We had the rod back out soon enough and within half an hour Daniel was proudly holding his new personal best in front of the camera, an 8 lb mirror carp.
We then had Dylan Jones 15, who had a fair bit of carp fishing experience including spending a weekend at last year’s junior carp school at the famous Horsehoe Lake, Troy Howell, 11 and young Joe Chivers, 6, joining us and we were soon teaching them how to tie knots, learning to cast (but not in the tree), how to play fish and the importance of fish care.

Soon after both Dylan and Joel had both landed a couple of carp between them and the day was going really well with lots of action as the day went on. Just after a few more lads had arrived complete carnage ensued as Dan’s roach pole was dragged in by an angry carp as his pole started zipping across the lake as we all frantically started casting at the pole to try and hook it up, we soon had both the carp and the pole back safely on the bank.

The generosity everyone showed was absolutely fantastic

Throughout the day everyone was lucky enough to land a carp or two and it was a breath of fresh air to see these youngsters learning the sport and most importantly enjoying it. The generosity that everyone showed was absolutely fantastic, amongst the items donated were rods, reels, bite alarms, end tackle, bait, pop ups, unhooking mats, books and DVDs.

After a very long day I decided to spend the night on Cefn Mably’s Specimen Lake as I’d never fished there before, and soon found a group of decent sized carp feeding over a light coloured sandy coloured area a few feet out from the reed line. I pushed a tall broken branch into the reeds to mark the spot so I could see it from the swim on the far bank and soon had a 4G Squid Cultured Hookbait cast accurately onto the spot quickly followed by a few handfuls of crushed 4G Squid boilies, sweetcorn and Tandoori Spice pellet.

Catfish confusion

Just before first light I was woken up by a savage take on the rod cast to the sandy area and whatever I had hooked wasn’t happy whatsoever as it just kept stripping line from me as I was powerless to stop it steaming out into the middle of the lake, I was convinced that I’d hooked a catfish but after a very long battle I finally landed my prize and immediately realised I’d landed a very large carp, an absolute belter of a mirror that weighed 33lb and the largest carp in the lake after my first ever bite on the venue. What a way to round off a memorable trip!!

I was on cloud nine and couldn’t help but think karma played its part and I had five fish in total including a cracking fully scaled mirror, every fish caught from the sandy area I had found.

After the positive response and great day we had that Sunday, I’ve decided to try and organise a few of these events every year. Thanks to all the guys for giving up their Sunday to come and help out for such a great cause!

Andrew Riste

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