Bob Smith: Returning to my D of E Award coaching roots

It is strange how something crops up, and it reminds you of things from many years ago.

Monday, 8th February 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 9:29 am
The Coquet, well up and racing under Felton old bridge.

Earlier this week I had an email from a couple I coached towards the end of last year.

Their son is doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, which was founded by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956.

Initially it was for boys, but within two years girls could participate too.

The scheme is so good it has expanded and is used in 144 countries.

Essentially the scheme, which has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, develops young people’s skills for life and work. It is a recognised mark of achievement respected by employers.

In my previous life as a teacher I was a qualified FA coach and a badminton coach.

I coached badminton to all ages between nine and retirement age. Older secondary pupils used to do badminton for their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

As a geography teacher I was also asked to help and accompany sixth form pupils from South Shields doing the Gold Expedition section of their award through Kielder Forest!

The couple who contacted me want me to coach/assess their son for fly fishing for his skills section of his D Of E Award. I am looking forward to constructing the programme for this section of his award.

It will probably include how to set up a fly rod, reel and line, basic knots, different types of flies and when to use them, basic casting techniques, playing fish, netting fish and returning them safely to the water.

I will also cover basic fly tying techniques with the aim of him catching a fish on one of his own tied flies.

I’m looking forward to the experience once the present virus restrictions change.

What a week weather wise, rain, rain,and more rain, followed by snow. The local rivers have been well up and carrying a lot of silt, so much they resembled rivers of chocolate.

With all the rain, snow and biting winds I gather there have been very few if any anglers on the Coquet.

I cannot blame them, I’m afraid I’m becoming a warm weather angler which has never been me.

Gone are the days when I used to stand on the rock ends at Amble and Hauxley with my dad all night fishing for codlings.

No spring fish have been caught on the Coquet yet, although there was a kelt caught on the fly along the Amble to Warkworth road on the first day.