Yesterday, our Fisheries department welcomed pupils from schools across Kent to our Grove Farm Fisheries to compete in the annual Kent Fishing4Schools (F4S) match.
The day gives pupils who have completed a F4S Angling course this year the opportunity to experience how a match works - from drawing out of a hat for their peg number, to the experience of fishing in match conditions, using a keep net, and the finale of the weigh-in and all the excitement that goes with it.
Despite squally weather conditions earlier in the day, the teams enjoyed four hours of great coarse fishing. The competition was a whip match with teams of four taking part, two pupils fishing at one time, then swapping over with the other members of the team.
At the close of the competition, each team’s mixed catch of perch, tench, roach and rudd was weighed. Thamesview School in Gravesend were the winners of the F4S Match shield. Showing real skill and teamwork, they were worthy winners with a total catch weight of 6lb 4oz, helped by the first fish they caught: a king-sized perch.
In second place was the team from Meadowfield School, who netted 3lb 10oz of fish - and third place was the Malling school with 3lb 6oz. Both schools put in an excellent performance, and were at times unfortunate that they hooked carp, which had to be landed and returned, as only silver fish counted towards the final catch weight.
Following its inaugural success last year, the match also featured the Kent F4S art competition. The theme for this year was Wildlife Scenes From The Riverbank, and the standard and diversity of the artwork was high. The overall winner was an outstanding painting of a pike about to strike a lure. Also in the placings was a vibrant ceramic fish, submitted into the mixed-media category. All the artwork is currently being displayed in the clubhouse at Grove Farm.
Warren White of the Kent F4S team said: “Today's event, a combination of match fishing, which our students love, and the creative art element, was a shining beacon of what we do at Fishing4Schools. I was proud to be part of this event today.
“I’d like to thank Brian Bailey, fishery manager at the college, for the use of the venue and for judging the art competition. It's days like this that can give our students the spark to go on to the college when they leave school.
“Thanks also to the schools and coaches who made the effort to get to the fishery after such horrendous weather conditions. And a final thanks to Charlie Rayner for refereeing the match so it ran like clockwork.”
F4S is a national initiative run by The Countryside Alliance Foundation. It runs short courses that offer a different way of learning for pupils, many with special educational needs, who may find academic work difficult but respond well to alternative learning. They integrate aspects of angling – for example weights and measures and fish biology – into the National Curriculum and encourage the youngsters to take up a new outdoor activity.