On 25th September, our Fisheries department were delighted to welcome school pupils from five schools across Kent to our Grove Farm Fisheries to compete in the annual Kent Fishing4Schools (F4S) match.
Frosty conditions greeted the teams as they arrived at the lake to set up on their allotted platforms, but this soon gave way to glorious autumn sunshine as the teams enjoyed four hours of great coarse fishing. They were joined by international fly fisherman, all-round angling guru and Fishing4Schools founder Charles Jardine, as they fought to land the biggest catch. F4S instructor Charlie Rayner refereed, as well as donating the trophies and maggots.
The day was fiercely over-subscribed, with teams of four taking part on a first come, first served basis. This year’s competitors were from Thamesview School in Gravesend; Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne; The Malling School, Maidstone; Rowhill School, Longfield and Bower Grove School, Maidstone.
The competition was a whip match with two pupils fishing at one time, then swapping over with the other members of the team. Only silver fish counted towards the final catch weight, so those students catching carp had to land and then return them, adding another level of skill to the match.
At the close of the competition, each team’s mixed catch of perch, tench, roach and rudd was weighed and the eventual winners were Meadowfield, from Sittingbourne, Kent, whose team managed to net 7lb 2oz of fish – the highest score yet in the competition. The Malling School was second, Rowhill third, Thamesview fourth and Bower Grove fifth.
Warren White of the Kent F4S team said: “As always, this competition was a great spectacle to watch, with all the schools giving it their best and really enjoying the day. The idea is to show the young people how a fishing match works which will help their future development in fishing.
“I’m over the moon that Meadowfield are this year’s winners. They have always supported Fishing 4 Schools and have taken part in the match from the first year. However they have not won the match before, so it’s fitting that this year they managed to pull it off.”
The match also featured the first Kent F4S art competition. The standard of art was very high, but finally judges Charles Jardine – an acclaimed fish artist in his own right – and fisheries manager Brian Bailey, chose a painting of a perch, by JJ Perry of Broomhill Bank North School as their winner.
Two clay models of fish were also submitted into the mixed-media category of the art competition, which was won by 12-year-old Jed Campbell of Thamesview School.
All the artwork is currently being displayed in the clubhouse at Grove Farm.
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.