At the tender age of ten Mike started pier fishing on the Isle of Wight to catch sandeels for his cousin - not trying for anything bigger as he was worried about stories of the conger eels that lurked below!
Family life changed and Mike moved across the water to Hampshire where, at a small venue, he was introduced to coarse fishing and caught his first roach.
Soon after, Mike's thoughts of fishing drifted into history until, whilst on holiday in France in 2001, his daughters saw a young Irish lad fishing in the lake near their apartment. Keen to find out more they kept pestering him to have a go. Thinking this was just a passing phase, Mike decided not to rush into things, but waited to see if the interest persisted - which it did! Knowing only a couple of waters in Suffolk and being a real angling novice, Mike decided to find out more about day tickets at Needham Lake. It was at this time Mike discovered the Gipping Valley Angling Club and its excellent reputation for coaching and its junior section. With two daughters taking part in the junior section events, Mike was then often seen volunteering his skills on the bankside.
Inexperienced as he was, the friendly club atmosphere gave Mike courage to fish a few matches and spend sessions on the bank, enabling him to pick up and develop good habits and skills. There is a wealth of experience in the anglers within the club, who have been willing to give good advice and guidance along the way: Ian Wood, Mark Brewster, Steve Barnes, Bob Gunn and Bernie Turner to name just a few - if you pardon the pun, Mike was hooked.
It was not long before Mike undertook management of the club's website and joined the management committee. It was in this role he attended one of the disabled angling sessions to take publicity photos. Being so impressed with what he saw: the keenness and enjoyment of the anglers, Mike decided to offer his services to help coach the anglers during sessions.
In recognition of the support Mike has received from the club, he undertook and completed the Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Angling at Pershore (Worcestershire) at the end of October 2006.
As an active club member, you will see him helping out at working parties, fishing in our club matches (and occasional inter-club events) and, if work and personal life allow, undertaking a couple of hours' pleasure fishing!
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