Ten Years of Angling Coaching by PFAC

Last week the Pembrokeshire Federation of Angling Coaches celebrated ten years of its existence with a course at Treffgarne Bends Lodge with some eager children from Ysgol Bro Gwaun and another enjoyable coaching session four youngsters with autism at Puddleduck Farm
So PembrokeshireSport.co.uk popped along to Treffgarne Bends, on the Western Cleddau, to watch the coaches interact with their young charges and as well as enjoying a chat to old friends meet up with those of the coaches we hadn't bumped into before.

Individual Coaching is brilliant

With so many coaches in attendance it was possible to give the children individual attention, not only with the actual art of angling but in learning to tie artificial flies, looking at some of the microscopic creatures which inhabit the river and its surrounds, and even having the chance to smell the spraints of the otters who live there!
It was indeed a special morning and we in Pembrokeshire are lucky to have so many people  who are dedicated to developing an interest in angling with youngsters: and also eager to promote the conservation of the river banks!
So today we are delighted to salute the coaches who do so much good work:


Roger PrattRoger Pratt

Roger was a founder member of the Pembrokeshire Federation of Angling Coaches ten years ago and is even more involved today as Chairman over the past three years.

Roger used to fish a lot but readily admits that his time on the river actively angling is limited now because of his involvement in PFAC, especially with regard to organising coaching courses.

"We are very lucky to have a group of dedicated coaches who are very committed and with a huge wealth of experience on the river bank, some of them over a 50, 60 or even 70 years of fishing.

"Personally, as a Level Two coach I still love working with disadvantaged children or those with learning difficulties, and recently had a wonderful time with some children with autism at Puddleduck and then our terrific group from Ysgol Bro Gwaun, who caught some small fish at the Treffgarne Bends.

"The look of sheer joy on their faces was worth everything and I thought at the time that we couldn't have celebrated our tenth anniversary in any better way."


Peter Tadman and studentPeter Tadman

Peter is the current vice-chairman of PFAC and another founder member who uses his 70 years of angling (he began as a nipper of nine on the River Trent in Nottinghamshire) to promote what he calls 'angling for pleasure'. He once caught an 18lb carp and says that earlier this year he caught no fewer than 7 lovely tench at Ginger Hill, the heaviest a beauty of 7lbs.

As a qualified coach he loves helping out with coaching sessions, especially with regard to getting children with special learning needs from local schools.

"At the recent morning at Treffgarne Lodge the youngster I was involved with was the first to catch a small brown trout and the look of joy on his face summed up what is good about what we do as a federation."


Rhian TaylorRhian Taylor

Rhian is a former head teacher at a local primary school and uses her communication skills in her coaching as she conveys her love of angling to anyone who meets up with her on the river.

Rhian took up angling after suffering breast cancer, using it as a means of building up her upper body strength and is a terrific advocate for other ladies who would like to learn from her experience.

"I feel totally relaxed when I am angling or coaching, where it is a joy fishing at one of the local ponds, on a boat or on the river bank seeing children catch their first tiddler - I recommend it immensely," she told us.

Rhian is a current member of the Welsh Ladies' Angling team and played her part when they beat the other home countries to take this year's gold medal in Mid Wales.

She is totally committed to her sport and to spreading the word about what it has to offer - and is a wonderful example of the way that angling can help someone with illness to help cope with it!


Nica Prichard

Nica Prichard with CurtisNica is one of three well-qualified lady coaches and despite being an octogenarian is still a formidable competitor who represented Wales a number of times in the past and even this year represented the Welsh Ladies as the oldest team member that won the gold medal in the Home Countries Championships in Mid Wales: out on the boats against opponents more than half her age and catching four fish in the process.

She is a founder member of PFAC and an inspiring coach who could be seen at Treffgarne Bends showing children the fascinating art of tying flies that help anglers to tempt fish to take the bait.

Nica is another with an amazing range of stories about her start in angling over 60 years ago and her involvement in other outdoor sports that range from game shooting to sailing.


Eric WilliamsEric Williams

Eric is a former chairman of the Pembrokeshire Angling Association and until recently was an officer of PFAC. He still maintains an active interest, especially at the Treffgarne Bends, which are near to his family home.

Eric first fished the River Pibwr (a tributary of the River Towy) near the family farm outside Carmarthen and plagued his older brothers to take him over 50 years ago, and he has been well and truly hooked ever since.

He was delighted to catch a 7lb salmon on the River Taff near Sophia Garden in Cardiff as proof its getting clean again and is eager to see The Cleddau maintain its quality in the river and on the bank.

A well-qualified coach and a founder member of PFAC he is hugely respected by his coaching colleagues.


John CoddJohn Codd

John is a real character who loves nothing better than fishing in the dark on the Western Cleddau, smoking his pipe and thinking about the ways of the world - and has published a book as an A to Z of his philosophy.

After almost 60 years of fishing he has a wealth of stories, like the times that he caught his first three-inch tiddler as a very small child to hooking a 124lbs Blue Shark, which he enjoys sharing with others.

He is also a level two coach and on the recent visit by Ysgol Bro Gwaun was fascinating the youngsters as he helped them look at the small creatures that occupy the river and help provide food for trout and salmon.

John still ties his own flies and it is recognised that he knows the Western Cleddau as well as anyone!

Roger ReptonRoger Repton

After 65 years of angling Roger Repton still loves his time on the river bank as much as ever, especially in his role as a coach after six years of involvement.

"I was lucky to learn the lore of the outdoor life from my grandfather," admitted Roger, "who was a gamekeeper in the Peak District and was pleased to take me with him to some of the best fishing in the area."

In 1986 Roger was part of the Welsh Angling team which missed out on the Home Countries Championship gold medal by only 2lbs and after a knee operation is really enjoying the chance to pass his genuine enthusiasm on to youngsters from local schools that haven't had quite the start that he had.


Peter JordanPeter Jordan

Peter is another founder member of PFAC who is Newport (Gwent) born and bred but came to Pembrokeshire in 1983 and is loving the time he has spent here since.

"I first went fishing as a five year old, over 65 years ago and still enjoy it as much as ever at nice venues like Wolfsdale Pits. I was a founder member of Pembrokeshire Piscatorials and chairman until 2011 - and it's great to be involved with the coaches now and helping others, especially children, to discover the joys of angling!"


David GardnerDavid Gardner

David hails from Trevine and has spent time on the river banks of the county for over half a century and helps coach young people, not only in the arts of fishing but in an understanding of the need to preserve the health of the water and also the surrounding environs.

"I was previously the Manager of Fisheries and Conservation with the National River Authority," David told us and it is still a real battle to preserve the health of our rivers, which I still believe is a vital part of our lives, and I continue to be involved in that area."

Like all anglers, David has a 'one that got away ' story of a 40lb pike which attacked a smaller fish he had already hooked at a pond in Lee Valley (Hertfordshire) but had sufficient strength to avoid capture - but he does have a 9lb salmon to his name!


Gregg LaycockGregg Laycock

Gregg hails from Pennar and is a self-confessed sea fisherman who has travelled all over the world in search of big game fish but was invited to join PFAC 18 months ago and loves his current involvement.

He helps to coach but has also taken on the role of unofficial press officer and puts his excellent pictures on the PFAC Facebook page, which he also manages.

"It is important that we show others the good work undertaken by PFAC," Gregg told us, "and it is nice to be in slightly calmer waters that I was previously used to," Gregg told us with a typical grin on his face!


Jim AndersonJim Anderson

Jim has long been an angler and was enjoying a quiet days fishing at Puddleduck when he met up with John Codd and Peter Tadman - and was immediately roped in to help out at PFAC.

"There was no way of refusing that pair," chuckled Jim, "and since then I have never regretted joining the federation."

Jim now aims to qualify as a coach but in the meanwhile provides a key role in his support work with children and adults with special needs, and enjoys the camaraderie the federation provides.


Barbara ThorneBarbara Thorne

Unable to attend on the day because of a holiday was Barbara Thorne, the third of the trio from the county in the winning Welsh team in the Home Countries this year and the lady with the most fish as she caught seven from her designated boat.

Like Rhian and Nica, Barbara is fully dedicated to PFAC and as another former head teacher is very adept at encouraging young children - and is as eager an angler as one could wish to meet.