Get Hooked on Fishing - My Zone
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We look forward to hearing from you ... Get Hooked on Fishing Team

The Next Generation, Liverpool - 2011

As time moves on and we all get older a quiet moment of reflection does not go amiss from time to time. I had such a moment recently, reflecting on all the hundreds and hundreds of young people who have had the benefit to attend one of the many programmes and events we run. We had “the characters” some of whom we will never forget and one or two we would rather forget and some who are still around keeping in touch, volunteering and acting as role models for the new young people who are accessing the project. In my reflection l realised that we had a unique event happening for the first time in the project.

A new group in a school doing their Basic Introduction to Angling certificate were to become part of a unique event, why l hear you ask?

The tutors who were delivering the course were two of GHOF Liverpool’s peer mentors who had risen up in the project over the years and after much personal development had expressed a wish to become trained as coaches, passed their level 1 Coaching certificate with us and were now delivering the course as part of their 6th form work in their own school, supervised by our newest level 2 professional coach who went to the same school and started on a GHOF scheme in the school some years earlier.

Above: Two amazing young men -  now 17, Tom and Alex presenting their first course to a class of 8 young people passing on the knowledge and skills they have learnt. They were demonstrating not only their knowledge and skill but also their great confidence.

The whole group and sessions were over seen by John who had himself come up through the ranks over the last five years, trained as a coach and passed his Level 1 coaching qualification and at 18 passed his level 2 Coaching certificate.


John set the course up, did some delivery training with Alex and Tom and now supports them while they deliver the course.

Above: Tom offers an experienced hand and John assists a student.

The future looks brighter for these two young men with a strong will to achieve and succeed, confidence and ability to communicate at all levels they have all the tools to cope with the future and what life may throw at them.

All this, and it started with an interest in fishing.

Get Hooked on Fishing Success Story - 2011

John was first referred to Get Hooked on Fishing when he was 16. In his very first meeting with me he was very quiet, only gave one word answers and rarely looked up from the floor. He was on a very high dosage of medication due to his massive levels of anxiety and paranoia, preferring to stay in the house a lot, often drinking and taking drugs rather than facing the world outside. After many weeks of working with John he was beginning to open up a lot more and started to go out fishing a lot more, with family at first, and then with friends. This moved on to him contacting various people from angling forums who had never met before, and fishing with them. Sometimes they were out fishing up to 5 times per week! John is also now on a much reduced amount of medication, no longer takes drugs, drinks sociably only on rare occasions and is looking for employment. John also regularly fishes competitions which includes hundreds of other anglers from all over the county. He is a very nice young lad who I keep in touch with regularly and he has a new lease of life.

Darren McGlen, GHOF Project Manager.

Get Hooked on Fishing Success Story - 2011

Gary was referred to the project when he was 17 years old. He was referred due to his lack of interaction with the outside world, preferring to stay indoors most of the time due to his extremely high levels of anxiety. This derived from bullying at school which led to Gary seeing a doctor regularly to try and stem his anxieties. Gary was keen on angling but needed more focus in building up his confidence rather than his angling skills. After a few weeks of working with Gary, an opportunity arose for him to volunteer and to pass on his fishing knowledge to a large group of young people referred by the Youth Offending Team. At first Gary said he wanted to do this but was "nervous that they might kick off". I assured him that this was an extremely rare occurrence and that he would be protected. When the group arrived, Gary immediately took over a group of 3 young lads. He never once came over to ask for any help and I observed he was talking to them all of the time. After working with the group, Gary said he felt "extremely proud of himself" and wanted to do a lot more. I then referred him to go through his level 1 coaching award which included presenting in front of many adults previously unknown to him. He passed this first time!

Since then Gary has started his own angling forum and arranged many fishing meets which include people from all over the North East. He is also currently completing his level 2 coaching award and has just commenced employment where he is working with people with learning disabilities. When I asked him how he felt about it I got the reply "I didn't think to myself I could be doing a job like what I'm doing, but it's rewarding. Reminds me of when you have people out fishing for first time and they catch a fish, same kinda thing in the home when you support them to learn stuff and do things for themselves."

Darren McGlen, GHOF Project Manager.

How Get Hooked on Fishing Has Helped Me - February 2011

The first time I was introduced to Karl and Get Hooked On Fishing, was when I was in year 7 at Thomas Adams School, Wem. The things I learned was how to cast with a fly rod which was for the first time, but also how to choose the right fly for the particular day. I also learned to retrieve the fly line and hook, and play and land a trout. I also learned how to kill a trout which I was then able to take home to eat. I also learned how to tie flies which was for the first time.

In year 8, I started to do coarse fishing and was taught how to tie successful rigs which I could use when I go coarse fishing and also the right bait that I could use for the day. In year 9 I learned more about fly fishing to a more advanced level, as well as some more tactical coarse fishing. The things that I learned more about on fly fishing was how to shoot a fly line out a lot further and also how to tie better looking flies to use when I went fly fishing.

In year 10, I was taught more about coarse and fly fishing. The things that I learned more about fly fishing was how to fish with two flies and to cast an even greater distance. I also learned how to tie more flies. In coarse fishing, I was taught how to match fish because I was chosen to fish a schools national competition for Thomas Adams School, Wem which I was lucky to be chosen as captain and we finished 15th out of 31. I was also taught to tie my hooks and flies onto the line and was also taught how to play a Carp on a pole which was for the first time.

In year 11, I was taught how to coach students to fish and I passed on the knowledge that Get Hooked On Fishing has taught me. I also learned how to make more advanced flies. I had the greatest honour of helping coach at the school nationals where I had fished before and I was able to then pass on the knowledge of how to fish the venue.

Get Hooked On Fishing has taught me to overcome my OCD because it doesn't bother me when I am out fishing. I have also coached at Fish O'Mania three times. Get Hooked On Fishing has also taught me about the country code of practice.

From Get Hooked On Fishing I have gone on to Rodbaston College which at the moment I am doing a level 2 Diploma in Fish Husbandary. This is because I would like to become either a fishing coach or be able to run my own fishery in the near future.

Written By Richard, who participated in the Shropshire GHOF Project.

Get Hooked North East Continues with Apprentice Programme 2011

youngster carp

Steven Dixon became Get Hooked North East's second modern apprentice and fulfilled a lifetime's ambition of getting a job in the world of angling.

Yet only 3 years ago Steven aka "Willis" was at a behavioural school struggling with education and in need of help. He struggled to talk to anyone and had very poor communication skills. He spent the first week staring at the floor and walls, and he did grump a couple of times.

After a couple of weeks of attending the Get Hooked work placement programme he began to come out of his shell, even laughing at some of the daft things that go on there.

A mad angler, competent in Carp and Sea Angling, he rapidly found friends who could talk with him about the one thing that he loved, Fishing!

3 years on and if you telephone Get Hooked North East, it is likely he will answer the phone. If you come for a Bacon Sandwich he could well be the one who cooks it. Maybe you might come to buy an item of fishing tackle, he might be the one who sells it to you or the one who teaches you how to use it.

Mick Watson founder of Get Hooked said "Steven is a credit to himself and a great role model for all young people, he has worked very hard to overcome his difficulties and now is a valuable member of the Get Hooked Family"

While the country sees record numbers of unemployed young people, Get Hooked wants to see more of it's student's potential realised.

It is hoped that a further apprentice will join Steven in Durham by the summer and recruitment for the first London position will commence In March 2011.

GHOF My Experience - January 2009


I started with GHOF in May 2007 doing my module one, I had met Darren a few weeks earlier at Ashington High School and from meeting him I knew that GHOF was a project that I wanted to be involved with.

It’s surprising how much you can learn about something that you have been doing for 15 years in such a short time, I think that in the past year and 8 months I’ve learnt more about fishing and my self then I had all the years before starting with the project.

In the time that I’ve spent with GHOF I have done so much that I wouldn’t of had the chance to do other wise, I’ve completed my GHOF module’s 1, 2 and my module 3 which was an amazing experience, I got to go to Norway on a fishing trip of a life time, and I caught the biggest fish of the trip and my biggest fish ever which was a 8lb Cole fish.

Not only have I been through all of the GHOF modules I have also been invited down to conferences in Manchester which me and Darren ended up standing in front of about 150 people and talking about the project which we were asked to do 10 minutes before hand, and I also got the chance to go down to Leicester and learn about course fishing which I had never done before and I caught my first carp. I am now also a qualified level 2 sea angling coach of which there are only 3 in the whole of the North East.

I can honestly say GHOF has changed my life for the better, not only have they gave me a chance to do all of these amazing things, they have employed me in my dream job, which not many people get to experience, so I’m one of the lucky ones to be able to pass on what I have known and learnt all my life which is one of the best feelings you can have.

But its not just a job, its my life and I’ve been fishing since I was 3 years old and have loved the sport ever since then, so being able to do it as a job is a life changing opportunity, and I’ve made some great friends in the process who I hope will be friends for life.

Written by Jamie Prime, January 2009

Get Hooked on urban fishing - Dott07 November 2007

Urban fishing went down hook, line and sinker at the Dott 07 Festival. The Environment Agency brought in experts from community charity group Get Hooked on Fishing to give one hour lessons on the banks of the Tyne... and everyone lapped it up. Boys and girls were casting in the Tyne in hope they would catch something fishy, and they did! From Flounders to Codling and a few crabs, lines were barely still for a moment and the kids couldn't believe their luck.

urban fishing

Activities took place at the side of the Baltic for three days during the festival. The sun shone, the wind howled, and it was COLD! Wrap up warm would be my top tip for fishing in the Tyne. Fishing expert Darren McGlen, winner of the 2005 North East Fishing Winter League, led the free sessions. Everyone and anyone was welcome to join in, you didn't need to bring anything or know anything about fishing, it was all supplied - rods, lines, bait and buckets of knowledge! Groups were taught how to cast, reel and interesting fishy facts about their catch.

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Copy and images courtesy of Dott07

Kids Get Hooked On Fishing - Match Fishing, 29th October 2007


Kids Get Hooked On FishingFishing is at times a solitary pursuit, but can also be great fun with a friend, as Berryhill High School students Thomas Smith (age 11) and Nathan Royall (age 12) demonstrated. The duo enjoyed a memorable pike-fishing day at Fenton & District’s Dilhorne Pools.

Thomas, a peer coach with Get Hooked On Fishing, had asked Nathan to accompany him on a fishing trip, and watch him fishing in order to give Nathan an insight into pike fishing.

Nathan watched in awe as Tom proceeded to bank four fish in just two hours. The first fish of 7lb arrived within 15 minutes of Tom casting his deadbait into the water. This was followed 20 minutes later by a fish that threw the hook after a short fight. Virtually an hour after starting, Tom had his third run and hit into a pike of 8lb. As he was playing the fish his second rod picked a run up too! Tom had to ask his dad Dave (who had been sitting watching them fish) to hit the fish and once the fish was on Dave asked Nathan to hold the rod while he netted the first fish.

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Copy and images courtesy of Match Fishing

Anthony's Story - How he got Hooked on Fishing ! ... September 2007


I love fish. I love fishing. You could say I am hooked! This is my story.

And this is how it all began ...

From the age of 12, I was constantly getting into trouble, especially with the Police and this had a negative effect on my school work. I was very shy at the time and I was bullied at school. I was quite small because I suffered from a mild form of muscular dystrophy so rather than lashing out physically, I would do so verbally.


How I got hooked ..

One of the problems was I didn‘t have anything to keep me interested and busy until my older cousin recommended that I join a scheme that he belonged to called "Get Hooked on Fishing!" in Bishop Auckland, near where I live.

Getting Hooked ...

At first I wasn‘t sure about joining the scheme and I was a bit hesitant as I had never been fishing before and it had always seemed boring to me. But once I started getting involved in it I really started to enjoy it and constantly found myself down at Witton Park fishing Centre. I also became good friends with the project founder Mick Watson and became a member of the Get Hooked Centre.

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An article by Jonathan Boulton a peer coach from the Durham scheme ... August 2007

The ‘Get Hooked on Fishing’ scheme is about young people teaching other young people how to fish. I was introduced to the Get Hooked on Fishing scheme in 2002 via Eph Bunting, who is now the North East Regional Manager for Get Hooked on Fishing. After a day of visually putting together what went on within a days coaching I was given the chance to coach the following day. I instantly made friends with the other peer-led coaches and to this date I am still good friends with them all.

My most enjoyable experiences of my time with Get Hooked on Fishing are the rewards we gain for our coaching. Rewards have included working at events such as the ‘Chatsworth Game fair’ and the NEC’s ‘Go Fishing Show’. The reward that tops the list is the two trips to France that I have participated in. The most enjoyable was my first trip to a lake called ‘Etang de la Botte’. I gained a new personal best of a 33lb common carp and a total of 173lb made up of 12 fish in the week.

Over the years I have received a huge amount of support from a number of people. People that have supported me over the years are people such as the founder of Get Hooked on Fishing, Mick Watson, my local fishing club secretary and regional manager Eph Bunting and all the peer-led coaches that have taken part in the scheme over the years have supported each other. Through this support of working on the scheme and with a variety of people I have become a lot more confident within myself. This is due to talking to large groups of youngsters that have taken part in coaching events and taking part in demonstrations in front of hundreds of people at fishing shows.

Through volunteering on the Get Hooked on Fishing Scheme I have been able to see youngsters lives change as they have moved from hanging around on streets to gaining a sport for life.

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