Welsh actor Julian Lewis Jones joined youngsters from Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon and Holyhead High School for a day’s sea fishing last Monday (2 July) as part of a three-day fishing adventure, organised by the schools and Fishing for Schools (F4S).
Gareth Edwards, assistant headteacher of Syr Hugh Owen said it all started with a visit by F4S director Charles Jardine to his school in the spring.
“Knowing that Holyhead High School teacher David Bailey is an also angler, I invited him to attend as well,” said Gareth, “and we decided to organise a three day course to generate interest in fishing in both schools. We decided that the first day would be sea fishing, the second would be a day of classroom based activities and the third would be fly fishing.”
Holyhead High School organised the first day (4 July) which was a four-hour boat fishing session. Several of the students had some experience of sea fishing, although none had ever fished from a boat, and they caught a variety of species – huss, wrasse, pollock and dogfish.
The pupils were joined by actor Julian Lewis Jones, who is an expert sea angler and hosted the Sgota fishing programme on Welsh language TV. His knowledge and rapport with the students was priceless, said Gareth.
The second day was a school-based session, run for both sets of pupils by Charles, at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen. They learnt about setting up tackle, fish behaviour, knots and fly tying and in the afternoon were given a casting lesson by Charles on the school playing fields.
It was Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen’s turn to organise the third day which was an inter-schools fly fishing competition on Llyn Dywarchen in the mountains of Snowdonia.
Gareth said: “We were joined by volunteers from the Seiont, Gwyrfai and Llyfni Angling Association but the weather proved too hot and no fish were caught. So it was an honourable draw between the schools!
“It was very successful and since then I have a number of children asking how they can get invovled with fishing at school and next I hope to get a few more schools together to form a Gwynedd and Anglesey Schools Fishing Association.
“The Seiont, Gwyrfai and Llyfni Angling Association has offered its help with our new school fishing club and I’m really excited about developing ties with them.”
Charles Jardine added: “This is a really exciting project and, if I may say so, typically Welsh! These teachers have a true vocation – for them it’s not just a job. They really want to encourage their pupils’ love of fishing.
“We are also very grateful to Julian for coming down to share his skills and enthusiasm with the youngsters. He had a real affinity with the pupils who were all very excited to meet him.”