For the first time the angling area at the annual country fair was sponsored and run by Fishing for Schools and our new fly fishing charity Castaway, with additional sponsorship from the local branch of international fishing outfitters Orvis and newly-launched Angling Direct.
The fishing area was the place to be, with coarse and fly instruction from members of the Game Angling Instructors’ Association (GAIA) and Richard Jamieson and Dave Woodhead from the new Fishing for Schools South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire group.
Down on the River Derwent the crowds were entertained by demonstrations from top anglers, including Hassan Khan of Angling Direct who demonstrated his new wave carp techniques, local fishing personality Pete Arfield, who also amused the assembled as MC, and Fishing for Schools director Charles Jardine, who accepted the challenge of catching, landing and cooking a fish from the river running through the estate – each day!
Guided river walks looking at the wildlife of the river, led by Fishing for Schools’ resident bug hunter Lee Hooper, were also very popular.
The new Fishing for Schools South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire group was unveiled at the event and now has amassed a large number of schools interested in taking part when they get cracking in the new year.
Ladybower Reservoir and the Peak District National Park also lent their support to the area and the enhanced buzz led to an 180% increase in people signing up for the free tuition and massively increased footfall.
Charles Jardine said: “It was hard work to reinvigorate the fishing area, which had been a little underwhelming in recent years, but it really paid off, thanks to the professionalism, genius, and warmth of spirit of everyone involved. They helped make the area better than our wildest dreams.
“It was also very successful for our new Fishing for Schools South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire group, which now looks set for a very active launch in 2018.
“This was just the start for us at Chatsworth – next year will be even bigger and better!”