Students at Lanesboro Community College enjoying the ‘Go Fishing’ programme recently, while adhering to public health guidelines
Students at Lanesboro Community College are currently engaging in a ‘Go Fishing’ programme.
The fishing program began a few years ago during the Lough Ree Angling festival. The festival was a huge event for Lanesboro/Ballyleague with teams of anglers from all over the world taking part.
Ciarán Mullooley encouraged us to get in touch with the local Angling Co-op and we also liaised with Oisín Naughton of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The result was a series of Angling workshops with local experts Philip Gordon and Andy Burnett.
Immediately we found that students relished the opportunity to spend time on the riverbank in beautiful surroundings and it was obvious from the start that there were huge benefits in terms of wellness and teamwork.
Last year, we had workshops in the school with Sarah Healy of Inland Fisheries Ireland where students learned in the classroom about the work of the agency in terms of protection and preservation of fish stocks.
This was followed up with fishing sessions at the famous 'hot water stretch' in Lanesboro where many fish were caught.
This year because of the circumstances after lockdown it was decided to focus on getting the students out into the environment.
Sarah suggested that we follow the GO FISH program with its emphasis on care for the environment and how to care for fish and return them safely. Students were first given a safety talk and provided with protective gear and buoyancy aids.
They then received another talk on Covid-19 protocols and were provided with hand sanitiser and face coverings. Each student had their own rod, float ,bait etc and a huge amount of preparation time must have been spent by Sarah and Andy.
Overall, 24 students are taking part in this session. They have been catching Roach, Bream, Perch and Hybrids using whip style rods and maggots as bait.
The maggots take a bit of getting used to as does the handling of live fish. Many squeals were heard from the riverbank and several locals commented on how wonderful it is to finally see young people out fishing again.
Our hope for the future would be to try the program with some younger students, not just those in TY.
It is a unique opportunity to experience a hands-on activity and the benefits for students are hard to overestimate. It is often surprising to see the students who do best and it is an opportunity to succeed at something new for those who don’t necessarily participate in traditional sports.
Often the girls outclass the boys and last year they caught approximately 40 lb of fish on one bumper day.
The school has shown great foresight in promoting Angling amongst our students. It has given us the opportunity to connect with our own community in a unique and valuable way, helping us to put Community back into Community College.