ENGLAND’S international teams have been in a rich vein of form on the world stage, and judging by the performances at the recent Junior/Youth National we’re in prime position to dominate for many more years to come!
A field of 168 hopefuls aged between 10 and 18 took part in the event at Westwood Lakes, a huge rise on the 131 that fished the same contest at Makins in 2021. It’s a sure sign that the competitive junior fishing scene is growing year on year, and Steve Fitzpatrick, head of competitions at the Angling Trust, believes the tireless work of volunteers has played a big part in the welcome trend.
“Events like this don’t thrive without the backing of clubs, coaches and parents, who generously give their time to support these fantastic young anglers,” he said.
“But it’s not only the number of dedicated young anglers that’s on the up – the quality of those taking part is also improving.
“Drives like the Talent Pathway have helped to mould England’s next generation of superstars. England manager Mark Downes told me that our juniors are the envy of all other nations. Not only did we have a relatively young team winning the Euros, featuring Matt Godfrey, James Dent and Cameron Hughes, there’s also a heap of talented youngsters waiting in the wings.”
This year, extra motivation was added to the Junior/Youth National, with a place in the Fish O’Mania final on offer to the winner. Ramsbottom-based Charlie Law scooped the golden ticket and, at 18 years old, he’ll become the youngest-ever finalist.
“Ten years ago I joined Ramsbottom AA and ever since then it’s been a dream of mine to reach the Fish O’ final,” he said.
“I never would have expected the chance so soon in my angling career. Offering a place in the final of a big event is a huge incentive for young anglers to get involved.”