- FIRST CAST -
Anglers have a well deserved reputation for money raising for charities and non more so than for the one that I became an enthusiastic supporter of this year, “A BITE OUT OF CANCER”.
This is the brain child of mad keen angler Mike Smith, who sadly lost his father to the disease. This proved to be a catalyst for his simple but inspired idea which encourages supporters who catch a good fish to then contribute a pound sterling for every pound the fish weighs.
It’s a win win result, for anglers have a splendid fish to celebrate and all the proceeds of their success are given to Cancer Research UK, thus giving them more funds to fight this awful disease. I’ve lost several good friends to cancer and most of us have probably suffered the sad loss of friends or family too, so this simple idea of Mike’s is helping to save the lives of our loved ones.
Impressed by his idea, I encouraged many of my friends to support such a worthy cause, including the Angling Trust’s leader Jamie Cooke, along with Martin Salter, Martin Bowler and not least, the legendary Chris Yates himself.
Mike was keen to meet Chris Yates and share a days fishing with him, so one of the managers of the charity George Frost arranged for a days social at the Wimborne and Districts’ Pinnock tench and crucian lakes.
It’s a delightful spot for a dangle and we all caught lots of fish, though Chris didn't fish, concentrating instead on ensuring that Mike and George were both able to gaze down on a beautiful bar of gold.
At present, most of the fish that are contributing to cancer research are carp, but as many of these weigh upwards of thirty to forty pounds, the coffers fill up quickly, though Mike makes it clear that all fish species can contribute, even small ones, because as they say, ‘every penny counts’. We also contributed some copies of our book 'A Passion for Angling' for auction to help raise more funds and will continue to encourage everyone to contribute.
No days fishing is complete without enjoying Chris's Kelly Kettle tea and my wife Sue's Victoria sponge and this made for a perfect end to a memorable day. I hope, like Chris and I, you will catch a big fish and contribute to this vital and life-saving work.
The charity has now exceeded their first target of an impressive , £26,000 and their next target is an eye watering £42,000, so we’d better get out there catching big fish to help Cancer Research UK via Mike's splendid initiative "A Bite Out of Cancer".
- SECOND CAST -
Chris and I were also asked to help raise money for another admirable cause, the making of a film about fish for that angling champion, Jack Perks.
Raising the profile of fish is of vital importance if wildlife charities are to help protect fish and the places they live but they almost always get ignored, even though fish are wildlife too, not something that simply gets eaten by the other wildlife that many of us admire.For years, Jack has done wonderful work on programmes like the BBC’s Springwatch and Countryfile, telling stories about our finned friends by filming them underwater in their wild habitats and filling us with amazing facts that encourage us to protect them.
His latest project is to make a one hour film about the lives and loves of the UK’s marine and freshwater fish. As he told us, think BBC’s “Blue Planet” but on a much smaller budget! He tried to interest several broadcasters but they claimed that fish were boring and failed to win their funding. As we all know, fish certainly aren’t boring and Jack is determined to prove the broadcasters wrong, so undaunted, he set up a crowd-funding website to pay for it all.
This is where Chris Yates and I came in because Jack foolishly thought that folk would pay good money to fish with us and put a days fishing up for auction. Much to our surprise he was right and a generous guy called Andy paid a substantial sum to join us and support Jack’s project. We arranged a time to meet up at the Wimborne clubs’ tench and crucian lake again, a prefect place to enjoying fishing in the tranquil backwaters of sunny Dorset.
As luck would have it, Andy caught the largest tench and everyone enjoyed a splendid day catching lots of tench and crucians. We also enjoyed my wife Sue’s much admired Victoria sponge, washed down with copious quantities of Kelly Kettle tea.
I’m happy to report that Jack did raise enough money to make what will surely be a much admired film on the lives of several of the UK’s most interesting species, so all he has to do now is find all his stars and record the footage he needs to tell their fascinating stories.
The film is going to be called “Britains’ Hidden Fishes” and we’ll all be looking out for Jack at the Oscars!