Strolling out to the water’s edge on a foggy Saturday morning, rod in one hand and tackle in the other, Strandfontein’s Errol Adams is ready to enter a state of ultimate relaxation as he casts out into the breakers and prepares to dance with a fish at the end of his line.
Since first learning to fish at the age of six, more than forty years ago, standing on the edge of the wall at Kalk Bay harbour with his father nurturing his art, Adams wants to continue the legacy. To that end, after sitting down with his son in 2009 and discussing how they could make a difference through the sport they both enjoyed, he founded the Youth Angling Academy the following year. It is a project he takes great pride in, handing down the knowledge he has learnt over the years to anyone who wants it.
“My main aim is to just show the youth that there is something else out there, an unknown sport that they can try. If you ask a child at school what they know about fishing, most of them will tell you they don’t know anything. I go around to schools and first try to see if there is an interest in fishing and if there is I come back with all my gear and introduce the sport to the pupils by showing them what the different pieces of equipment are and how they are used.
“Of course there is a lot to teach and before we even get down to the beach there are things they need to know, especially concerning their safety. I spend about three or four weeks just teaching them the safety aspects and basics of fishing like how to manage weather, currents, rip tides and so on. When they eventually get out to fishing at the beach they have a good understanding of what they should or shouldn’t do,” he said.
Although he passes down his skills mainly for recreational purposes than for competition fishing, he has attracted a good handful of pupils who join him on the beach on a regular basis and the numbers are growing.
“When the kids first try to fish they’ll cast out and within five minutes they’ll be reeling in but what they eventually learn is that this is a game of patience and there is so much more to it than just getting a bite and pulling the fish out the water. I teach them how to play the fish until it is tired and spend time on bringing it out the water. This is an art that you don’t just rush through.
“The group of children I have at the moment have already got to the point where they do their own casting and bait their own hooks but we have six new kids who have signed up and we will have to get them to that point too.
“I also try to teach them things about marine conservation and to have respect for the ocean. I would love to see more schools getting involved and to be able to go into the community and share the love I have for fishing.
“I can sit for hours fishing, even if I catch nothing. My great-grandfather, grandfather and father were all fishermen. They passed it on over the generations and I have tried to do the same. This is a legacy and not something I will ever just give up. My grandfather lived to over a hundred and was fishing almost right up to his last days.
”This is my way to show the youth there is more than just sitting in front of a TV or on your phone or going out to walk the streets. It’s about showing them that they can become something. Even if they just discover a love for the ocean and maybe realise they want to become a marine biologist or something along those lines.”
Call Errol Adams at 072 705 1237 for more information.