Open day at Verulam Angling club in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 August 2010

Children at open day plus coach Gary Lilley with fishing novices

Children at open day plus coach Gary Lilley with fishing novices


What’s pink and white, wriggles constantly and can be used as both a form of entertainment and in a popular sport? Maggots of course.

Container-loads of the larvae were either pierced onto fishing hooks or out-wriggling the competition in maggot races at Verulam Angling Club’s open fun day last weekend.

Hundreds of fishing experts and wannabes descended on the club’s fishing spot – a hidden St Albans gem on Riverside Road – drawn by beautiful weather to the lush-looking location close to Verulam Golf Course.

Qualified coaches taught children how to catch their first fish while other visitors enjoyed taste-testing freshly-caught fish, smoked on-site.

The club welcomed more than 600 people to Saturday’s open day, including over 150 children, with proceeds donated to St Albans day hospice Grove House.

General committee member Keith Speer said that Verulam Angling Club was trying to encourage young people from St Albans and surrounding areas into fishing, and dispel the myth that angling was “about a worm on one end of a line and an idiot on the other.” He said: “What we are trying to do is pass on a skill.”

The man-made fishing lake is a former watercress bed that now boasts an assortment of fish including trout in close season, gudgeon, roach, bream and tench.

An array of bait is used to lure the fish including luncheon meat, bread, cheese, trout pellets, bluebottle maggots bred specially for angling, and the odd bag of dog food – with one coach swearing by “Pedigree Mixer”.

Among those passing on angling skills to youngsters at the open day was coach Gary Lilley. When asked what he was hoping to catch, Gary said: “Basically anything that is interested.”

The club, which has about 2,000 members, believes that fishing gives young people a better understanding and respect for their environment and our waterways.

It is holding general coaching days in August and September. For more details please see

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