The Green Heart of Poringland


If you would like to know more about coaching opportunities at Poringland Lakes, please text or ring Mick Morley on 07756 095331.   

Martin Gains Level Two Award

Having gained his starter and level one Cast awards in 2017 and 2018, Martin Doncaster continues to advance his angling skills.  Now has now excelled himself and gained his level two certificate under the watchful eye of Poringland Lakes’ coaches Mark Casto and Mick Morley.

To gain his certificate Martin has taken part in a total of 27 two hour coaching lessons covering all aspects of angling skills from beginner to advanced. His carer Adam Hollings has been very impressed by Martin’s progress and agreed with his coach that Martin is now ready to move on to level three.

Martin is to be congratulated for his remarkable achievement and for his determination and enthusiasm to work towards these awards. He was very proud to receive his level two certificate today awarded to him by his coach and support workers Belinda Seily (manager) and Adam Hollings, his carer, both of whom were full of praise for all the hard work he has put in to reach level two.

Coach Casto had this to say: “I have spent over ten years coaching many individuals but have to say working with Martin has really been a pleasure and an eye opener. Martin has surprised us all and shown everyone who knows him just how dedicated and focused he is.  It has been my great pleasure to help him gain these qualifications and improve his angling skills.

So now it’s onwards and upwards for Martin as he sets his sights on gaining his level three certificate. Well done Martin!

New Coaching Guidelines Introduced

The trustees, in conjunction with the association’s two Angling Trust coaches, have made a number of changes to the way coaching will be conducted at Poringland Lakes.

All parties are committed to coaching, so much so that in future all coaching will be conducted under the auspices of the association, rather than by the coaches themselves.

However it is recognised that coaching sessions can sometimes impact on the enjoyment of fellow anglers, so an eleven point guideline has been introduced in an effort to further encourage coaching but at the same time make it as unobtrusive as possible.

As a result, each coaching session will be restricted to two hours and each coach will be will be limited to no more than one session each day.  In addition coaching will be restricted to Noble lake at weekends and at other peak times to avoid disturbing other anglers.

The association will make a standard charge of £10 per session, collected by the coaches themselves.  Coaches may claim ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses, for example travel, bait etc) to a maximum of £10 per session.  Once a session is finished, students may continue to fish; however, payment must be made through the normal day ticket procedure unless the student is a season ticket holder or under-16 years of age.

Finally both level two coaches, Mark Casto and Mick Morley, will now have equal status, the title of head coach being discontinued by mutual consent of the coaches themselves and the trustees.

Mick Morley Qualifies as Level Two Coach

Poringland Lakes has its first ‘home grown’ level two coach.

Mick Morley received his coaching certificate from Association chairman John Overton at a special presentation.  He joins fellow coach Mark Casto, bringing the total number of Angling Trust accredited coaches to two.

In order to sit the course, applicants have to have a level one qualification plus recent training in emergency first aid and safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

The level two course is quite intensive, comprising six days of tuition.  It costs £345, which was funded by a Sport England grant negotiated by the trustees.

It is hoped the Association can attract a further grant of £500 to enable two prospective level one coaches to undergo training with a view to becoming fully-fledged coaches.

Coaching for Everyone

Many more people are discovering the benefits and joys of angling at Poringland Lakes.

Under the watchful eye and guidance of Angling Trust level two coaches Mick Morley and Mark Casto, young families with busy mums and dads and people either returning to angling or trying it for the first time are taking up their rods and poles and enjoying a great day’s fishing.

Recently, Steven Bishop, a returning angler to the sport, completed a course of lessons at the lakes and is now confidently taking part in the his local club’s angling matches.

One of our visitors to the Family Fishing Day, Adam enjoyed three coaching sessions to bring him up to speed on his pole fishing, all of which he said really helped him gain new skills and improve his fishing.

The latest people to benefit from the coaching at Poringland Lakes are Shannon and Oli, a busy mum and dad who wanted to try their hand at fishing but didn't know where to begin. Sessions were booked and after five coaching sessions on the basics of waggler, pole and feeder fishing, Shannon and Oli have now purchased a new set of fishing gear, rod licences and are putting their new found skills to good effect catching carp, roach, rudd and many other fish at Poringland Lakes.

Both have said how much they have enjoyed the sessions and have signed up to gain the Angling Trust Cast awards to further improve their angling

So if you’re struggling with your fishing or don't know where to start, book a session with our expert coaches and learn all you need to know to enjoy all  the benefits angling at Poringland Lakes has to offer.

Coaching Masterclass

While coaching at Poringland Lakes continues to win plaudits in the national angling press, at grass roots level one-to-one tuition under the guidance of coaches Mark Casto and Mick Morley is proving more popular than ever.

Latest recruit to sing the praises of the coaching team is newcomer Andy Tyson.  So pleased was Andy with his three two-hour sessions that he wanted to share his experiences in the hope that it will encourage others to get back into fishing and take up free coaching at Poringland Lakes.

Here’s what Andy had to say:

"I am looking towards retirement in a few years time so I wanted something to fill the spare hours.  Over 40 years ago I used to go fishing.  Despite not being a good fisherman, I really enjoyed it so I thought I would get back into angling.  However after chatting to some friends who are keen fishermen it was obvious that things have changed quite significantly in the intervening years.

“So I looked around local fishing lakes for “taster days” or education but nothing was forthcoming.  While doing this I joined the Angling Trust and, after receiving my first magazine, found a very informative article about the work that Mark Casto had been doing at Poringland Lakes, providing group or individual taster sessions for young and old.

I contacted Mark and a couple of week later found myself meeting up with Mark and Mick Morley at Poringland for my first session.

Mark explained that there would be three initial sessions when he would show me the three principal methods - the pole, feeder and waggler, starting with the pole.  This was just the tip of the iceberg as all three disciplines are immense.

All of the equipment and bait was provided.  All I had to do was turn up and be prepared to learn, the objective being for me to get to understand the basics in order the help me to choose my preferred routes from there.

"All three methods were interesting in their own way, the equipment, the weights or shot being used, the rigs, even down to the bait used on the day.  After the third session I think I have settled for the feeder and waggler methods.  I am now starting to accumulate the tackle needed to enable me to spend many hours on the banks, hopefully catching a fish or two.

“I found the instruction very useful and would recommend to anybody thinking about starting or returning to fishing to seriously consider contacting Mark and going along for some sessions.  His knowledge, and patience, is immense and I am now hooked more than before.  I am planning on going back to see Mark in the New Year to  carry on where we left off.

Editor’s Note – We are extremely lucky to have Mark and Mick on our coaching team.  As Andy rightly points out in his article, both coaches have a wealth of knowledge and experience which they are always keen to share with others.  Glad you enjoyed your sessions Andy and we look forward to seeing you back at the lakes in the near future.

Great Coaches - Great Venue

Another newcomer delighted with his coaching sessions is Steve Bishop who recently completed three coaching sessions at Poringland Lakes.  Here’s what Steve had to say:

“Having never fished before, I was keen to learn from an experienced coach.  Fortunately for me I came across Poringland Lakes’ website and Mark Casto.

“Within an hour of sending an email, Mark had responded and the sessions were planned. Mark’s session plans and coaching are tailor-made and specific to what you want to learn or develop.  I have found Mark’s coaching faultless and thoroughly enjoyable.  Mark is always at the end of the phone to answer any questions and concerns in between coaching sessions and as a beginner to the sport, trust me I did have lots of questions at all hours.

“I have enjoyed the coaching on poles and feeder fishing and Mark even came to the tackle shop to assist in my first feeder rod purchase. Today I went to the lakes for my very first solo session which four weeks ago I would never have had the confidence to do.  I only caught a couple so I guess still a few more sessions will be needed.

“All in all, Mark is a great coach and Poringland Lakes is a great venue where everybody has made me feel welcome, if you are looking for coaching I would 100% recommend Mark and the venue, Poringland Lakes.”

Martin’s Success Story Continues

Martin Doncaster has reached new heights after completing his fourteenth coaching lesson with Poringland Lakes. 

Martin was pleased as punch to receive his CAST starter and level one angling skills award from head coach and mentor Mark Casto.  Martin was presented with his certificates at a special ceremony with his carer Adam Hollings and his boss Belinda Seily. 

The skills awards have recently been developed by the Angling Trust to support, reward and recognise the standards of all anglers across England.  They are written as a series of progressive steps to enable anglers to strive to meet their full potential and go from CAST starter to CAST six.  They enable anglers in all disciplines to develop at their own pace but with recognition of their efforts at each stage 

For Martin to achieve his CAST starter and level one awards is a huge achievement, one he can be rightly proud of having put in more than 28 hours of coaching and learning to reach the level one.

In this time he has had to learn many different skills and subjects fromthe basics of fish handling and bait preparation, right on to the more complex tasks such as selecting correct terminal tackle and swim selection. 

His progress and achievement have been nothing short of amazing and both his coach and care worker Adam are delighted with how far he has come on this journey of learning and discovery. 

Adam Hollings, Martin’s care worker, had this to say about what Martin has managed to achieve through the coaching programme at Poringland Lakes. 

“Martin’s progress on the coaching programme has been fantastic.  His confidence and self-esteem have grown tremendously and he has overcome many of his fears and worries when catching handling and unhooking the fish.

“Not only that but his sense of pride and achievement in gaining his CAST starter and level one qualification has become an example to all of what angling can bring into the lives of people in care and who struggle with any  mental health issues."

Belinda Seily, PAS team manager, had this to say about Martin's achievements:

"I have known Martin for many years now and I am really proud of the achievements he has made with the fishing and coaching course. I’m also very proud of Adam for his patience and enthusiasm in supporting Martin to get this far. 

"I feel this is a very valuable example of Independence Matters support workers encouraging customer’s independence and continuous learning and development to achieve their goals and dreams" said Belinda.

Editor’s Note

I am sure all our readers will join in sending their warmest congratulations to Martin on his wonderful achievement.  Well done!

Beginners’ Coaching Proving Popular 

Beginners’ coaching at Poringland Lakes is proving increasingly popular. 

Under the watchful eye of experienced Angling Trust level two coach Mark Casto, more newcomers than ever before are benefitting from the free one-to-one sessions. 

Latest new recruits were father and son duo Nick and Dan (15) Mawer who were clearly delighted with their introduction to angling, so much so that dad Nick wrote to Anglers Mail saying what a wonderful experience it was. 

The press cutting is published below.

Nick and Dan were model students" said coach Mark Casto. "They both enjoyed the “session and learned a lot so hopefully we will see them fishing at the lakes again once they get kitted out." 

Coaching at Poringland Lakes is virtually free. The only cost is a small charge to offset incidental expenses.

Coach Wins Letter Prize 

Poringland Lakes’ head coach has won top prize in a well known angling magazine.    

Mark Casto scooped the award after his letter about coaching people with disabilities appeared in the popular ‘Improve Your Coarse Fishing’.

 Rufus and the River Monsters

For weeks seven year-old Rufus has crazed his Mum and Dad to take him fishing after avidly watching every episode of the television hit series River Monsters. 

So what better way to celebrate his eighth birthday on Saturday morning than for young Rufus to have his first ever fishing experience, under the watchful eye of Angling Trust coach Mark Casto. 

A bitterly cold day with a biting easterly wind and ice floating on the surface didn’t deter ultra keen Rufus or his Mum and Dad as they took shelter behind Mark’s giant umbrella. 

The trying conditions would have tested even the most experienced match angler but thankfully young Rufus did manage to catch a few fish and by all accounts, is now even more hooked! 

Perhaps the whole session was best summed up by Mum and Dad, Ben and Hettie who said: 

“Thank you so very much for a wonderful morning. It was just perfect.  Rufus absolutely loved the experience and went to bed talking about the rudd and two roach he landed. We all learnt so much.  It truly was a brilliant introduction to angling and Rufus is already asking about the next time we can go. He loved his birthday treat. Thank you for making it such an inspiring, informative and accessible session... despite the freezing conditions.” 

Coach Casto was equally enthusiastic. 

"Introducing youngsters into the wonderful world of angling is so rewarding, one of the main reasons I enjoy coaching so much. Rufus was a top class student and was thrilled to bits to catch his first fish.  Conditions were tough though as it was so cold and he had to concentrate hard to succeed but when he landed his first fish, a small rudd, his Mum and Dad were really happy for him, as was I.  They all enjoyed their first coaching lesson at Poringland Lakes and I am sure will visit us again soon.” 

Coach Praises Martin’s Commitment

It was all smiles for Martin and Adam at a recent coaching session at Poringland Lakes. 

Angling is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and relax and for Martin and his carer, Adam Hollings, a session with coach Mark Casto proved a great success. 

Adam and Martin are regulars at Poringland Lakes where Martin really enjoys his fishing as well as the lakes’ peaceful surroundings and wildlife. 

The coaching session was aimed at teaching Martin and Adam the basics of float fishing taking a look at floats, shotting patterns and fish handling. 

Coach Casto was certainly impressed with Martin’s enthusiasm and commitment. 

“Martin was a great student.  He is obviously very keen to learn and was soon gaining confidence.  During the session Martin was able to handle a fish for the first time which was a major achievement.  He also learned all about the different types of floats he could use and the way to set everything up” explained Mark.              

“As the lesson progressed we caught several nice roach, rudd and perch using an insert waggler and red maggots for bait. At the end of the lesson, Martin and Adam both said how much they had enjoyed themselves and it was clear from Martin’s big smile that he had a great time. Our next lesson is already booked and it looks like Martin is going to make a first-class angler!” predicted Mark.

Never Too Old to Learn

You are never too old to learn.  So goes the old adage which applies throughout life but even more so when it comes to fishing. 

Poringland Lakes’ head coach Mark Casto has built up an ever-expanding clientele of angling enthusiasts all wanting want to hone their skills in a variety of methods – especially returnees, anglers who fished in their youth but haven’t picked up a rod in decades. 

One such angler is John Hipperson who recently moved to the village and discovered Poringland Lakes, almost on his door step. 

John and Mark teamed up and now John has had three coaching sessions covering waggler, pole and feeder fishing disciplines.  By all accounts, John has proved to be the perfect pupil. 

“John really seemed to enjoy the lessons” said Mark.  “He now feels much more confident about starting up again.  At the next session I have with him we are just going to fish together. It is not all about coaching it's also about making new friends and enjoying their company” added Mark. 

John Hipperson was really impressed with the coaching lessons. 

“The sessions have been great.  Mark pitched them just right to give me the knowledge and confidence to 'get back in there' - just what I needed” said John. 

At the other end of the spectrum, 12-year-old Jack Hardy is just taking his first steps when it comes to fishing.  Neither of Jack’s parents have ever fished, so grandfather Jim thought it was a good idea for Jack to have some formal training under the watchful eye of an experienced coach. 

Jim contacted Poringland Lakes and soon the first coaching sessions was underway.  Jack was a model pupil, quickly picking up the techniques and putting them to good practice by catching lots of fish. 

Granddad Jim was very impressed. 

“Jack loved it and wants to come back again. Although he lives outside the village, Jack is really hoping to join the Kingfisher club, meet new friends of his own age and continue his fishing adventures.  Mark was incredibly patient and did a great job” said Jim. 

“I enjoyed it too and may even pick up a rod myself one day” quipped Jim. 

f you would like to know more about coaching sessions at Poringland Lakes, please contact Mark Casto on 07709 556173 or email atthefishwasbig@gmail.com. See also Mark’s regular blog at thefishwasbig.blogspot.co.uk 

Coaching More Popular Than Ever

Coaching at Poringland Lakes is proving more popular than ever. 

Under expert guidance from Angling Trust coach Mark Casto and Mick Morley, the upsurge in coaching sessions shows no signs of abating.  

The latest angler to attend a session, Jason Florey, was delighted with the day and was full of praise for head coach Mark Casto.

“This was my first visit to Poringland Lakes.  Really enjoyed it.  The fish were really good quality with a good variety” said Jason (pictured).  

“My coaching session with Mark was great, learning all about fishing with paste on the pole, something I had never done before. Really looking forward to going again” he added. 

Coaching Pays Dividends

The recently introduced coaching sessions at Poringland Lakes are proving to be a real hit.  

Under the guidance of Angling Trust level two coach Mark Casto, the latest ‘trainee’ Adam Bunn had an excellent day’s fishing.  Making his first ever visit to Poringland Lakes, Adam netted probably 30lb of fish in the three hour session – and won several envious glances from those struggling in a match on the neighbouring lake.  

As well as a six pound plus carp and several good sized bream, Adam also caught his first ever crucian carp which really delighted him.

 “The coaching was excellent.  Mark is very patient and gave me no end of tips which I will be putting into practice every time I go fishing now.  Catching the crucian was a real bonus” said Adam.  

“I really enjoyed my first visit to Poringland Lakes ”and will definitely be going again” he added enthusiastically.