Welcome to the Pike Pool Sam, I promised to go easy on you (not!), can you give the readers your vital statistics (age, location, profession etc)
Sam:- Thanks Jason, it's an honour to have been asked! I'm 19 years old and live near Ware in Hertfordshire, so I'm very lucky to have the Lea Valley right on my doorstep, so I've got plenty of good fishing around me. I'm a consultant for Pure Fishing, primarily for the brands associated with lure fishing (Abu Garcia, Berkley, Sébile, Owner), and also in the coming months I'm taking on the role as Project Manager for an initiative being run by the charity, Get Hooked on Fishing, called GHoF Bedfordshire. Thanks to lottery funding, the lakes at Swiss Garden/Shuttleworth College have been dredged and the plan is to create the site in to a teaching facility for those wanting to learn to fish. We'll teach all kinds of fishing there but I am very keen to introduce people to lure fishing once it's all up and running. Things have only just started to get underway, and it's going to be a massive project, but I'm really looking forward to it.
Thanks for that Sam, so here goes then fasten your seatbelt LoL
Pike Pool: Can you tell us what you earliest angling experience was, at what age you were and do you remember catching something?
Sam:- My earliest memories were when my Dad used to take me along my local River Beane, catching Bullheads and Stone Loach with a net, which was when I was around three years old. I still really enjoy lifting up stones on the riverbed and seeing what lives under them! I was then shown float fishing using a whip, and at around the age of 6 my Dad started to introduce me to lure fishing and flyfishing.
Pike Pool: You & your Dad have caught lots of lovely species fish, which one is the most memorable and why?
Sam:- That's a very tough question to answer! I love catching different species on lures and flies - they're all memorable in their own way - many of the smaller species are very pretty and colourful, whereas some larger species I've caught not only look impressive but fight like stink too! If I had to choose one, it may have to be Roosterfish, not only because they look awesome when they raise their dorsal fin, but the fight is unbelievable - it's one of those fish that can easily spool you if you aren't using the correct gear. Whilst in Costa Rica I caught 5 in one day up to 45lbs, and three of those were casting big Poppers over submerged seamounts and chugging them back, making as much commotion as I could. It's exhausting but high octane fishing - watching them zoom up from the depths and chase your Popper before exploding in to it is awesome!
Pike Pool: Do you like to indulge in any other activities?
Sam:- I love sport - I used to do a lot of cross country, running for the school in the county championships, as well as representing the school football team, rugby team, basketball team and cricket team, but to be honest fishing has completely taken over!
Pike Pool: Whats' you most embarrassing angling accident, and did it require a trip to the hospital?
Sam:- I was on a fishing holiday in Loreto, on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, when I was wading along the beach in front of our hotel with a lure rod. I noticed a long, blue strand continuing out in to the sea, and it looked exactly like a piece of old fishing line. Curious to see what was on the end, I grasped it in my hand and was going to wind it in before a very sharp pain went through my hand, just like being stung by a bee. It seemed to stick to my hand so I had to dip it back in the water to quickly try and get it off. I then looked to my left and noticed it was the tentacle of a tiny blue Jellyfish floating on the surface - the body was perhaps 5cm long but the tentacles were at least a couple of metres! Luckily I didn't have to go to hospital but I remember it being very painful!
Another was in Costa Rica, on the same trip as I caught the Roosterfish. It was Christmas Day and my Dad and I were fishing off the jetty at the Zancudo Lodge where we were staying - we were taking it in turns with a lure and a fly rod and at the time, I was using the fly rod, a 9' 8wt with a small Clouser Minnow on the end, just seeing what different species I could catch. On one of my first casts I had a good take right under my feet but struck in to what I thought was a snag or the bottom. After jerking the rod from side to side and trying to jiggle the fly off, it felt like the snag started to come towards me. I tightened up and put a bend in the rod and it continued to rise, until two eyes popped up from under the water right in front of me. I'd hooked a Caiman (cleanly in the mouth) about 10ft long! I don't think it knew it was hooked and after eyeing me up for a few seconds it started to swim away. Dad quickly came to the rescue and ripped the rod out of my hands, and busted off the fly.
This isn't a question you should be asking me anyway - you should ask my Dad. He's had shark encounters, accidentally foul-hooked a Manatee, been zapped by an Electric Ray, nearly struck by lightning a couple of times and even attacked by a Lion after a days fishing!
PikePool: Your really starting to make a name for yourself in the angling world, but who is your angling hero or heroes?
Sam:- Choosing an angling hero is really difficult - there are so many great anglers, even those that are unknown. I really should choose one that is English but I tend to follow American and Japanese anglers to learn new methods and tactics. I think Kevin VanDam is the ultimate Bass angler - a true professional and an expert in all techniques, from power fishing with crankbaits and spinnerbaits to finesse fishing with drop-shot rigs and shaky heads. Rick Clunn, a four-time Bassmaster Classic champion is another very experienced tournament angler I look up to, along with Mike Iaconelli, and I particularly like Shinichi Fukae from the FLW tour as he has a great personality! It's been a dream of mine since a very early age to one day fish in the Bassmasters or the FLW tour.
When it comes to flyfishing, pioneers Lefty Kreh and Flip Pallot, again both American, are a big inspiration to me.
Pike Pool: You have recently become and Angling Trust Level 1 coach, do you see this as a possible career path?
Sam:- To be honest I've been an Angling Trust Level 1 Coach for two years! I just haven't had the time to take my Level 2 course, however I'll be taking my Level 2 hopefully very soon because, as mentioned earlier, just in the last few weeks I have been given the role of Project Manager for GHoF Bedfordshire, where I will be teaching.
Pike Pool: Your also a sponsored angler with Pure Fishing (blatant plug), have they offered to jet you off to any far flung places to test their gear?
Sam:- Now there's an idea! I'll get in touch with them after this interview!
Pike Pool: Your known for fishing nearly exclusively with lures, if your were stuck on a desert island with a lure rod and reel, but only one lure, what would it be and why?
Sam:- That's another tough question! There are so many great lures, but if I had to choose one it would probably be a home-made white bucktail jig, around 2-3 inches in length, tied to a very strong saltwater resistant 1/4 - 3/8oz jighead - very simple, but very versatile and brilliant for all species in both salt and freshwater. The reason I've chosen a Bucktail jig over a softbait is because they are much more durable - soft baits don't last two seconds on toothy saltwater fish! A very close second would be the 95mm Sébile Magic Swimmer hard swimbait - I was very impressed with this on my last trip abroad to Tobago.
Pike Pool: Is there any other method of angling that your really fancy having a go at, long trotting for dace, flyfishing for grayling?
Sam:- My Aunt, Uncle and Cousin live very close to the River Taff in Wales so whenever we visit we try and flyfish the Taff for Grayling - that's all according to conditions, as we haven't been able to the last two trips as the river has been carrying too much water. Flyfishing for Grayling is fantastic fun. I'd like to try and catch them on lures one day too! Although I've also caught fish trotting, I've never used a centrepin before so this would be interesting to try. However, my real passion lies with lure fishing and flyfishing - in my opinion, that's the ultimate way to catch fish.
Pike Pool And finally, you recently gave up your Saturday to come and coach at a Suffolk PAC/LAS teach in, what do you see as the biggest challenge to getting more youngsters on the bank?
Sam:- Having grown up with schoolmates that weren't the slightest bit interested in fishing, I think a lot of youngsters see it as sitting on a box, under a brolly, in the pouring rain, getting soaked and watching a float that rarely goes under. I know that's how a lot of my old schoolmates used to visualise it, although I've introduced some of them to lure fishing and flyfishing and now they're always bugging me whenever I see them about going fishing! I think that's the biggest hurdle - if we can change their views so that when someone mentions the word 'fishing', they think of it as being jazzed up, with flashy, vibrant, colourful rods, reels, lures, minimal kit all in a rucksack, not dressed in camo but more sporty, casual gear, and being able to roam the bank rather than sitting in one spot all day and getting cold, I think the amount of youngsters that would start to view fishing as cool would rise. The American, Australian and Japanese Bass anglers, along with French Street fishermen, are the perfect examples. Not only is it appealing to boys, but girls too - with lure fishing there's no bait involved, so they don't have to touch live Worms and Maggots. I've shown lures working in a swimming pool at several shows over the past year and there's been almost as many girls wanting to have a go at, for example, drop-shotting, than boys. It's all linked to why I think lure fishing is going to continue to grow in popularity in the UK - I hope so anyway.
Well thankyou Sam for letting us lure you (pun intended) into the pool for this interview, I hope you have enjoyed the experience and will be joining us on the Pikers Pit forum soon!!!
Sam:- No problem Jason, and thank you again for asking me!
Sam's fishing blog:- http://samedmondsfishing.blogspot.co.uk/
Sam's fishing blog:- http://samedmondsfishing.blogspot.co.uk/