IFD: Pat Ryan is one of the rare people who is using his love of angling, to give back to the community. Pat along with some friends set up the Killinarden Angling Inititive with the aim of getting kids of the streets and giving them a focus for their attentions and hopefully a lifelong love of angling. So over to Pat
Where did you grow up and what was your earliest fishing memory?
I grew up in Tallaght, but was born in Inchicore, St. Michaels estate on the canal, I remember going along the canal with me spinning minnows and getting some nice sized perch. But my most vivid fishing memory is on Newcastle beach with me Da when the brother and myself had buried all the massive flounders me Da caught, we had to spend hours trying to find them again but the best part though was the Cortina breaking down and us having to spend the night on the beach. lol
What different kinds of fishing have you done and which do you like best?
I’ve tried most but I really enjoy spinning for Pike even though I have had very little success, fishing for carp on the light gear would be a big favourite and then the LRF for wrasse and the small species , then there’s the trips to Sligo each year for my birthday for our annual Cod, Ling and pollack trip off the boats. I seem to be drawn to the ocean for some reason. Maybe its because of all the years fishing off Dalkey with my da, and lately with the youth initiative I haven’t had much time to do any sort of saltwater fishing and it feels like there’s something missing, Not sure if its just me or if all sea fisher men feel this way.
What catch gave you the most happiest moment over the years?
This year would have to be my very first Mullet, after years and years of listening to the fables of how they are uncatchable, and how they have paper lips we decided to give it a go!… Me and 2 other mates headed to a small spot we know and I couldn’t believe it, first cast I landed a mullet in the 4lbs range. The thing fought like a steam train and pulled the shoulders out of me! Cant wait till next year to try get another one.
How did the idea for the KAI come about?
KAI has been a dream child for a few years now, I moved into killinarden when my kid was born 9 years ago and got to know alot of the angling lads in the area. But for years I was trying to get people to try it, no one was interested. I seen a need for it in the area, plenty of kids enjoy football, basket ball and all the well known sports, but then you have the youths that are not into the psychical sports, the ones that are forgotten about, I was one of them kids. But fishing gave me a reason to get out of the area, to stay out of trouble and it helped me build a social circle that spans the country! Its them kids that I seen needed KAI
How many members are there now in the club?
At them moment we have 40 registered youths, but since the winter kicked in the active number has dropped to 20 which is what we expected, we are open to membership for the whole of Tallaght west but the majority of out members are from Killinarden, with one from Jobstown and one from Belgard. The whole Idea was to be a youth initiative but we also seen a need for it in the adult side, people with no work, stuck in the house day in and day out. So we started the adult side. There is some interest but not alot and we have 13 registered adults which 9 of them are volunteers for the youth side.
How have the juniors been getting on?
Brilliant, its amazing watching them learn and grow in confidence. In March when we started 90% of our youths never even held a rod and since then they have gone on to compete in national championships. But the most amazing part of it is the youths with learning disability’s, they take to it like a duck to water. One example would be, One of the youths has torrettes syndrome, dyspraxia and ADHD! So you can imagine the hand full he can be. But put him on any sort of water with a rod and reel in his hands and he is a whole different person. He will sit there for hours on end and is able to concentrate, relax and communicate with the other youths, he is only 10 years old and can teach me tips and trick about fishing.
What have been the highlights and lowlights so far?
The highlights will be a hard one to answer because there is so many! The changes in the novice’s from kids that wouldn’t speak in the group to traveling Ireland competing in NCFFI competitions. Watching the youths with the disability’s fitting into a group of youths because they all have something in common. Hearing the youths begging for 5 more minutes on the bank after standing there for 8 hours fishing!Right down to the amount of support we have received from the public and business…
Low lights is easy because there is only one, the lack of financial support or grants for the angling sector. We run the initiative at no cost to the parents, the only charge is 2 euro a workshop which goes back into the initiative, everything we have done to date has been through begging and fund raising. In the 9 months we have been running we have spent close to 8k on equipment, transport and training which the majority has come from the killinarden safety forums, SDCC and Dublin angling centre.
How can someone join as a member and when do you meet?
That’s easy, if they contact us on our facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Killinarden-Angling-Initiative-KAI/1396006117339782 ) we can arrange for them to meet us on a workshop night and fill in the forms. Or most Wednesday evening we are in the Killinarden community center from 6pm to 7pm working with our youths.
What are the clubs hopes for the future?
The future is MASSIVE, we have huge plans and a mission to find our own training grounds. We would love to have group involvement, school groups and summer camps which we hope are all in the pipeline for 2015.
Well thanks Pat and best of luck to the club in the future.
P.S I want to thank all of the people that have helped us along the way, Most are not on facebook, but SDCC, Our local News agents, Our local people.Dublin Angling Centre Dublin Angling Centre For being the best sponsor we could ask for.
Cllr Cathal King SF for helping to push people get behind our projects.
The NCFFI National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland For all the advice, teaching and helping, Eoin Schweppe for being my personal tutor lol…..
And all the other clubs we have net along the way… Thank you for being there!