What better way to start a blog that is dedicated to the angling community than with this heart warming account of one man and his angling adventures with his very special daughter! Thanks go to Paul Bickley for sharing his and Abbies’s touching story. This is Abbie’s Journey:

Hi all

I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about my daughter Abbie’s fishing adventures. Fishing is my big passion, and I wanted to share this with my daughter and hope we could spend time on the bank together,

I thought long and hard how to tackle this, as with all children, her attention span can be incredibly short, and add to this that Abbie has Down Syndrome which adds bit more complication to the situation. However, disaster struck in 2018 when Abbie aged 8 at the time, who is 1 of 10 children (my only child) was diagnosed with cancer, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Our life as we knew it changed, I had to give up 2 jobs so I could support her through 6 months of intensive chemotherapy. Fishing was the last thing on our mind at this stage. There were times where I thought I was going to lose her, but we are one of the lucky ones and Abbie pulled through and is now in remission.  When fellow anglers heard what happened to Abbie, she was donated lots of equipment to get her back out fishing and this was so heartwarming. I can not thank those guys enough.

At the start of 2019, my mind was back on fishing, with what happened, my goal now is to put a smile on that girls face as much as possible. I decided pole fishing would be a good way to start for her, as there are no reels involved and I knew venues where she would be guaranteed bites, thus keeping her interested. In March 2019 I took her fishing with just the top section of my pole, some worms from the compost heap, and some leftover micro pellets for loose feed. As predicted it was not long before she was into some Roach, and I could see straight away how she enjoyed seeing the fish and how careful she was at holding them, kissing them before returning them to the water, she then hooked into a surprise carp, and I was amazed at how well she listened and followed instructions on playing the carp. I would be sitting on her left-hand side, and I would say “walkies to me” she would then pull the pole to the left and when I said “walkies to you” then she would pull the pole to the right. I was surprised that after a while she said she had enough, so we packed up and went home after our 1st session on the bank. I cannot tell you the pride and happiness I had sharing my passion with Abbie. My main passion is predator fishing especially Pike with lures, but Abbie has not taken to lure fishing.

In 2019, I tried and succeeded in catching my 1st Zander on dead baits. I thought about taking Abbie dead baiting with me for some Zander, but I knew she would not sit still and wait for a run, I came up with the idea of taking a bag of goodies to keep her occupied while we waited for a run. On her 1st Zander session, I was amazed at how well this worked, she was happy doing drawings, playing games etc., and when we were lucky enough to get a run she got excited and was ready for action, unfortunately, we missed the run. I could not believe our luck but, after casting half a Roach in we got another run. We were only using a small Roach as for me size has never mattered, I just wanted Abbie to catch a Zander, and using a small piece would mean that the small Zander could get the bait in their mouths better.

After reeling down and striking, I handed Abbie the rod for her to do the rest. To my shock, she landed a beautiful Zander smashing my p.b going at 9lb 1oz. I have started doing my own videos on YouTube under the name of Bickley’s Angling Adventures, and I was lucky enough to capture this moment on video, and when watching it back, I am not ashamed to say it made me cry, as when I left Abbie with the Zander to get the unhooking mat and forceps I did not see her reaction and joy in catching the fish until I watched it back, (video is called mission – Abbies 1st Zander).

Following that session, we have had other Zander sessions with Abbie catching more Zander and we were even lucky enough to be invited to fish with John Glover and Mark Powell-Bevan where Abbie even out fished these two in a truly memorable day. We also went back to pole fishing, this time taking Abbies best friend Libby with us, on this occasion, Abbie became the teacher and helped Libby who had never been fishing before. After what Abbies been through, I value every moment I spend with her, I believe there will be more ups and downs around the corner, and this has changed me as a person, as, I am a lot more emotional now than I was, certain songs or acts on Britains got Talent or even scenes from Toy Story 4 will make me cry, but the one place where I am truly at peace is on the bank, and I intend to spend more of that time with my girl.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you would like to know more about Abbie, please feel free to come and join her Facebook page at Abbie’s Journey.



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