The situation is also inflamed by the increase in breakdowns in marriage, resulting in more boys and girls without a father to teach them how to fish. This is further aggravated by the increased demands placed on the teaching profession so that the anglers in its ranks have not got the time to teach parties of children how to fish. As a teacher with approaching 30 years experience, I find it most frustrating that I just do not have the time to teach youngsters in my care how to fish. In fact, time for my own fishing is now very limited.

It is against this background that I welcome the arrival of the newly formed Professional Anglers Association (P.A.A.). This body looked at the world of golf and saw how their association, the P.G.A., were providing instruction for new members to the sport and improvers alike. It is a fact that nearly every golf course has its resident professional instructor. According to Peter Clapperton, a director of the P.A.A., there are 4,800 professional golf coaches, satisfying the needs of 3 million golfers.

The P.A.A. has not wasted time and has set up its own college-based course for angling instructors which has already produced the first generation of P.A.A. coaches. Most of these are already active and helping to promote our sport. I heard from one of my pupils, John Slade, how he had received instruction from Martin Porter, a qualified P.A.A. coach. He was very pleased with his course and the fish that he had caught. I thought this was very positive and I knew Martin both as a parent and as an angling friend.

Martin is policeman who will be retiring in the near future and devoting more of his energies to coaching. He is also a very experienced angler with some terrific catches to his credit. Certainly a man worth listening to. I was therefore pleased when he came round to discuss his work with the P.A.A. He explained that he offered three levels of tuition; basic, intermediate and advanced with the opportunity to do some specialist fishing. One of his students, Paul Wright had just caught a nice 71b 2oz barbel on an evening session with Martin on the River Wey. That's what I call real fishing.

I was very interested to hear that Martin has two mothers with their sons as clients. The mothers are really getting into their fishing and are exceptionally keen. No doubt they, like their sons, will make good anglers.

On one fishing session, young Sarah Hook, beat the lads by catching a two pound plus tench on a 4m whip. This really gave the whip a good testing.

Martin has also been teaching the father of one very young boy so that, in time, he can teach his son the basics. Again, like so many of Martin clients, dad has now got the bug and is becoming a very keen angler.

All Martins experiences appear to be very positive and a great encouragement for the future of the sport. As a teacher, I was impressed by Martin and by the P.A.A.'s professionalism. Martin even interviews the parents and assess' the individuals needs before starting any instruction. The detailed lesson planning was excellent, being both interesting and educationally sound.

Martin produces his own news letter for his clients and is setting up his own web site. He can be Emailed on martin@tryangling.com. or by telephone on 0704 1380 233. Martin operates from Shepperton on Thames and uses a variety of fisheries in the area.

The P.A.A. gives further details of their instructors on their web site