NORTH QUEENSLAND’S IDYLLIC LIFESTYLE AND LOVE OF OUR INFAMOUS COASTLINE AND RIVERWAYS HAS BIRTHED A NEW CONCEPT IN EDUCATION AND SPORT IN THE FORM OF THE NQ FISHING ACADEMY – THE BRAINCHILD OF LOCAL MILES TAM.
The idea for the Academy first came to life when Miles worked at Tackleworld Townsville.
“I used to see kids come in full of energy and a genuine zest for fishing,” he said.
“Their parents on the other hand, would smile and give me a gentle roll of the eye, explaining that they themselves knew nothing about fishing, but their kids were obsessed with it.”
Just like training for junior football or soccer, Miles thought there should be a place that allowed kids to learn the sport of fishing properly and safely – but there was clearly a gap in the market.
“Most kids go to footy training to be the best they can be in that sport and gain as much knowledge and skills as possible,” Miles said.
“With fishing there was literally nothing for these kids, and I wanted to provide them with a unique program that gives them the opportunity to learn more about the sport. Not just with fishing in general, but also conservation and environmental issues.”
The academy program is designed for children aged 5 to 15 years. Miles said he understood that while some children show skills at an early age, some take longer to find a sport or hobby they’re interested in and he wanted to cater for a wide range of ages to cater to this.
“I have a set program for the course but I’ll adapt to those less skilled or those more advanced,” he said.
“Either way, if they show interest I want them on my team and in the NQ Fishing Academy family!”
The basic course runs one afternoon per week for six weeks. During this time students will learn basic knots, how to throw a cast net, rod and reel techniques, a simple cooking class, how to make soft plastics, lure education and environmental education.
“I want them to go home and say, ‘That was the best Academy ever!’” Miles said.
“I want participants to go away with a basic knowledge of the sport of fishing, and hopefully with the friends they make, go on and meet up with them on the outside for more fishing trips.
“For the parents, hopefully their kids come home with a spring in their step and a boost in their confidence from learning new skills and being surrounded by a positive group of like-minded kids.”
For Miles, who hails from a family for whom fishing was a way of life and a means of putting food on the table in Papua New Guinea, some of his lifelong friends have come from fishing circles – and that is something he hopes to pass on to those who attend the NQ Fishing Academy.
“This course is all about positivity, confidence and respect for one another,” he said.
“I can see a lot of kids finally finding their feet with this and gaining so much confidence. To say I’m excited is an understatement; it’s like putting the last piece of the jigsaw in for so many kids.
“And for me to be a part of it, just makes it the most rewarding job on the planet.”