Abi's blazing a trail for female anglers

ABIGAIL Brewster's pink wellies are more than just a fashion statement.

ABIGAIL Brewster's pink wellies are more than just a fashion statement.

At 16 years and 10 months old the Stowmarket High School sixth former became the youngest registered angling coach in the country earlier this month.

And now she is hoping that, along with her trademark pink wellington boots and jacket, she can inspire more young girls into the male dominated sport.

“I went to a conference called 'women in angling' a few years ago and they told us that only one in 100 anglers in the UK are female, while in America it is more like 50%,” said Abigail, whose father Mark is a coach at Gipping Valley Angling Club.


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“I want to help change that now because it's about time us girls started giving the boys a run for their money.”

The Great Finborough resident - who has aspirations of working in medicine after achieving 11 straight A*s in her GCSE exams last year - first fell in love with fishing at the age of eight.

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With her brother unable to fulfil a commitment to fish a match, Abigail stepped in and took the title on her young debut. If you can pardon the pun, she was hooked.

“It's nice going outside, but the best thing is the people you meet, they are all really nice and friendly,” said Brewster.

“I don't fish a lot during the winter because I have a lot of school work, but in the summer fishing becomes my life. I go out at least three times a week.”

In 2007, Abigail's father Mark Brewster helped relaunch the Suffolk Under-16 side, while at the same time creating a junior academy at Gipping Valley.

Remarkably the six-strong Suffolk team included an equal mix of girls and boys, with Abigail joined by Emma Reynolds and Alice Bullock.

“I think women can be more patient and we like to listen much more!” said Abigail.

“It's good for the younger girls to have some figures to look up to in the sport. I've had the likes of Wendy Lythgoe, Lucy Bowden and Jo Hyde to inspire me, now I would like to do the same in the future because there are not too many girls my age in the fishing spotlight.

“I didn't have this problem myself, but some of the girls can be put off by having to out their hands in maggots of touching the fish. Hopefully I can help them through that.

“I get lots of stick for the pink wellies from the men but secretly I just think they're jealous because they can't get them in their size!”

Abigail achieved her Level One coaching qualification after gaining full marks at a course held at Barford Lakes in Norfolk last June. Confirmation of her status as the youngest registered angling coach in the country, male or female, came on January 24 via fishcoach.org.

Sponsorship of her course came from the Environment Agency and an Awards for All grant achieved by the Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association.

She will now have to wait until she is 18 before she can attempt her Level Two coaching qualifiaction.

Abigail Brewster factfile

Age: 16

Angling Club: Gipping Valley

College: Stowmarket High School

- Won her 14 peg section on her senior team debut for Gipping Valley last year

- Finished fifth in her 21 peg section on her first senior open match last year

- Gained 11 straight A*s in her GCSEs

- Studying maths, further maths, biology and chemistry for A-Levels

- Studies intense chemistry at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Institute

- Volunteers on the children's ward at Bury hospital

- Works in a pub on a part-time basis

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