Ian Coates: passionate angler who ran after school fishing clubs for local kids

On Tuesday, 13th June, amidst a series of horrific events in Nottingham where three people tragically lost their lives, the sport of angling lost Ian Coates.

Ian, a 65-year-old father of three, was a respected figure within his local community having worked at multiple local schools as a caretaker and in his spare time never missing an opportunity to proactively share his immense passion for fishing with those around him, being personally responsible for many Nottingham youngsters getting into the sport through his voluntary coaching sessions.

Ian’s legacy is best being described by those who knew him personally both in and outside of angling, so the following tributes are from some of his former students and friends.

Kyle Heesom, former student of the River Leen School and member of Ian’s after-school fishing club:

“Ian created the River Leen School Fishing Club in early 2000s, an after-school club where he gave his own time to teach the basics of angling to a group of us teens which included both male and female students. Ian would run the sessions every week either in the classroom or when time, weather and school funding made it possible, he’d take us all out fishing to properly put into practice our classroom teachings.

“The River Leen School was situated in and served a deprived area of Nottingham city known as Bulwell. Many of the pupils at the school came from unsettled backgrounds and difficult homelife circumstances often struggling to cope with a conventional school life but Ian selflessly gave a great many of them hope and positivity in the form of fishing. Some of his pupils didn’t have fathers, some came from broken homes, and most didn’t even have any fishing gear, but nevertheless Ian gave us his time, kitted us out and took us all fishing.

“Many of the students had not had the opportunity to properly leave Bulwell but thanks to Ian we would venture off to exciting new places with club fishing trips to venues such as Drayton Reservoir, Boddington Reservoir and Makins Fishery which inspired us all with sense of new adventure and discovery as we went on catching pbs and making memories to last a lifetime.”

Ben Dutton, former student of the River Leen School, member of Ian’s after-school fishing club, local fishing tackle shop employee and keen match fisherman who knew Ian closely:

“As this tribute already documents Ian’s angling coaching and mentoring and school related services to the local community fittingly described by other former students, I wanted to give a bit more insight into his personality, enjoyments, and life beyond what has been mentioned.

“One of the highlights of Ian’s calendar year was his overseas trips to go fishing in Ireland where he would meticulously research, plan and prepare all his tackle and bait well in advance seemingly getting just as much excitement from this stage of trip anticipation as he would from when the time came of actually going over!

“Ian’s passion and joy for angling was radiated to those around him in all walks of his life, never once missing a chance to help out or encourage someone to fish sharing with them his knowledge and experience.

“Ian was a member of numerous angling clubs across Nottingham city throughout his life, particularly keen on competing within the area match fishing circuit. Arnold Ex-Servicemen Angling Club, Bulwell Matchmen and Lake Snakes Angling Club are just a few to name.

“An admired and proficient angler at using many different match fishing methods and techniques but as Ian aged even he found certain parts of fishing tricky due to eyesight deterioration which resulted in him getting custom made 3mm Hi-Viz float tips by friend Simon Cooke that the rest of us found hard to believe a delicate biting roach could even pull under the water but somehow Ian made them work!

“In our shared match fishing circles, we fished big festivals and competitions together and enjoyed many a social along the way. Ian was a vodka and Red Bull man down the pub after a match but also enjoyed a sneaky cigarette to pass time when the fish weren’t biting. He was a much-loved husband, parent, and all-round great man. It was a pleasure to know you Ian, remembering all the good times both on and off the bank we shared together. From myself, and the lads of the Nottingham fishing community we will miss you dearly and your loss leaves us all with a hole in our hearts forever. We have lost a kind hearted giving selfless man.

“I want to end this tribute with the following as sadly I won’t have the chance to wind him up and hear it again from the man himself…
Ben – ‘Coatesy have you got your teeth in?’
Ian – ‘Have I f**k!!!’

“Rest in peace Ian, my friend.”

Edward Lewis, friend and fellow member of the Lake Snakes Angling Club:

“Ian was a fun person to be around and will be missed by everyone in our club. He’d always have a few tales to tell, many of them starting with the words “In Ireland…”. He was very fond of making the trip across the water in the quest for bream and roach. No doubt, a fair few hours were spent propping up the bar too!
“He had a funny trait of whistling at the end of words when he spoke. Not always though, and on the days he didn’t have his false teeth in, he might joke over breakfast to see if someone could chew his bacon for him. “We often used to bump into each other in the tackle shop on a Saturday morning. I remember telling him about a day’s roach fishing last autumn outside the Forest ground. He said that growing up in the Meadows, they used to swim across the river near Lady Bay Bridge to the bakery opposite who would throw cakes and treats down to them. That seems a world apart from what most kids would do nowadays!“Ian was the captain for our Angling Times Supercup team this year. We got drawn against Barnstone who for some reason picked the Nottingham Canal on London Road for the match venue. Despite a lifetime of fishing, there are still things to learn. Our team plan was to try to pick off better fish with casters and worms, ligging on with flat floats. On our first practice session I can remember Ian proudly showing off his new floats that he’d picked up earlier in the week. He’d even sent off for some of the big winders to store his rigs on. His energy and passion for the sport was quite infectious.“The tributes and stories that have been mentioned over the days since the incident show that Ian had a big impact on lots of people, either through fishing, his work or his family and friends. It is very sad to think he won’t get to enjoy his retirement on the bank, pleasure or match fishing. As a member of the Lake Snakes Angling Club, it makes us all very proud to have fished with, and been friends with Ian. It’s great that the memorial fund has been so widely received and that we can help support Ian’s family. “Tight lines, Coatesy!”

A bereavement collection for Ian’s family in his local fishing tackle shop ‘Nathan’s Premier Angling Centre’ on Radford Boulevard (NG7 3BN).

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