We catch-up with the Angling Trust Participation Team and find out how fishing is the perfect fit for safe and socially distanced fun that has real health and wellbeing benefits too.
Describe angling in a few words
Angling is the sport or pastime of fishing with a rod and line where catching fish is the aim. There are several types of angling to experiment with, including float fishing, lure fishing and fly fishing. Each type involves different techniques to tempt fish into taking the bait.
What are the basic rules?
Because there are so many types of angling and places to go fishing, there are lots of different rules.
The most widespread version where people fish against each other is known as “match fishing”. Participants will try to catch the heaviest weight of fish against the other participants in a five-hour competition. This means lots of tactics, concentration, and more activity than you might think. Catching hundreds of fish keeps you busy and is exhausting!
I want to go fishing. What do I need to do?
Angling can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be. Start simple and learn the basics before moving on to target different species of fish in all sorts of locations.
The main thing that we can't emphasise enough is to "keep it simple"! If you go to a fishing tackle shop, they will give you loads of useful advice but there are also lots of rods, reels, and equipment too. This can all seem a bit overwhelming but really all you need is a few items to get started. We've made a short film for beginners which should help:
Why should I give it a go?
No matter what your age or ability, angling is a wonderful way to get active with many health benefits. Whether it's a quick hour at the local canal or river or spending an entire day with friends and family by the sea - join millions of people who enjoy angling.
Is there a disability option?
Yes! The British Disabled Angling Association offers accessible angling for people with a range of disabilities.
Can I take it to a professional level?
When you have been fishing a few times, think about joining one of the hundreds of beginner friendly clubs that are all over the country. This is the best way to start fishing competitively as a sport.
Professional angling is huge in the UK and the Angling Trust develops the sport from grassroots participation through to elite performance and runs national and international competitions with Team England supported by funding from Sport England.
Have you got creative during lockdown?
Yes – we’ve had to! You might think that fishing is a solitary sport but for many people it’s a massive part of their social, family, and competitive lives. As a result, we’ve issued guidance for individuals, clubs and other angling organisations to put fishing at the forefront of sport’s return to play.
We responded to the huge desire for activity to sport following lockdown by producing information, fun activities and coaching courses that are accessible online via two new ‘Fishing Buzz’ and ‘Angling Advice Hub’ websites.
These were created almost overnight after listening to our community and finding that in common with other sports; interpreting Government guidance, maintaining hygiene standards and social-distancing were key themes in feedback.
What advice would you have for anyone looking to take up the sport?
You can get started with the most basic equipment available - ask your local club or tackle shop to help pick what you need. Our article explains the basic kit you need.
Remember that if you are over 13 years of age you need to get an Environment Agency fishing license to fish in ponds, lakes, canals, rivers and streams. If you go sea fishing, you do not need a licence.
What are the physical and mental health benefits of your sport?
Angling involves an entire range of low, medium, and high intensity physical activity.
It helps recovery from and prevention of mental health issues, involves spending time by the water which is brilliant for relaxation and aids concentration. Angling has been proven to be extremely effective to help people recover from PTSD, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and even breast cancer.
Going fishing helps build up your relationships and confidence which can reduce isolation, it allows you to become more physically active at a pace that suits you, whatever your age. Angling can be incorporated with other activities such as walking or cycling to a fishing venue and is a fantastic way to spend time with family and enjoy an activity together.
What does the future of the sport look like?
Amazing! The recent relaxation of lockdown regulations and Government sanction of angling as an acceptable activity has meant that 200,000 more people have bought fishing licences this May to June. Many of these people are new and returning anglers who have seen the obvious connection between fishing and social distancing.
Now is a great time to try fishing, visit our site at www.getfishing.org.uk to find local events and venues near to you where you can experience angling in a safe and positive way outdoors, in nature.
About the Angling Trust
The Angling Trust are always keen to connect with more sections of the sporting community. If you think fishing fits with your sector, or simply want to discover more about the mental and physical benefits and educational aspects that fishing offers people of all ages and abilities, please do get in touch with Head of Participation Clive Copeland - he'd love to hear from you! email@example.com