Keith Arthur’s views on the news
Youngsters are mad keen – it’s their parents who need educating
LET’S be fair, unless someone has a personal aversion to angling for whatever reason, most people will enjoy fishing.
It is, after all, the best excuse for loafing in the countryside. The recent Angling Trust survey conveys that point very well (see pages 8/9).
The Trust is working very hard to recruit new anglers, and encourage those who have drifted away from the sport to return. There are several projects, and Get Hooked on Fishing, working alongside the Trust with the help of Environment Agency funding, runs Family Fishing Days throughout the year, where anyone can turn up and have a go.
I think the biggest current problem we have isn’t recruiting young people – because they flock along – but their parents. The missing generation seem to be the 30 to 40-year-olds, who would have started fishing when river sport declined and commercial fisheries took over.
Many rivers had lots of public ‘free’ or day-ticket fishing in the mid-1990s for £2 or less. Once commercial fisheries started with day tickets from £5 upwards, and often £10 in the South, with no concessions for age or disability, the starting point for beginners changed from being half-a-pint of maggots to three weeks pocket money for a day out!
Those are the people that Family Fishing Days try to win back. If the seven to 11-year-olds want to have a go, that’s fine, but
they need parents to take them to the water once they discover they want to fish again.
Family Fishing Days have achieved a huge amount this year and, as the survey proves, angling and society in general can only benefit from the exercise.
Youngsters love fishing – we now need to convince the parents too.