Keith Arthur’s views on the news

Young­sters are mad keen – it’s their par­ents who need ed­u­cat­ing

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.

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