Recession-hit UK turns to fishing


Men are increasingly turning to angling as the perfect tonic to beat the stress of the economic downturn, Angling Times can reveal this week.

Research in the UK and the US shows that more and more men are turning to cheaper, quieter and simpler hobbies like fishing, gardening and DIY in an effort to make more ‘me time’ and escape the pressures of the recession.

Online market research company YouGov has found:
- Three-quarters of men feel happiest doing hands-on activities
- Almost 40 per cent feel their ‘man-time’ is dwindling
- A third of men are more stressed at work than they were six months ago
- One in 10 admitted to hiding in the loo to escape pressures

In the US, the National Sporting Goods Association’s latest figures reveal sales of fishing rods and reels have hit a 10-year high as the world economy has slid into recession, a trend reflected during the last downturn in 2001/02.

Both here and in the States rod licence sales have continued to rise.

“It’s clear that regardless of age or job, men seem happiest when they’re getting their hands dirty,” commented Dan Korn, senior vice president of Discovery programming.

“Fishing is the UK’s biggest participation sport and is at the heart of Discovery Shed TV’s schedule,” he added.

January and February are traditionally tough months for the trade and sport as a whole, and the combination of this year’s harsh winter and tough economic climate have made things worse than ever.

But now the weather is warming up and the nights are drawing out, fisheries and tackle shops are starting to see customers return in ever-increasing numbers.

“People are noticeably more cautious with their money, but by buying in bulk I’m able to sell customers quality rods and reels at the best price,” explained Mark Wilkinson, boss of Chapman’s Tackle in Hull, whose business continues to be up year-on-year.

“It’s all about value for money. Fishing offers that better than any other hobby. A brand new golf ball costs me £3 and I can lose it off the first tee, that’s before you consider green fees. A pint of maggots can last you the whole day,” he added.