For less than 3p a day, anglers can target over 300 miles of previously unfished, virgin canals following British Waterway’s decision to license 122 stretches throughout England and Wales.
The new Waterways Wanderers ticket will run for 12 months from the date of purchase and costs just £10 to Angling Trust members, with the price for non-members set at £20.
The exciting development follows a successful trial scheme in the North-West of England, and is sure to prove hugely popular with anglers living close to some of the stretches.
And the provision within the scheme to allow clubs to sign up and run free matches will help to offset concerns that fishing on the nation’s canal network is in the doldrums.
“I’m really pleased to be extending the Waterways Wanderers scheme to the rest of the country – canals are great for beginners and experienced anglers alike,” said BW national fisheries manager John Ellis.
The Angling Trust was also full of praise for the initiative, which should help it to boost member numbers.
“Britain’s canals offer a fantastic resource for anglers of all abilities, both in the countryside and inner city areas. Our members will be able to enjoy all that fishing for just £10 a year,” said Trust boss Mark Lloyd.
And, in the main, angling clubs agreed that the scheme was a positive step forward for the sport.
“It’s outstanding value. Many of the stretches are set in scenic areas and will offer great fishing for a mix of species,” said Warrington AA secretary Frank Lythgoe.
But one person who’s unconvinced is Milton Keynes AA’s chairman Trevor Johnson. He thinks the huge choice of quality commercial fisheries means canals are still well down the pecking order with many anglers.
“I can’t see there being a mad rush to take up this initiative. We control nine miles of some of the nation’s best canal fishing on the Grand Union, but its popularity has declined dramatically,” said Trevor.