Plea to fish canals

A new campaign has been launched by the Canal & River Trust in a bid to revive angling on the nation’s historic waterways.

The ‘Be Inspired Go Fishing’ strategy has been created in response to the significant decline in participation levels over the last 20 years which has seen the number of clubs controlling canal stretches drop by almost a third from 490 to 350.

The scheme, which is being headed by the agency’s new Angling Development Manager, Becca Dent, will seek to encourage not only existing angler to visit canals but will also organise ‘taster’ days for youngsters and new comers to the sport including events to coincide with the National Fishing Month and Take a Friend Fishing.

Caroline Killeavy, head of community engagement for the Trust, said: “Angling has a role to play in contributing to healthier communities and better waterways. At the heart of our plans are the fantastic angling clubs that we already have on our network.  By working in partnership we’ll be able to reach out to new audiences; getting them angling and ensuring healthier, more enjoyable waterways for everyone”.

A recent survey of nearly 30,000 anglers by the Angling Trust, revealed that 23 per cent said the lack of local fishing venues was the main factor in preventing them going fishing. However, with nearly half the population of England and Wales living within a 5 mile travelling distance of a canal the CRT are also looking at improving access, particularly to inner city stretches of canals. Specimen hunter Dan Sales, who regularly fishes on urban waterways believes the strategy is a fantastic idea. “Canals are absolutely stuffed with fish and people need to make more of them as there is so much potential. The idea of more urban canal angling is great as these stretches are so local to many youngsters and fishing on them can be simple, like Light Rock Fishing is to sea angling, all you need is a small rod and a few lures or simple float rig and you can catch anything,” he said.

1: Work with angling clubs to get more anglers on the bank and seek advice on improving the network.
2: Obtain funding from organisations such as Sport England for projects which encourage new blood into the sport such as street fishing.
3: Improve access and facilities for anglers.
4: Improve their website with more information on places to fish and how to go fishing.
5:  Encourage existing clubs to run more matches and new forms of angling such as with kayaks.