The battle to draw more anglers back on to the nations canal network has picked up pace after a number of large clubs revealed the amount of people targeting them has risen sharply in recent months.
Commercial carp fisheries had been blamed for the drastic drop of visitors to ‘the cut’ for the last decade but the latest report has given the biggest indication yet that the trend could be in the process of being reversed.
Officials at several associations have even created ‘canal only’ permits to meet the growing demand. Pride of Derby AC are one outfit that have taken such action and Ticket Secretary Ian Hole said: “We trialled this kind of permit last season and we were astounded at the interest. This year we’ve almost doubled the amount we printed and they are selling fast.”
“Canals offer something for everyone and more people are starting to realise it,” he added.
Pleasure anglers are making up a large proportion of those contributing to the rejuvenation and Doncaster DAA committee member Ian Hurst told Angling Times: “We work hard on promoting the benefits of our canals and it seems to be working as we now have over 700 members that regularly target the New Junction and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal’s. The rivers are full to the brim and these waters offer a fantastic alternative for a variety of species.”
Loughborough Soar AS’s stretches of water have become a magnet to match anglers and bailiff Rob Thompson confirmed the diary is jam packed for the coming months.
“We've got big leagues pencilled in on the Loughborough Canal and also plenty of clubs booked on for matches. We have had winning weights of over 60lb in the past so it’s easy to see why people are coming back to these venues,” he said.
Despite the boom bosses at the Canal & River Trust have confirmed their commitment to working with clubs to ensure the resurgence continues. National Fisheries & Angling Manager John Ellis concluded: “The signs are encouraging but we know that more needs to be done to get more people involved in angling on the nation’s canals.”