Canal Champs pull in the youngsters

A record number have signed up to the Canal and River Trust’s Junior Canal Fishing Championships.

A total of 75 young anglers aged eight to 18 are already confirmed for the event on the Shropshire Union Canal near Stafford this Sunday, September 15.

The Championships were created in 2014 in an attempt to get more young people fishing and have gained in popularity ever since. 

The Canal and River Trust’s national fisheries and angling manager, John Ellis, helped create the match in association with the Angling Trust.

He said: “Creating incentives such as this match is one great way of keeping young people interested in fishing.

“These Championships form a pathway for kids with a passion for fishing and who love friendly, healthy competition. If you grow up loving football you join a football team – the same can be said of angling. To create something that enables these kids to compete and further enjoy their sport is important.

“It’s been great to see the Championships grow in popularity each year and our Let’s Fish campaign has certainly helped get these young people interested in fishing.

“I expect at least 80 people to be attending this year and perhaps more than 100 in 2020.”

To help increase participation in this year’s championships the Canal and River Trust has added a cadet section for eight- and nine-year-old anglers.

Those fishing in this category will fish for just three hours, while the juniors (10-15) and the Youths (16-18) will fish for four. 

Licensed angling coaches will be on hand on the day and all anglers will take home a £25 Angling Direct goodie bag alongside a trophy.

“The many coaches on the banks will help the kids if they get into difficulties,” John added. 

“Overall it’s going to be a fantastic day where many youngsters will catch well over a kilo of fish in their allotted time, and all will win a prize.”