Five minutes with Mike Smith, founder of ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’

Britains’s anglers are being urged to take ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’... and raise money for research into the disease which kills thousands every year. 


Already the ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ scheme has raised £4,600 for Cancer Resarch UK, and with fundraising events planned this autumn, it looks set to pass the £10,000 mark in a few months.

The idea has been so successful that it has now been accepted as an official group within Cancer Research UK.

A Bite Out Of Cancer is the brainchild of Cumbria angler Mike Smith, who came up with the idea of encouraging anglers to donate £1 for every pound of fish they caught. 

On a bench at his favourite fishery, placed to commemorate a bailiff who fell victim to the disease, Mike revealed all…

Q) Why did you start ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’?

Mike: “It all started after the loss of my father and grandfather who both fell victim to the disease. I wanted to raise money to help others beat the illness, and seeing as I’ve always had a passion for fishing, I thought that would be the best way to do it.”

Q) How did you get the idea and come up with the name?

Mike: “A lot of people were encouraging me to get involved with angling coaching for kids, but I had a lot of factors blocking me from doing that. 

“So when I was out fishing for cod with a mate one day the idea just came to me. 

“The name then followed after weeks of overthinking. I wanted something catchy and felt this fits. After all, every bite we get, it’s a chunk out of cancer.”

Q) What are the movement’s biggest achievements so far?

Mike: “Getting to over £4,500 was crazy. I wasn’t sure if we would make £1,000 in the first year. Helping to get the charity noticed more in publications and on the ITV news recently is also a mega achievement for us.”

Q) What makes ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ different from other fishing charities?

Mike: “Other fishing charities I’ve found generally focus on one-day events throughout the year, whereas we want to be, and are, an on-going thing. It could be your biggest fish or the smallest, or it could be all the fish you catch. There are so many different ways people can get involved.”

Q) What’s the best fish posted/amount donated to date?

Mike: “The best fish to date was a cracking 54lb 10oz mirror caught by Justin Carter. Our biggest donation was a whopping £500 which came through a sponsor.”

Q) What do you hope for ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ to achieve? 

Mike: “We want to be known by all anglers in the country so when they catch a special fish, they can share it and donate to a great cause. 

“If every angler in Britain donated just £1 imagine what we could do for cancer research!”

Q) Where does the money raised by anglers go?

Mike: “Every penny made goes to Cancer Research UK. What are staff doing with it then? We are getting the chance to head down to their Manchester headquarters to find out next month.”


What can anglers do to support causes such as this?

Mike: “Stick their hands in their pockets! Being on the bank really is a pleasure and can be so rewarding – it really doesn’t take too much to give something back. 

“Anglers already contribute to some great causes, and as a group we should be proud to show an image that there’s so much more to fishing than just catching fish.”

Q) What are your plans for the future?

Mike: “We have only really just begun our work and have loads to look forward to. 

“We have a big talk coming in October which will be to over 400 people and will be alongside legends such as Julian Cundiff, Simon Crowe and Steve Reynard.

“We also have the first of our carp fishing socials in France which will raise thousands for the charity in just one trip – the first and biggest fish of the trip for each angler being donated!”

Q) This must all be a lot to manage. Do you have another job outside of ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’?

Mike: “It is pretty manic managing things around my job as a waiter. I have a great team behind me, though, and a partner who I couldn’t do it without. 

“I need to especially thank Alistair Kirkwood, Carl Jay, Lewis Clarke, Paul Neil, Laura Balderson and Marcus Morris.”

Q) Finally, how does it feel to see such great feedback to what you are doing?

Mike: “It’s brilliant to see people taking an interest. I’ve had people message me saying how much of an inspiration it was. 

“Jason Lockyer was so impressed that at one stage he was donating everything he caught every time he went fishing!

“It really doesn’t matter what the sum of the donation is, though.

“Every pound is a step towards beating cancer and potentially giving another angler out there some more precious time on the bank.”

How it works

All you have to do is go fishing! If you catch a fish you are proud of, take a picture of it.

Then donate the weight of your catch (or any amount) to ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ by visiting or follow the link in their Instagram bio and click ‘donate’. Then email your catch to It will be shared with the hundreds of other donations on all their social pages and stored in their photo album. 

Stay tuned to the Facebook page for ‘pic of the month’ comps and updates on merchandise.