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Fishing’s Future

UK tackle industry urged to support participation initiative


The UK tackle industry is being called upon to support a first-of-its-kind participation initiative built around United by Birmingham, the community brand of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The plan, devised by the Canal & River Trust (CRT), includes more than 400 free introductory coaching days delivered via its Let’s Fish scheme, plus the largest young anglers competition held in the UK since 2009.

“We are proud to be a founding partner of United by Birmingham 2022,” said John Ellis, National Fisheries and Angling Manager at the CRT.

“The Games presents a golden opportunity to get more people into the fishing habit. Canals are the ideal places to start fishing and – with more canals than Venice – in and around Birmingham is the ideal location. Some eight million people live within 1,000 metres of a canal

“And with more than 1.5 million people expected to visit the city for the event, we are uniquely placed to make a significant contribution.

“The number of people fishing was in long-term decline until that trend was reversed by the COVID pandemic. We don’t want that upturn to be a temporary blip and cannot afford to lose that momentum.

“Our efforts to bring more people into the sport throughout the Commonwealth Games year are part of that.”

Whilst the Games will run from July 28 to August 8, the United by Birmingham community programme will run from March through to October.

Central to the Trust’s plan is its Let’s Fish introductory sessions. These will be run by licensed, qualified coaches and are intended to be the start of a long angling journey for those people who take part. The target is that one in five participants will want to go fishing again.

In addition, 20 regional competitions for ages seven to 20 are being organised to act as a stepping-stone to a “national celebration of young people and fishing.” The aim is to attract 300 to 350 competitors, with a teams-of-three component from Commonwealth countries.

“We want to be able to offer lots of prizes and trophies so that everyone involved feels a winner, which is why we need the wholehearted support of the trade – whether it be financial or in the form of product,” added Ellis. “We have already had some expressions of interest, but we can’t have too many.

“This is only the third time the Commonwealth Games has been held in the UK since its inception in 1930, so it is a very rare marketing opportunity for the fishing industry.”

Some of the UK’s best-known anglers started their fishing careers on canals, including Billy Lane, Kevin Ashurst, Dave Roper and Ian Heaps – all individual world champions – and Benny Ashurst and Ivan Marks. More than 75 national championships have also been held on canals, including both divisions of the 2021 championship.

For further information about the CRT’s plans contact Ellis here.

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