Fishing gives you a sense of freedom, an escape from the 9 to 5 and a chance for everyone, friends and families alike, to enjoy all that nature offers.
Let’s not forget, that catching a fish is simply great fun - you’ll always remember landing your first fish, whether it’s a tiddler or a whopper. A big plus for parents is that fishing is a healthy activity their kids can really enjoy that for once doesn’t involve a screen. And a hit with kids who will discover a whole world of fun outside their console.
Also, it won’t cost the earth – getting set up is very affordable. And it doesn’t require a massive time commitment either. Going fishing is a great way of spending a few hours together outdoors.
Before we begin, a quick note on the different types of fishing. The most widespread type of angling in England is coarse fishing, where you try to catch fish in freshwater, rather than sea, and they are returned to the water after catching. You’ll find anglers have a natural respect for the environment and the waterways they fish on.
Like any new activity you’re trying for the first time, it’s always best to do it with people who really know what they’re doing, that way you’ll have more fun and get to grips with everything quickly. Attending a taster session through the Angling Trust’s Get Fishing campaign is just the ticket.
Beginners of all ages and angling abilities are welcome, from those who have never picked up a rod, to others who want to try it again after a break. The best bit? Most of these sessions are free, or come at a small price, and include the use of tackle and bait. There is also no need to purchase a fishing licence for the taster events either .
Events run throughout the summer, but in August hundreds of taster events are scheduled as part of National Fishing Month, so you won’t have to go far to net one that suits you. Absolutely anyone can turn up and enjoy the full calendar of events that are family friendly and wheelchair accessible. There are wonderful waterways across the length and breadth of the country waiting to be enjoyed – the invitation is there, so don’t miss out.
After that, all you need is your fishing kit (more on that later), a fishing licence and access to a fishing venue. In England and Wales, if you’re 13 or older, you must have a fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line and you can buy a licence through gov.uk. Children aged between 13 and 16 need a junior licence, but they are free.
Joining a club is a good idea for beginners as your club membership will not only give you access to water when you want to fish but you’ll receive loads of help and advice from other experienced anglers. Fishing folk love nothing more than sharing tips on casting, bait preference, weights and of course tales of their best catches! If finding your own spots to fish, it is worth checking what permits are required at that location on top of having your fishing licence. Either way, you’ll be out in the fresh air and experiencing for yourself all the benefits fishing has to offer.
Another way to get started is to go along with someone you know who is already fishing. Trying angling for the first time with a friend, or family member, is a rewarding way of launching your new hobby. The Take a Friend Fishing initiative is ideal for this and runs at different points in the year. Through the initiative, licenced anglers can share their love of fishing with a friend, or family member, by registering for a free one-day licence – a great day’s fishing for all.
Believe it or not, you’re closer to a fish than you may think. In fact, 8 million people live within 5 minutes’ walk of somewhere to go fishing – so there is very likely an opportunity to fish just around the corner. Once you’ve caught the bug, you’ll want to explore more waterways to fish on. Here are three useful websites that can help you discover some excellent fishing spots.
Try fishing and discover not just the thrill of the catch, but the great outdoors, a few hours of tranquillity and a fun easy way to connect with your family and friends. And don’t forget, having a fishing licence is your licence to chill.
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