This year’s National Fishing Month (NFM) exceeded organisers’ expectations and introduced thousands of new people to angling. A total of 310 special NFM events were staged during July and August 2014, attended by enthusiastic participants from across the UK.
It began against the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Palace at the CLA Game Fair in mid-July when over 900 people were coached in coarse and game fishing by the Professional Anglers’ Association (PAA) and the Game Angling Instructors’ Association (GAIA). Newly-appointed Fisheries Minister George Eustace officially opened NFM at the event and, along with CLA Director Henry Robinson, he tried his hand at coarse fishing.
The NFM launch was also supported by TV personalities and presenters. Adam Henson (Countryfile) and his son Alfie spent time learning to both fly fish and coarse fish, with Alfie catching a small roach. Phil Spencer (Location, Location) and his family also enjoyed coaching sessions from both the PAA and GAIA over two days.
The outstanding launch was backed by excellent attendances in the days that followed at other NFM events up and down Britain. The newly-created Kevin Green Angling Academy team, based at Puddledock Fishery near Upminster, organised a series of six events over the NFM period and successfully delivered more than 600 coaching sessions.
Martin Rosseler, Chairman of the Kevin Green Academy, said: “All the kids had a great time and we had a significant number of new visitors attend. We also noted a marked increase in the number of girls who participated in the coaching sessions, which is a great thing to see.”
More than 100 people, aged 4 to 68, took part in the Free Angling session at Cotswold Water Park organised by South Cerney Angling Club as part of the National Fishing Month activities.
Volunteer coaches from the Club explained the methods and techniques to the keen beginners, male and female, young and not so young, and very soon they were managing to catch their own fish. The record catch was made by five-year old Lacey Bumphrey from South Cerney who landed a 3lb bream, much to her obvious delight.
The event was coordinated by Craig Hunt of SCAC who said: “We had a great Angling Taster Day, with so many happy faces on view. Some of them would have never of thought about trying fishing or imagined that they’d enjoy fishing. The fishing was tricky at times, but everybody seemed to have great time. A big thank you is due to the coaches that helped so many to catch their first-ever fish, putting the huge smiles on the faces.
“We are also grateful to the Cotswold Water Park Trust and its volunteers for all their help with the event and for coming along to organise the lake dipping. The Angling Trades Association and its supporting partners also deserve great praise for their important support and for providing each participant with equipment to help them get into angling.”
Naidre Werner, Chairman of the Angling Trades Association (ATA), which runs NFM commented: “National Fishing Month remains the sport’s most important recruiting sergeant, and I am delighted that this year our numbers have reflected this. It really was absolutely fabulous. This is largely due to the enthusiastic, steadfast support of the voluntary organisers and coaches who actually plan and facilitate the NFM events every year, as well as sponsors Daiwa, Leeda and Shakespeare who donate products for prizes and giveaways. It is also my pleasure to acknowledge and thank Fosters of Birmingham, Fishing Republic, Sports Direct, David Hall Publishing, Fladen, and Dragon Carp for their generous support of NFM 2014.”
She added: “We are already planning NFM 2015, when we will be aiming for even more events, larger than ever participant numbers and enhanced media exposure.”