Take A Friend Fishing initiative extended until early October

The Take A Friend Fishing initiative runs until October 4

The Take A Friend Fishing initiative runs until October 4 - Credit: Archant

Following the success of the Take a Friend Fishing initiative in early July, the Environment Agency, Angling Trust and Angling Trades Association have combined to extend the campaign.

The Take A Friend Fishing initiative runs until October 4

The Take A Friend Fishing initiative runs until October 4 - Credit: Archant

This will give Environment Agency rod fishing licence holding anglers the opportunity to register to take a friend fishing throughout the eight-week period running from August 14 to October 4.

Going fishing is a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends and has proven mental health and wellbeing benefits.

Fishing licence holding anglers will be able to register for a free one-day Environment Agency fishing licence worth £6 to take someone they know fishing. To take advantage of this offer, all that licence holding anglers need to do is to visit takeafriendfishing.co.uk.

Jamie Cook, chief executive o the Angling Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be able to drive the Take a Friend Fishing initiative forward and I applaud the Environment Agency for taking this proactive step to build on the work the Angling Trust have done to get fishing back and then to grow angling participation.

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“We need to seize this opportunity which allows both experienced and new anglers, as well as those returning to the sport, the opportunity to share the experience, sew the seed and help their friends and families take that first step to establishing a fishing habit.”

With licence sales booming following angling restrictions being lifted, now is the ideal time for the angling community to come together and help to increase participation in the sport. Andrew Race, who recently took over as Chairman of the Angling Trades Association (ATA), added: “The decision by the Environment Agency to extend the Take a Friend Fishing initiative cannot be underestimated. It reflects the cooperative potential and commitment to angling that now exists between the major stakeholders.

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“I feel privileged to be ATA chair at this exciting time and would urge the trade as a whole to look at what we are achieving and support this initiative.”

Kevin Austin, Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency, said: “Angling is a great way to spend time outdoors whilst remaining a safe distance, has known wellbeing benefits and what’s more, anyone can participate.

“The Environment Agency, Angling Trust and the Angling Trades Association fully support the Take a Friend Fishing initiative which invites newcomers to discover the positives around this sport for themselves.

“The success of the recent relaunch and increase in licence sales since the lockdown period has shown the enthusiasm that exists and so we are extending the free one day licence offer again so that we can grow our angling community even more!”

Members of the angling trade have responded positively, welcoming the initiative, and adding their support.

Ali Hamidi, of Korda/Guru, said: “We are extremely excited to launch the #takeafriendfishing campaign in conjunction with the Angling Trades Association, Environment Agency and The Angling Trust! The surge that fishing has seen during these difficult months has been remarkable.

“It is our responsibility as anglers across the UK to show the splendour of our beloved pastime to friends and family who have never been lucky enough to enjoy this amazing hobby.

“The sport deserves to thrive, the mental and physical benefits are phenomenal, and we should all carry the torch of angling proudly and help others get involved. This scheme will really make a difference to people’s lives so every major brand and all anglers should do their bit from August the 14th. Go make someone’s dreams come true.”

Mat Woods, brand manager at Korum, welcomed the extension, adding: “I think everyone involved in the angling industry realises the magnitude of the current situation. Anglers are fishing more often, lapsed anglers are returning and the wave of new anglers is exciting and momentous.

“These remarkable times are providing a unique insight into how many anglers there could be. We have all dreamed of these numbers and our focus must now shift to retaining them. The extension of Take A Friend Fishing is superb news as it breaks down one of the barriers to engaging with the sport.

“Taking someone fishing gives you an opportunity to take an active part in angling and its future. Let’s head in the right direction whilst we’ve got the wind in our sails and let’s do it together.”

The extension will benefit all areas of the sport with September a great month to catch fish on the fly.

Brian Campbell-Kearsey, of Orvis UK, said: “Orvis are excited to be involved with this year’s Take a Friend Fishing initiative. Now it has been extended to run from August 14 to October 4, it means for the first time, people will be able to invite a friend to enjoy fly fishing in September, one of the best times of year to fly fish.

“Orvis are committed to making fly fishing more inclusive and accessible and this worthwhile initiative fits perfectly with our ethos. We are planning some events to encourage people to introduce their friends to this fantastic sport and engage in nature and the outdoors.”

Cook added: “Some of my best fishing has come through September, it’s a brilliant time to be on the bank and I will certainly be taking advantage of this opportunity to introduce friends. I hope many anglers will do the same.”

For more information and to get a free one-day fishing licence to Take a Friend Fishing, fishing licence holding anglers just need to go to www.takeafriendfishing.co.uk and provide some simple contact details including their fishing licence number and the date of the fishing trip.

This will notify their friend who, after checking their details are correct, will be able to go fishing with the fishing licence holder, on the selected day using their own free one-day fishing licence.

Angling can still be practiced safely and has seen a boom in participation numbers after being one of the first sports to return on May 13 after lockdown guidelines were relaxed.

The Angling Trust – the national representative and governing body for angling in England – regularly updates its guidelines to anglers, clubs, fisheries, coaches, and other angling organisations to ensure fishing can comply with the latest Government guidance during the Covid-19 epidemic.

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