Decreasing angler numbers a bad thing?

sean freeman

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You’ve not backed up any of your points Mike. It seems fairly obvious to me that angling is less popular that it used to be. Where I grew up in Ireland was full of fishermen and literally every man in my family has at some point gone fishing and a lot have kept going. In the same village now there are no youngsters fishing and when the club organised an open day it was kiboshed because they couldn’t teach kids without police checks and paperwork and none of the parents could be arsed watching even though the kids would have loved to catch a few trout.

It’s an evermore digital world and if kids aren't even aware of fishing now then why would they ever do it when they’re older? I have my uncle to thank for teaching me and giving me a lifelong passion, most of my friends haven’t been fishing and have no interest in trying. A friend of mine who owns a tackle shop said give it ten years and most of the physical shops will be gone. It’s strange as in America it seems as popular as ever.
 

mike fox

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A free junior fishing licence has helped to reverse the decline in junior licences which means there are more juniors now than before the change. Carp anglers can now use 3 rods per licence instead of the old 2 automatically decreasing sales but not anglers. Licences now run for 365 days so annual fluctuations will occur. Anglers are going fishing less frequently than ever so less gear needs to be purchased less often. Many like myself no longer belong to a club because of the increased commercials available or club water day tickets on offer. The other points I make are self explanatory. The fact is nobody can ever know how many anglers there are these days across the UK, so how can it be said there is a "decrease in angling numbers".
 

mike fox

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You’ve not backed up any of your points Mike. It seems fairly obvious to me that angling is less popular that it used to be. Where I grew up in Ireland was full of fishermen and literally every man in my family has at some point gone fishing and a lot have kept going. In the same village now there are no youngsters fishing and when the club organised an open day it was kiboshed because they couldn’t teach kids without police checks and paperwork and none of the parents could be arsed watching even though the kids would have loved to catch a few trout.

It’s strange as in America it seems as popular as ever.
What the EA and Angling Trust need to do is to get 'ANGLING' into schools and retain newcomers interests and participation. The problem is getting the right people to do it. Many AT qualified coaches are incapable of going about it in the right manor and it seems to me that the AT are more concerned with pushing through coach numbers rather than the quality of individuals. The GAIA appear to concentrate on casting abilities of instructors rather than quality of instructing/coaching.

America are having problems with angler retention as with most of us.
 
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black jungle

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Living in Ireland we are very fortunate to have many fine fisheries both river and Stillwater that one can fish,mostly free or for a modest fee, There are very few young anglers taken up the sport in comparison to some years back,I think there is to much competition from the computer games..You can't plug in a fishing rod..
 

Tommy Ruffe

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There seems to have been a decline in the number of fly fishermen since the late 80's when the banks at Ladybower were always bustling.

Most of the members at Morehall are, like me, old codgers. Lee by comparison is a veritable spring chicken in his mid-40's - guys of his age are few and far between.

Some members at Wharncliffe, and most of the day-ticket wallahs, all middle-aged, have given up on the noble art of fly fishing, if they ever learned it in the first place, and just float-fish. It's sad watching the gradual demise of our beloved sport. I expect, in a few years time, there'll just be a few eccentrics left ...

I have, in the past, had quite a few coarse-fishing pals who've expressed an interest in taking up fly fishing, that is until I mention the cost of a day ticket!
 

Paul_B

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That’s encouraging Paul B. Can you say why you have so many potential members?
Brendan
Probably the cost, as its a non profit club this isn't excessive considering what you get for the money, it did have a poor period where the members weren't too happy (me included) but we had a few changes of committee and now have predominantly fly fishermen on board who seem to want to look after the welfare of the fish and the water rather than their egos.
Actually we used to have more on the list but a lot of members (fish merchants) dropped out when we voted for a max of only 4 fish a week to be taken.
 

paul100

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All very I interesting stuff guys. I've a sneaky suspicion that we will follow the trend in the US and flyfishing will become fashionable and youngsters will take it up. No evidence to support this and maybe only wishful thinking but if you look about in the magazines on YouTube and the Fly fairs there does appear to be a growing although small at present band of young enthusiastic flyfishers. From my perspective it is down to all of us to encourage this in whatever small way we can. If it doesn't work so be it I personally will still enjoy every cast I make and I am forever grateful to my late mate who insisted that I tried his style of fishing- flyfishing, rather than my old style of fishing course fishin as it has enriched my life beyond any other hobby or interest I've had or have and I dont say this lightly.

Paul
 

PaulD

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What the EA and Angling Trust need to do is to get 'ANGLING' into schools and retain newcomers interests and participation. The problem is getting the right people to do it. Many AT qualified coaches are incapable of going about it in the right manor and it seems to me that the AT are more concerned with pushing through coach numbers rather than the quality of individuals. The GAIA appear to concentrate on casting abilities of instructors rather than quality of instructing/coaching.
I'm afraid you don't appear to be familiar with the initiatives that are already in place - 'Fishing for Schools' has been promoting youth angling and activities since Charles J launched it in 2007 and over 3000 children have so far participated. My GAIA colleague Robert Goble is a staunch supporter -


Your misconception that "GAIA appear to concentrate on casting abilities of instructors rather than quality of instructing/coaching" is disappointing.
Have a look at the pages from our website, look at the images of who we are instructing and the requirements of our certification -


The ability to deliver a fly is fundamental to FLY Fishing and much initial instruction needs to focus on that but many of my colleagues also operate as successful guides in a wide range of environments. The AT coaching scheme requires little instructional capability for casting and is a multi disciplinary 'coaching' scheme'.
 

sean freeman

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If you look at the fly fishing forum on reddit it’s full of guys and a decent amount of girls in their 20’s. I suppose having millions of acres/miles of public waters helps a great deal. I think the prices of good fly fishing in England especially is prohibitive to newcomers. Obviously there are exceptions but when you look at the quality, variety and number of species to target in America then it’s no wonder more people go!
 

sewinbasher

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You’ve not backed up any of your points Mike. It seems fairly obvious to me that angling is less popular that it used to be. Where I grew up in Ireland was full of fishermen and literally every man in my family has at some point gone fishing and a lot have kept going. In the same village now there are no youngsters fishing and when the club organised an open day it was kiboshed because they couldn’t teach kids without police checks and paperwork and none of the parents could be arsed watching even though the kids would have loved to catch a few trout.

It’s an evermore digital world and if kids aren't even aware of fishing now then why would they ever do it when they’re older? I have my uncle to thank for teaching me and giving me a lifelong passion, most of my friends haven’t been fishing and have no interest in trying. A friend of mine who owns a tackle shop said give it ten years and most of the physical shops will be gone. It’s strange as in America it seems as popular as ever.
Insurance is also a present day issue, when I was in my early teens we could go off fishing every day in the school holidays completely unsupervised but now clubs can't take the risk without compromising cover. I was in a non fishing family and if I could have only fished with adult supervision I very much doubt if I would be fishing now. My club gives free membership to those still in education but under 16s need supervision and I'm convinced that this affects recruitment.

Also, fly fishing is difficult and kids need to catch fish to get "hooked", there's nothing like watching a float go under to get them interested but in some parts this is difficult to provide. If you can get kids interested you may lose them in their 20s and 30s whilst they establish careers and families but I think you get a few back in their 40s, especially for the more expensive game fishing.
 

BobP

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When I was still working for the EA Swindon was in my area. The Council owned 9 lake fisheries ,coarse but that makes no difference. Each lake bar one was leased to a local angling club most of whom offered day tickets. The one exception was a large lake which was run as a day ticket venue by the Council plus a 24 hour carp syndicate.

Over a ten year period I obtained a large amount of Agency funding for a lot of projects large and small to improve the angling and facilities at those lakes. There were two committees that I attended, one of which was attended by representatives from each club and dealt with the day to day nut & bolts issue. The other was higher level and dealt with the more strategic issues.

One of the projects I got off the ground was to partner Swindon Borough Council in recruiting and appointing probably the first Angling Development Officer in the country. This was a great success until various local government reorganisations resulted in the officer having a much wider remit that just the Swindon fisheries and therefore less time.

Nevertheless we organised a number of angling events around the various fisheries which were attended by up to 100+ youngsters and a good few not so young as well. My plan was to make sure that there would be a representative from each club at these events and once little Johnny or Julie had had their fishing session if mum asked where they could then go fishing close to home she could be directed to the club official of the nearest club who could then take them on board.

In order to help with this we put money into helping members from the clubs to take their coaching qualification but the take up was small due to many feeling intellectually ill-equipped to undertake the courses.

The result was a slow downward spiral which has continued after my retirement. One of the fisheries that SBC and the EA spent more than £40k restoring has fallen into disrepair. What the others are like I have no idea and I have no idea whether or not the ADO is still in post. It was good while it lasted, but unless people are prepared to put personal issues aside and work as a team things like that will go nowhere.
 

speytime

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I think Sewinbasher has a good point, my area is well off for fishing and I see groups of youth's on the river bait fishing just as I done when I was there age.
Then women, work and kids came along fishing was forgotten about until I was around 40 then i got back into fishing.
Edit
What I see as detrimental is self appointment bailiffs, some people think buying a season ticket makes them bailiffs they then give youngsters hassle so only the keenest come back.

Al
 

mike fox

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I'm afraid you don't appear to be familiar with the initiatives that are already in place - 'Fishing for Schools' has been promoting youth angling and activities since Charles J launched it in 2007 and over 3000 children have so far participated. My GAIA colleague Robert Goble is a staunch supporter -


Your misconception that "GAIA appear to concentrate on casting abilities of instructors rather than quality of instructing/coaching" is disappointing.
Have a look at the pages from our website, look at the images of who we are instructing and the requirements of our certification -


The ability to deliver a fly is fundamental to FLY Fishing and much initial instruction needs to focus on that but many of my colleagues also operate as successful guides in a wide range of environments. The AT coaching scheme requires little instructional capability for casting and is a multi disciplinary 'coaching' scheme'.
I am actually fully aware of both. Charles is doing a great job, but it is limited to the minority. It is only the EA and AT that can role out a national programme which at present they are unable to do because of resources, both financial and qualified manpower.
I have sat in and observed GAIA instructing sessions for adults and children several times. My observations were that the instructors rambled on so much that the student candidates failed to remember what they were 'told' after 5 minutes because so much technical information was given. Most were getting bored after 15 minutes and were left alone while the instructors moved on to someone else. Most were left to thrash the water, not learning anything. Most of these people never returned for subsequent sessions. The instructors were all monotone with their instruction even I was getting frustrated. I have a pal who has been on the instructors coarse for 2 years and is no further on than he was after the first 6 months. He bemoans that he has been under the instruction of several tutors, all of whom are telling him different techniques of how to cast. Following GAIA recommendations he has bought several different rods and reels costing 1,000's of pounds, only to be told they are no good for the job. What's that all about?
 
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mike fox

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In order to help with this we put money into helping members from the clubs to take their coaching qualification but the take up was small due to many feeling intellectually ill-equipped to undertake the courses.
And that was the problem with the NFA/AT coaches L1/2 courses. Although at least many tried.
 

PaulD

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Following GAIA recommendations he has bought several different rods and reels costing 1,000's of pounds, only to be told they are no good for the job. What's that all about?
"GAIA recommendations"? I've been a qualified instructor for many years and the tackle requirements for GAIC qualification are stated as thus . . .

"Fly rod of maximum length of 9’ and a maximum AFFTA rating #7 with an appropriate floating line, maximum of AFFTA 7# and suitable leader of between 7ft 6in - 9ft, with a wool tag. A high visibility line is advantageous, a . Candidates should take note that some tasks require control of substantial lengths of line in the air and choose their outfit accordingly. "
 

mike fox

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"GAIA recommendations"? I've been a qualified instructor for many years and the tackle requirements for GAIC qualification are stated as thus . . .

"Fly rod of maximum length of 9’ and a maximum AFFTA rating #7 with an appropriate floating line, maximum of AFFTA 7# and suitable leader of between 7ft 6in - 9ft, with a wool tag. A high visibility line is advantageous, a . Candidates should take note that some tasks require control of substantial lengths of line in the air and choose their outfit accordingly. "
Yes, exactly that. But he has been advised to buy and has bought all sorts of makes including the white painted Sexyloop #6 teaching rod & 2 x G. Loomis rods, #6 & #7. Only to be told by a well known instructor based on the R. Ribble whom he is now under instruction, that they were no good for the job and to leave them in the boot of his car. :LOL:
 

troutrod

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in the 70s it was well document that there was 5 million anglers there was now it is swimming 2.9 million
 
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ohanzee

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Fly fishing is not a business to me, just something I do, and I don't need anything more than the un managed natural waters and rivers that have been there since the ice age to do it, I don't recall it ever being a thing kids do either, most come to fly fishing later, for example for most of us a driving licence is a prerequisite, and it is generally well off the radar till after girls and beer.

Encouraging youngsters? I'd say get a life and let them.
 
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