Unlike many sports which rely on rapid body movement or an eye for a ball, just about anybody can fish. Angling is a great leveller, with no barriers based on age, gender or social status. You can spend a warm summer’s day or a crisp winter’s morning by the water in beautiful places you would otherwise never, ever visit. Indeed, fishing really is a four-season sport, and one of its joys is that in each season there are different and exciting fish to catch.
Fishing is well-known for its capacity to help you to relax into a new, fascinating world, the ideal antidote to the stresses and strains of modern life. It transports you to the heart of nature and the many, intriguing plants and animals that live there. By attending a National Fishing Month event this summer, you could experience the joys of fishing yourself.
Fishing is an ideal starting point for anyone looking to make lifestyle improvements, but it is also the case that angling brings with it important health benefits. You don’t need to have high levels of strength or stamina to be able to enjoy fishing, but you will find that your lungs, heart and your main muscles will all receive a good workout.
Angling takes you into the fresh, unpolluted air, promoting healthy lung function and a sense of well-being. Recent research by Substance clearly shows that getting out on the bank can be good for you. More information on the health benefits of angling can be found at www.substance.net/publications/
These health benefits also extend to the mind, and angling is well-known for its therapeutic, mental effects. Anglers may sometimes appear to be sitting passively by a river or lake, but this apparent physical inactivity can mask the actions of an active mind, be it solving angling challenges as they arise or dreaming up new tactics or novel baits to outwit wily fish.
Anglers develop a philosophical appreciation of the fine line between success and failure because it is possible to get everything 99% right and still not catch fish. Fish have to be tempted to bite and cannot be forced to do so, and ‘active patience’ is another virtue that anglers learn.
Angling is an ageless pastime, too. In how many other sports can children take part on equal terms with their grandparents? And it’s not limited by number or time - you can fish alone, with friends or in an organised group for an hour or two or for a whole day.
There is a type of fishing to suit everyone’s taste and location: presenting an artificial fly in spring to a wild brown trout; stalking a huge carp on a balmy summer evening; or casting beyond the surf, when the cod are close to the shore in the autumn. Everyone can enjoy this wonderful sport, and millions of people do so every year.
If you’re aged 12 or older, you will need a fishing rod licence for fish in fresh water in England (except the River Tweed), Wales or the Border Esk region of Scotland. You don’t need a rod licence in Scotland, but you will need written permission from the owner of the water you wish to fish on. You must have a licence and a permit to fish in Northern Ireland.
A great way to enjoy yourself this summer, get outdoors and get healthy is to take part in a National Fishing Month (NFM) event and follow thousands of young people, parents, grandparents and friends who enjoy quality family time together at the waterside over the holiday period. It’s a hugely satisfying way to strengthen relationships, get active together and it often leads to lasting participation in and a passion for angling.
National Fishing Month 2015 runs between 18th July and 31st August.