Sep 08 2015
Angling’s largest awareness programme, National Fishing Month (NFM), continues to be a cause for celebration following the introduction of more than 14,000 new people to angling this year. They took part in a nationwide schedule of 300 special NFM events held across just six weeks during July and August 2014.
NFM 2015 was launched at ‘Parklife’ in Milton Country Park, Cambridge, on a gloriously sunny day during which nearly 90 people tried angling for the first time. The event was staged in partnership with Cambridge Sports Lakes Trust, and it allowed visitors to explore a variety of ways to improve their health and wellbeing, as well as trying a range of sports (including fishing) to inspire them to become more active.
The highlight of second weekend of NFM was the inaugural ‘Carp in the Park’ event, held at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton. The venue proved to be superb and, despite the inclement weather, nearly 100 people were coached in angling over the two days. Many of them had come camping for the weekend and did not expect the wonderful bonus of being offered free fishing lessons by trained, nationally-accredited angling coaches.
The traditional NFM showcase event took place at the CLA Game Fair, which took place this year at Harewood House, Yorkshire. Over 200 lakeside coarse coaching sessions were delivered by members of the Professional Anglers Association (PAA), and their pupils had fabulous fun catching carp to more than 18lbs! On the Angling Trust stand, junior fly coaching run by the Game Angling Instructors’ Association (GAIA) was equally popular. The National Fishing Month coaching area was visited by a number of dignitaries and celebrities including Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DEFRA, who thanked everyone for their hard work in raising the awareness of the health and social inclusion benefits of angling.
The NFM successes continued through the remainder of August at hundreds more events across the country. These included a week-long CamJam event at which every Cambridgeshire scout organisation was present. The several thousand scouts who camped on site were eager to have a go at outdoor sports such as fishing. John Pope, NFM organiser for the event, reported: “It was a very busy week, but the scouts and girl guides who came along loved it and wanted to know where they could fish near to where they lived.”
One of the final NFM events took place at the Evesham Festival, and despite the typically wet British bank holiday weather, the team still managed to coach over 100 sessions. One of the show exhibitors, Frenzee, kindly donated a 13’ waggler rod as a competition prize, and a lucky local lad - Daniel - claimed his prize on Monday afternoon in between raindrops.
Naidre Werner, Chair of the Angling Trades Association (ATA) which runs NFM, commented: “I am delighted that this year our numbers continue to reflect how important NFM is in creating awareness of angling to the general public. But the Angling Trades Association isn’t solely responsible for making this participation initiative such a success. We enjoy funding support from the Environment Agency and our trade members, regional and national support from the Angling Trust and the Professional Anglers Association, headline sponsorship from Daiwa, Leeda and Pure Fishing and also physical help in facilitating support to the organisers from Fosters of Birmingham and Fishing Republic.”
She added: “However, the success of NFM is largely due to the enthusiastic, steadfast support of the voluntary organisers and coaches who actually plan and deliver the events every year. It’s down to their hard work that the sport is exposed to so many people. It’s now our responsibility to ensure that as many people as possible who enjoyed the NFM experience continue with the sport. We need to be pointing people to their local junior clubs, beginner-friendly fisheries and local coaching sessions so that we keep them hooked for life.”