The Times newspaper tells me that fishing is catching on with the stars, the celebrities and the Z listers. It appears that the coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst to the increasing numbers of anglers in the UK. The furlough scheme gave us millions of individuals with a good solid income but nothing to do and nowhere to spend the money. Some of them spent it on holidays because they had to go away as they were so stressed spending all their time doing nothing or lounging around in parks drinking beers while gathering against the law.
But some took to fishing and one club which has seen angling soar in popularity is the Vauxhall Angling Club in Bedfordshire. They say that their membership has risen from 700 to more than 1,100 this year and they had to bring in new rules and plans to accommodate the huge influx.
Dave Binge, the club’s head bailiff, said that he believes that people are looking for activities they can do outside because of the time they have on their hands during lockdown. And people see angling as a safe activity (safe for the humans but not the fish!). About 40 percent of the new members are new to the sport.
Further, the BBC’s programme Gone Fishing is proving to be an unexpected hit and as returned for third season. Celebrities are catching on to the activity. I’m told that David Beckham, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Zac Efron and Rita Ora all enjoy a spot of angling. Prince George is also going to be an angler and learn how to fly fish at Balmoral.
A flyfishing shop in Pall Mall, London, Farlows, said that sales have risen by more than 70 percent. There’s been a particular demand for fly-fishing materials. One reason for its popularity is because it lends itself to social distancing, which has been engraved into British law and minds over the past six months.
And social media has spread the word. Apparently fly-fishing has exploded on social media. For me, they are all missing a vital point; a point that The Times author failed to make because it spoils the party. Fish feel pain when they are caught by a barbed hook. The fish’s lip is damaged. The damage makes it harder for the fish to survive. It’s been proved that they feel pain in their lips and that their lifespan is shortened as a result. Fish are sentient beings and I hate to carry on about this but a mountain of pain is experienced by fish both because of individual anglers on rivers or huge trawlers in the oceans.
There is a complete disregard for the pain caused by anglers and this needs to be addressed immediately and going forward.