Fishing is a sport that has the nation hooked; it is one of Britain’s favourite pastimes and plays an important role in the economy as well as socially. The Environment Agency claims that recreational angling contributes £1.4bn towards the English economy and is a popular leisure activity for thousands of outdoor enthusiasts across Britain. The promotion of angling aids the restoration of rivers and fisheries back to the days before pollution was an issue for fish populations which are now thriving and diversifying in many rivers and bodies of water across Britain.
Where can I fish?
In the UK there are three main places to fish – publicly owned waters, private waters and the sea. How you obtain permission to fish depends on the area. You need to obtain a license from the Environment Agency to fish on publicly owned waters in England and Wales, and if you are fishing on privately owned land (e.g. fishing club owned or privately owned estate) you need to have permission form the land owner. In Scotland, fishing rights are private and dependent on the individual area or body of water; permission is usually granted by private individuals, companies or local authorities.
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How do I get into fishing?
If you have never been fishing before it may be worthwhile contacting your local angling club as they often offer instruction or guides to show beginners the ropes or could point you in the right direction of someone who can. There are also lots of local fishing enthusiast groups on social media that may be worth contacting for tips on which angling club in your area is best suited to you.
In Scotland in particular, it may be worthwhile going out for the first time with someone who knows the ropes. You can hire a guide to ensure you will get a beat on the river and another benefit is that permissions in the form of licenses and permits will likely be taken care of by your guide so you won’t need to worry about the admin and legalities side of it.
Some instructors and guides will provide equipment too so it may be a cost-effective way of having a go at angling without making too much of a financial commitment.
Why should I fish?
There is a whole hoard of reasons why you should get into fishing, here are our top ten.
10 reasons to fish
- Get the family together
- Some downtime
- Tasty supper
- Fresh air
- Keep the sport alive
- Meet likeminded people
- See new places
- Wildlife/ecological conservation
What should I wear?
Seeing as you can technically fish all year round in some places, you need to be prepared for all weather eventualities. There is typically lots of time spent stationary while fishing so it is important to wrap up to ensure you stay warm. We always recommend layers when partaking in outdoors pursuits to keep you warm and comfortable while allowing quick removal to account for those typical British temperature and weather changes!
First of all, we recommend starting with a base layer. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a simple close-fit, breathable garment such as the Hoggs of Fife Merino baselayer. It is important that your base layer is made of a wicking, breathable fabric so that if it gets damp it can dry easily to ensure you do not catch a chill. This Pro Zone base layer is soft and comfortable and will keep your temperature under control no matter how energetic you get.
Your mid layer is usually a fleece or jacket, depending on the time of year and weather, you should consider a lighter-weight or a more heavy-duty layer. For warmer days, something simple like the Hoggs of Fife Melrose Jumper would be ideal or if the weather calls for something more substantial, the Hoggs Of Fife Ghillie Fleece Jacket is a great option. Slightly more hard wearing and heavy duty than a standard fleece, it is water and wind proof, has elasticated storm cuffs, internal pockets and a two-way zip.
When out in the elements, your waterproof jacket is your best friend and an essential piece of kit for any outdoor enthusiast. The Ridgeline Torrent Jacket is an all-round, hard wearing jacket. It is important to consider freedom of movement when buying a jacket to fish in, you need a garment that is breathable and warm while allowing flexibility for movements such as casting. In warmer and drier months, a gilet or waistcoat is the way to go. Designed with fishing in mind, the Champion Farnham Gilet has a range of multifunctional pockets and a quilted liner for comfort and warmth. If the weather is warmer but you still want the functionality of a sleeveless fishing jacket, the Champion Windermere Waistcoat is a great option – lighter than the Farnham but with all the practical elements.
Depending on the location and nature of your fishing trip, you may want to consider investing in some waders or simply a pair of waterproof trousers if you are not planning on going in! The Game Excel Ripstop Waterproof Trouser offers durability and waterproofing, making them the perfect trouser for fishing, walking or hunting.
There are many accessories which can make your life easier when it comes to angling, whether you are a seasoned fisherman or casting for the first time. A hat is a must to keep you warm in winter; it can be bitterly cold while you are sitting by the water waiting for a bite. This Thermal Fleece Snood doubles as a neck warmer as well as stopping heat escaping from your head. During the summer months and sunnier spells, the Darley Wax Baseball Cap can help keep your face and neck shaded as well as keeping the sun out of your eyes.