Your Views - Key Areas

Below are the responses gathered from anglers who have left a comment at the Give Us Your Views - Key Issues for the Research page of our main research site. The comments are arranged according to four key areas of our angling research:

Angling and the Natural Environment
Social Aspects of Angling
Angling and Physical Activity
Angling, Well Being and Health

1. Angling and the Natural Environment

To be involved in this enables me to have a louder voice in promoting sea angling.
{Submitted 14/04/2010 - 20:48}

My view is that angling is a benefit to the whole of any community. It brings people together, creates a mind set of people who observe and react to the environment. The rewards from angling are being in the most beautiful locations on our planet, and occasionally you catch a fish. If you know of anything better than this I will join. :)
{Submitted 18/04/2010 - 01:29}

The relationship between the local community and the natural environment is complex in so far as the two are interdependent. Stewardship of the environment is therefore stewardship of the community to some extent. The clubs with whom I have membership maintain their local environments and promote access to them from the local communities. In this way the environment is seen as a shared resource, which anglers, by dint of their special interest, make an effort to preserve and share. The clubs are also not prescriptive about defining their communities but are happy to extend their membership. All the clubs tend to bend the rules slightly (for example one is notionally a 'works club') to be inclusive.
{Submitted 10/06/2010 - 13:48}

Our young anglers are taught to respect and understand the environment and wildlife where they fish. Our group undertakes environmental projects that benefit the local community. Our club/organisation is integral to our community.
{Submitted 11/06/2010 - 11:35}

As part of the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association I am active in pollution control, environmental projects, poaching control, active lobbying against hydopower and barrages, trying to remove barriers on our rivers etc. Having spent many happy years in fishing it was time to put something back. Without good ecosystems on our rivers they will not be able to cope with climate change and man will be the poorer.
{Submitted 11/06/2010 - 12:58}

I have worked for the last twelve months as a volunteer Programme Manager for a small club who have brought a long neglected trout fishery back to life. The works involved have dramatically improved the bio-diversity at the site, improving water clarity, desolved oxygen content of the water and re-balanced the nitrogenous chemicals to almost zero. This has had a huge impact on the natural environment of the whole site, from invertebrate life to the quantity of birds that visit the site to nest and rear young and feed. Re-planting and increasing water side trees and plants has lead to an increase in available insect life for both birds and fish.
As an angler for over fifty years, who has fished across the whole of the UK I feel that anywhere I can make a difference with my experiences is well worth the effort and extremely rewarding. The local community is rather unique in that the residents are a mix of constantly changing military personnel and civillians. The benefits they are able to reap as individuals from the facilities are peace and quiet (most of the time), a clean, tidy and absorbing place to fish with abundant fly life, and many species of birds to watch when the fish are not feeding. The military personnel benefit from the tranquility of the enviroment between postings to more hostile terrain. Club members feel more at ease in taking their younger family members to the lake as there are fewer safety issues to take into consideration.
{Submitted 14/06/2010 - 13:58}

Heavily involved with SSACN Have delivered presentations to various schools as part of Eco schools projects. I enjoy working with youngsters, they develop a fascination with the natural world.
{Submitted 16/06/2010 - 21:43}

The majority of beneficiaries of PISCES live in the local area. The people of Leeds now have a way of accessing the natural environment in a safe and understanding group. We use the natural environment as a therapeutic tool. By accessing the local spaces, we are contributing to the popularity of those spaces. This encourages people to look after these places. Our beneficiaries gain a great deal of benefit from accessing the natural environment, all of which help them to recover from their mental health problems.
{Submitted 17/06/2010 - 14:53}

The quality of my local sea angling has deteriorated to such an extent through overfishing I now spend increasing amounts of time overseas enjoying the fruits of sound fisheries management. In short, fisheries management strategies that place the wellbeing of the public fishery resources above the interests of those who wish to catch and remove the fish - recreational sea anglers (RSA) or commercials. Only when the authorities operate within a cultural mindset that prioritises the actual fish stocks can we be certain that we will have profitable commercial and recreational fishing over the long term. With stocks being finite, this means 'controls'. Controls with the use of a variety of management tools such as sensible minimum landing sizes, closed seasons, restricted commercial quotas for commercials, bag limits for recreationals, etc. Long term policies rather than short term ones driven by vociferous commercial voices that persuade fisheries managers to only consider their popularity over the short term.
Wherever I meet anglers or commercials, I try to instill in them recognition that the 'fish must come first'. Unfortunately, the very heart of the EU Common Fisheries Policy  is about providing jobs and incomes for commercials so it is hopelessly flawed at its very core and that is why it isnt working and why the number of commercial fishing jobs has been in free fall over recent decades. In other parts of the globe where depleted fish stocks have been restored, the catalyst has been the involvement of RSA and I do sense slowly but steadliy more RSA participants are engaging with the issues surrounding fisheries management. I live in hope that eventually sufficient RSA engagement will result in the political will to bring a halt to the crazy management policies we are currently lumbered with [minimum landing sizes set well before maturity, few if any closed spawning periods, no restrictions on amount of linear dimension of gill/tangle nets etc.] and the tide of declining stocks will be halted.
{Submitted 21/06/2010 - 16:55}

In most circumstances, anglers are the first to be aware of any change to the water/waterside environment and, although not often qualified to define any given problem, are able to pass on any concerns to the relevant body. Many anglers participate in [aquatic] surveys and some, that are able, actually take part in various forms of water management for the benefit of both themselves and the wider environment. Not only do anglers get a sense of personal achievment from carrying out this sort of voluntary work but, as this work is usually carried out in the local area, this benefits the local community as well.
{Submitted 23/06/2010 - 11:56}

If you like nature - go fishing. I've done many outdoor activities from butterfly surveys to badger watches - none compare with the diversity of life I see when fishing. A while ago a photographer wanted to get a picture of a kingfisher - I met him a few times whilst fish-spotting on the river - he was struggling. I arranged to meet once the season opened, and first trip out he had a picture of one sitting on my rod. He said he saw more close activity that day than he'd ever seen, and I blanked!! Lets be honest, on an average trip, there's a good job the wildlife is there, it makes the blanks enjoyable.
{Submitted 08/07/2010 - 22:28}

As a keen angler I've cleaned the banks of rubbish, line, cans, and other crap left by others. I keep an eye on the swans at nesting time advising others to stay away due to the nature of their moods at this time. I want to perserve the way things are and not lose the waters that give so much enjoyment to others.
{Submitted 08/08/2010 - 08:03}

Anglers have long been the unpaid 'early warning system' for any pollution problems etc. It is they who are on the frontline & able to report any problems or incidents direct to the EA. Without them, our waterways would be a lot worse off.
{Submitted 16/08/2010 - 17:25}

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2. Social Aspects of Angling

Angling is great for my husband and I to spend some time together, doing something we both enjoy. Its great to take a step back from our hectic lives and have some quiet time out in our beautiful countryside. I'm sure it helps with our relationship and sense of well-being.
{Submitted 10/06/2010 - 10:11}

A particular feature of coarse angling at the moment is what anglers call 'The craic'. Typically this is groups of men getting together and having a laugh. I have seen many instances of men using such groups for mutual support of both a material but also spiritual side. I think men are not normally very good at this kind of thing and so recognise great value in this social side of angling.
{Submitted 10/06/2010 - 14:02}

PISCES is the only local organisation offering social outings for pleasure anglers, rather than matches. This is vital to people with mental health problems, as social contact is often neglected due to mental health problems. Due to the stigma and prejudice experienced by our beneficiaries, joining local angling clubs is often not something that they feel able to do on their own. Several people have moved on from PISCES outings to access mainstream clubs, increasing their social interaction, and enabling them to continue angling without the need for mental health services to be there.
{Submitted 17/06/2010 - 14:58}

This is probably not the right section for my comments, but then, you have not provided a section describing a very vital reason for developing angling skills.
As a baby boomer, the people who taught me to catch fish were only too aware that angling is, first and foremost, a survival skill, a fundamental fact that has been lost. I grew up in a time of austerity and food-rationing. Any chance of putting extra food on the table was encouraged. It was simple, you did something to put extra food onto the table, or you went without. Fishing put pounds of extra protein onto the table at little extra cost other than stale bread or a few pence on maggots grown on rotting animal remains. If you could bring home bream, roach, perch, pike and especially eels you removed from your mother the vexed problem of what to feed the family tomorrow whilst juggling ration vouchers and a slim budget.
How can many fast food-reared young people even comprehend a fraction of what this used to mean? How is it possible to inculcate the gravity of it to them? To imagine that hard times will never come again is facile and belies history. Fishing is still a valuable skill that will see us through famines to come, and we lose it at our peril.
{Submitted 18/06/2010 - 21:59}

Whilst angling itself is often a solitary pastime, many of the activities related to it are not and, they provide a wide range of different interactions with all sorts of people and organisations. From the purchase of equipment, comparison of techniques with other anglers and often membership of an angling club (with it's guest speakers, tuition and social side).
{Submitted 23/06/2010 - 11:42}

At our local church we have a number of adults that enjoy fishing - all disciplines - and we also have some young people who do too. I will often encourage young people to go fishing and from time to time, with parents permission and accompanied by other fishing adults, take them out fishing to help them learn more and improve their skills.
{Submitted 25/06/2010 - 08:12}

I find fishing very theraputic, those I meet are nearly always friendly and willing to share information. It is a great way to connect with other people. As none of my family are interested in fishing, I am happy to go off by myself and partake in the sport, knowing that I will meet a few like minded folk. I volunteer to help youngsters learn and encourage ladies to fish. I am on the committee of Colwick Fly Fishing Club, have been a member of the ELFA for several years and Derbyshire County Angling Club. Colwick run odd taster days and are now involved with Junior days.
{Submitted 29/06/2010 - 22:08}

I am in two angling clubs as well as fishing on wild waters across Scotland. Angling has an important role for mental well-being as well as for the co-operative engagement that one finds throughout the sport.
{Submitted 17/07/2010 - 09:53}

I run the Scottish Club Championships and the "Champion of Champions" competitions which are parallel competitions held every Sat evening between May and August. This involves around 1000 anglers from all over Scotland. They are all fly fishing from boats. Easiest contact for organisers is e-mail, until the event when personal contact takes place. Clubs are struggling to attract young anglers whilst older members tend to go off competition fishing. A donation of £1 per angler raises aroung £2800 yearly for Yorkhill Sick Childrens Hospital. So far we had raised £10000 with another £5000 at the end of this year.
When the competitions go to higher levels such as the European, Commonwealth or World Fly Fishing Championships (which I have been involved in) then all resources are used (school children for parades and flags, local goverment, shopkeepers, hotels, various fishery venues, Coach companies, first aid, police, anglers from all over being used as boatmen, adjudicators, guides, transport supervisors). Visitations are also arranged for team member's wives, persons accompanying them to castles, shows, distilleries and Woollen Mills (shopping). This is the way to promote friendliness, hospitality and business, in the hope many of the anglers will return in the future.
{Submitted 06/08/2010 - 16:03}

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3.Angling and Physical Activity

I work with adults who have mental and physical learning problems. Despite their limited mobility and attention spans we have some fantastic days out fishing. Our fishing - due to ability - is usually freshwater pole or rod and line; however, as we move into Independent Living for residents and visitors several flat owners have requested trips to the local trout fishery. These trips have been very successful, as they can bring caught fish home and cook them for tea. We also have worked with the Freemasons Society of Cheshire who actively promote fishing competitions for persons like our residents.
For many years our residents have had limited opportunities to get outdoors, and are usually confined to indoor activities. Our Trust, The Rossendale Trust Sutton, Macclesfield set about addressing this problem. A few years ago we established the Oakwood Project, which offers a range of outdoor activies for all, including wheelchair users. The project has gone from strength to strength. It offers horticulture, farming, trekking/hiking, camping and much more. Fishing in particular has created a strong bond between the main participants. Fishing has given participants new horizons and something to look forward to, whereas previously their lives were pretty well confined in terms of everyday and weekend activities.
{Submitted 12/05/2010 - 19:36}

I choose to fish using highly active techniques - specifically lure fishing and fly fishing, where there is a constant cycle of cast-retrieve-move on. I also like to fish large natural or semi-natural (e.g. reservoirs) fisheries. Consequently, I've usually walked a few miles - often over difficult terrain - in a typical fishing session, and walking, as we're told is great exercise. I'm convinced that this active fishing has contributed positively to my physical well-being.
{Submitted 30/06/2010 - 12:24}

Had to do a bit of hard research here - so - in 2 weeks I have walked just under 40 miles of riverbank looking for fish. It has provided the impetus for me to get out of bed 2 hours earlier each weekday and following the death of my wife last autumn I now have a routine to follow that is relaxing - and my 14 month grandson comes with me every time. What a wonderful bond-builder, and he loves it -- though the fish are less interesting than the cows!!! Anyone seen a barbel?
{Submitted 08/07/2010 - 22:20}

My angling varies from reservoir boat fishing to walking with float tubing equipment to Scottish hill lochs. I go hill walking frequently and often take a fly rod with me to fish in very remote locations. This is a very different activity level to canal-side sitting on a chair angling and requires a good level of physical effort both for the walking and for float tubing in strong winds. I have a replacement hip joint resulting from the wear and tear from completing all the Scottish Munros and fishing is a part of keeping fit and mobile and is a very useful way of infilling during very severe weather when the main summits are not accessible.
{Submitted 17/07/2010 - 10:04}

When I was younger I would gladly walk miles to fly fish. Hiking, camping, boating (rowing) breathing good clean moorland air, all contribute to the way you feel. Unfortunately, as you age many of the physical activities become more difficult, and may prove more dangerous than beneficial. However, just to get out and about and fly fish is a great cure for many mental troubles.
After snapping my heel walking was difficult but a day in a boat fly fishing was a god send to my health. Also when you are out and about many of the anglers you meet are worse off than you (disabled anglers championships opens your eyes). All angling would appear to me to be beneficial to health problems. I meet plenty of people with all sorts of problems, from depression to loss of limbs, and they all thrive from the outside participation and meeting other anglers.
{Submitted 06/08/2010 - 16:15}

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4. Angling, Well-Being and Health

I work in health research and am interested in the way health is determined. At an individual level angling offers many different ways to enhance health. These ways, well documented in literature over the centuries, still resonate with anglers today. Angling can offer one the chance to relax, it may offer intense excitement, fresh air, comradeship and even exercise. What each angler gets from it will depend on the angler. Naturally for anglers the green spaces and proximity to water are important, but I am well aware that other people gain similar benefits from more urban, land-based pursuits. Once again, what each person gets from it will depend on what they get from it.
There is a broader public health or population aspect to this. The health of a population is determined by the manner in which it interacts with its environment. In this way mass epidemics (cholera in olden times, AIDS or obesity in modern times) can be seen as a sign of a poor fit between our evolutionary needs and our environment. I would therefore suspect that by promoting a proper interaction with the environment, that angling promotes the health of the population. You can see ways in which this might happen; obviously anglers can provide early warning of pollution etc. However, I suspect that there are ways as yet not apparent in which angling promotes well-being of the community. I would have thought this would be a fascinating area to research quantitatively.
{Submitted 10/06/2010 - 13:59}

As a parent of an autistic child I have found angling to be of great benefit in helping me to relax from this stressful role. It has certainly been more beneficial than visiting the doctor and taking anti-depressants!!
{Submitted 12/06/2010 - 13:22}

Hope you don't mind me quoting the last chapter of my book. It fits in with your questions quite well, I think. "So what’s so special about Eyemouth and its surrounding villages? What is it that attracts Rod and me back every year? Well there’s the fish of course, especially at a time of the year when the rods are usually stashed away for the summer but there are some much more deeply rooted reasons that sum up the place more succinctly than the fishing. I like the fact that we can forget to lock the mini bus and expect everything to still be there when we return. One time in Burnmouth village we even left the door wide open, fished the tide down and up again to return to discover everything as it was, spare rods, reels and waterproofs untouched. I like the idea, when staying in St Abbs and, being unable to give a time of arrival the answer is “That’s OK, I’ll leave the door open”. I like being able to collect crabs without worrying that the next skeer I shove my hand under will have a broken bottle or ripped can waiting for me. I like the spectacle of watching gannets dive all around you, of seals watching you fish, of porpoises lolling past 100 yards out and of rabbits, foxes and even mink scampering along the cliff top or across the rocks.
Mostly I like the serenity and solitude of the place, somewhere to get lost in and somewhere to escape, if only for a while, from the madcap world we seem to live and work in. Some years I catch lots of fish and some years hardly any. The quantity is secondary to being able to throw my watch away and live by the tide rather than some deadline that has to be met. When asked what I would do if I won the lottery I cannot think beyond buying a house here somewhere, overlooking the sea, with a path to the beach, a boat in the harbour (for those really calm days) and enough peeler to last me a lifetime. Now that would be something."
{Submitted 13/06/2010 - 12:02}

I first went fishing about the age of 13 and wasn't really impressed. I picked it back up  again in 2004 because I was going through various things in my life, added to the fact that I had no hobbies that could help me unwind. I feel less stressed and more happy & contented with life when I am fishing. I think that in today's hectic world you need some sort of release valve. I also think that fishing teaches kids about the enviroment; it gets them away from playstations and out into the fresh air. The excitement comes when the float goes under, as you never know what's on the end until it's finally in the net.
{Submitted 21/06/2010 - 10:33}

When I load my kayak and rods back onto my car after a two-hour 'first light' trip on the water around the Cornish coast, I am pumped up! I'm ready to take on the world (after breafast of course!). I may have caught some fish for supper, may have seen a basking shark, a seal, a peregrine falcon etc. I get a similar feeling when I pack up after a few hours of night fishing off a small, remote cove beach. You feel you're the only living being on the planet.
The 'value' to me is priceless. Just knowing such places exist makes me feel good. Planning a fishing trip, the thrill of expectation, getting gear ready, arranging to pick up a buddy, all these things make life worth living. Fishing is good for the soul - no, it's 'essential' for the soul. And yes, I still feel positive and great even on those ocasions I fail to catch a worthwhile fish, but I must believe a decent fish is a distinct possibility. For that to be the case I need a measure of success which I'm finding increasingly difficult to maintain. Hence, I now spend a great deal of my fishing time in overseas locations where fish are more abundant and available across their natural age structure. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as exhilarating as hooking a monster and landing it!
{Submitted 21/06/2010 - 17:07}

Yes, angling certainly provides a chance to escape and unwind. Being near water, and in a 'green space' is important, and especially so if others are not too close by!! [Fishing is] sometimes spoilt by others too loud on their mobile phones!! [I find it] an interesting mix that angling provides relaxation for 99% of the time, punctuated with mild excitement (if lucky). Also interesting that angling for me seems extremely tiring when I return home....something that others find that because of the relaxation?
{Submitted 23/06/2010 - 18:51}

I have been an angler for well over fifty five years, and much in the world has changed over that time. I always feel that I am much closer to nature when I am fishing. As you're invariably seated quietly and camouflaged, nature gets closer to you!! The very pretty wild birds come closer!! They seem to sing more loudly .....and in such peaceful surroundings you gradually sink into a state of utter contentment, to such an extent that the mind becomes totally uncluttered by everyday issues. Then, when your float quivers or slides away; or your bobbin suddenly hits the rod; or your fly is snatched as you quietly perform a slow figure of eight retrieve;.....your mind and body is instantly transformed from being totally and utterly relaxed to one that is incredibly excited by the thought expectation of connecting with a fish.
You could liken these changes in one's mindset, (that can sometimes occur in less than a second); to that of turning on a light switch as you enter a darkened room. The transformation in one's senses, particularly when one is fishing for large specimen fish, can sometimes be almost immeasurable and the accompanying adrenalin rush causes immense excitement. There is no other sport or pastime like it!!!
{Submitted 27/06/2010 - 07:16}

Quite simply - going fishing is time for either just me, or often with a friend, when there is no need to do anything other than relax. I cannot imagine anything else {and I've done plenty of other activities} that allows such an escape. Yes it can be selfish and consuming - but for me it is the ultimate means of levelling out from stress. Fresh air, excercise, stimulating and a feeling of being 'at one with nature' all contribute to a very necessary experience in today's world.
{Submitted 08/07/2010 - 22:07}

Fly fishing is entirely a participatory hands-on sport which entails concentration and physical effort along Scottish riverbanks. Loch fishing with float tubes requires constant adjustment and concentration on manoeuvering as well as fishing. All of this takes one's mind off other things and is a great relaxation in addition to providing close contact with our natural surroundings.
{Submitted 17/07/2010 - 10:09}

Due to me [being involved in] organising angling participation, it probably does the reverse. However, for every serious angler there can be twenty out for the enjoyment. There is the saying "A bad day fishing, is better for you than a good day at the office/work" sums it up.
Water probably is a brain soother, but in boat fishing, it isnt always calm, and on many occasions very rough, so appropriate clothing and if necessary boat handling skills need to be ensured. There is no doubt that fly fishing provides both relaxation, excitement and disappointment all in one day. All competitions in sport are the same. If you havent a chance of winning but have done ok you can relax and enjoy it. If you are doing well and in fact win or qualify to go further you are excited and ecstatic waiting on the results, if doing well and things go to pot, you become disappointed, but look forward to the next competition. That is probably why angling is the most practised spor.
{Submitted 06/08/2010 - 16:29}

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