Fishing Sim World

Clint Walker - New Anglers

One of the biggest complaints I hear in the angling trade, is that there are not enough new anglers coming into our pastime to sustain sales and keep them buoyant. Why is that? It’s a huge question with some complex answers, but one of the most prominent solutions must surely be down to lack of interested numbers? When I started fishing, over thirty years ago, I pestered my father to take me for a few hours after work. He hated it, I had no other relatives who would help, so eventually my cousin Stephen and I, being of similar age, started to go together. In fairness, I could see that my dad didn’t want to take me to the local water, a cement works where he was actually employed, but I was determined to go fishing… do kids today do the same? Can they be bothered when so much entertainment is available in their hand, flickering monotonously away as Mario and Sonic run riot?
Social demographics have changed over the last few years, resulting in many more single parent or ‘step’ families, with busier lifestyles leading to less spare time, and the advent of technology has changed personal interests beyond comprehension. When I started out, the internet didn’t exist, mobile phones cost the earth (and were about the same size) and video games involved two blocks chasing each other around a black and white screen which claimed to be ‘real tennis’. Now, many youngsters spend more time looking at social media, playing games with likeminded opponents on the other side of the world, instead of going outside, or engaging in open air pursuits. What can we do to change it?
I’m a member of several different angling clubs, and I’m aware that around the UK, many clubs have tried to encourage new blood in a variety of ways, so I was keen to see just how Fenton and District Angling Club set their stall out to capture new members. A weekend extravaganza was planned, supported by local angling related groups and retailers including the excellent team at Trentside Tackle. Huge marquees were erected, a barbeque offered, and free fishing was available to all who hadn’t tried their hand before. It couldn’t fail surely?
The Committee had obviously planned well, worked hard, and helpful staff and anglers were in place to assist all who attended. Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and visitors made their way to the pools to see what the whole ‘fishing’ thing was about. Throughout the day, cut price introductory memberships were sold, resulting in more than eighty new club members, kids had a go at catching fish under an experienced eye, burgers were demolished, and much fun was had by all. On Sunday, a grey sky and intermittent rain dampened things slightly, but certainly not the enthusiasm of the club team, and despite visitor numbers being less, another day of success followed.
I spent a couple of hours talking to potential members, or those who had just purchased a club card for the first time and was pleased to pass on the limited knowledge I have of club waters. It didn’t cost me anything, but I could see by their reactions, that some were keen to target the pike, or carp, or bream I’d described, which I enjoyed immensely. I also stopped by to help a couple of youngsters, pointing out a few basic errors which were easily rectified, and after spotting that one lad had forgotten a landing net, I went and spent a fiver at the second hand tackle stall to set him up; that fiver may just be enough to have him hooked for life, and I consider it money well spent… and it went into club coffers, so a real ‘win, win’ result!
A weekend of commitment, and the club numbers had been swelled by several dozen ‘newbies’. It’s a great result for the club, bringing in new members and therefore new money, but it will also help the local retailers who will be called upon to supply the new recruits with tackle. Not only that, but the efforts of committee members have given many people a brand new lifelong hobby, something to enjoy, and hopefully pass onto other family members which is important; not only has it generated income, it’s also produced simple, easy, happiness… and in this day and age, where technology is king, that is something to cherish…
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Fishing Sim World
24 Feb
Clint Walker - New Anglers
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