The new football season is upon us, and it’s all to play for.
But if the thought of watching a bunch of millionaires kick a ball around turns you cold, or if listening to the waffling Gary Lineker makes you reach for your fishing boots, don’t worry; you’re not the only one.
In fact, this seemingly football crazed nation is not, as it turns out, quite as crazed as you might think.
Most people can name a team they follow – at least in principle. Many take a keen interest in the football premiership. But when it comes to participating in this most ubiquitous of sports, it turns out that we’d rather go fishing.
Yes, that’s right, a study by the Countryside Alliance has found that more people go fishing, than play organised football.
Fishing continues to grow in popularity
For confirmed angling addicts, this will come as no surprise. But the growing popularity of angling owes much to the efforts of the bodies that control our rivers. Thousands of projects to improve river ecosystems, better environmental controls and partnerships with farmers and businesses have done much to improve the quality of British rivers.
Thanks to the work of the Environment Agency along with thousands of volunteers and charities across the country, our waterways are now some of the best in Europe. Salmon, otters and water voles are returning, in numbers, to stretches of water they long ago abandoned.
The peace and tranquillity of the countryside is key to the quality of the fishing experience, and with thousands of miles of riverbank scheduled by the for improvement by Environment Agency, things can only get better.
Fishing is fun for all the family
Just as organisers of the wildly successful British Olympics, have focused on getting young people interested and engaged in sport, so organisations like the Countryside Alliance are going to great lengths to get young people fishing.
Fishing for schools, is a programme run through the Alliance, and headed by angling legend, Charles Jardine. The scheme engages kids who may not thrive in the classroom, by giving them angling instruction.
Currently underway too, is National Fishing Month, a campaign to inspire families across the country to take up fishing.
Such efforts should be roundly applauded. An appreciation for the natural environment, gained at a young age, will last a lifetime, helping to protect our wonderful rivers, for future generations of anglers.