The terrible British weather and the 2012 Olympics didn’t dampen the spirit of the coaches and National Fishing Month (NFM) organisers this year. Despite the distractions, nearly 300 events took place across the country, attracting close to 14,000 participants across a huge range of ages, ethnic backgrounds and social profiles.
This year’s events, which took place between 20th July and 27th August, had a shaky start when the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle was cancelled because of unsafe ground conditions. However, Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon, rescued the day when he opened proceedings at a special NFM event organised by Reading and District Angling Association (RDAA) at Longwater Lake, Green Park, Reading. School children from the local area enjoyed one on one coaching sessions from Les Webber MBE (Angling Projects), Danny Williams (Angling Trust) and Will Barnard (RDAA).
Richard Benyon said: “National Fishing Month is a fantastic opportunity to introduce thousands of new people to the benefits of angling. It was great to see youngsters from Reading getting into the sport.”
NFM 2012 culminated five weeks later with three days of coaching at the Evesham Festival, where anyone who attended could enjoy sessions with coaches from the Professional Anglers Association (PAA). Harvey Jacks, PAA Director said: “The weather wasn’t kind to us across the three days. However, we managed to still coach nearly 150 people, which was a great result.”
Naidre Werner, Chairman of the Angling Trades Association, who organise NFM, commented: “Without a doubt, the appalling weather and the focus on the Olympics have affected participation numbers this year, with those most affected being around the M25 corridor. However, the organisers and coaches who support NFM and who have done so for many years are a hardy bunch despite the distractions and being able to report numbers close to 14,000 is purely down to their determination and loyalty. They deserve unqualified praise.”
“I am also grateful to the Environment Agency for its continuous financial support and tackle manufacturers such as Daiwa, Leeda, Maver, Tricast, Hopkins and Holloway, Hardy/Greys, Pure Fishing, Shimano, Lureflash and Marukyu – who always contribute products every year, without fail.”
Peter Aske, Buyer for NFM sponsor, Go Outdoors said: “I would like to thank everyone, including the consultants and manufacturers, who have supported us throughout our sponsorship of National Fishing Month 2012, which saw an increase in customer numbers during the 27 events that we ran throughout our stores. We at Go Outdoors are committed to bringing new people into this great sport and we see NFM as a fabulous conduit to achieve this. We have learnt a lot over the last few weeks and would like to think that we could do better. The NFM team have done a great job but we would like to see more of the industry getting involved and supporting future NFM events to get people into the sport.”
For anyone interested in organising or attending an event for National Fishing Month 2013, next year’s initiative will run between 19th July and the 26th August.