At the start of the coarse fishing season, a new poll commissioned by the Countryside Alliance has revealed that more people have participated in angling (38%) than in organised football (36%) or birdwatching (22%).

In addition, a further boost to angling, revealed in a Parliamentary Question* has been revealed as Environment Agency figures show that in 2008 1,138,442 angling licences were issued: an increase of 334,981 or 42% on the number issued in 1999. 

Countryside Alliance Campaigns Director Rob Gray commented: “It is fantastic news that at the start of the coarse fishing season angling is more popular than ever. This is a sport that can hold its own in impressive company, and it’s certainly impressive that it has beaten football in the poll.

“We still do not think there are enough young people going fishing, so in our recently released Rural Manifesto we are calling for angling to be put on the National Curriculum, so that all children will have an opportunity to take up the sport. It is already well documented that angling can help curb anti-social behaviour, encourage youngsters to participate in physical activity in the open air away from television, and can give them a focus and interest. You can support this aim by signing up to our Rural Manifesto.

“To put the new rod licence figures into perspective, Birmingham has only 1,006,500 residents, so we can also claim that angling is bigger than Birmingham!”

Click on – the UK’s No1 online match fishing club – to win a trip to the world match fishing championships, and save money off tackle