National Fishing Month (NFM) 2011 has been hailed as a resounding success with more than 300 events taking place across the country attracting over 15,000 participants of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and social profiles.

This year’s events which took place between 16th July to 14th August 2011, got off to a great start with the Professional Anglers Association (PAA) supporting the NFM coaching sessions at the Great Northern Fishing Show at Cudmore Fisheries, near Stoke-on-Trent.  This was closely followed by PAA coaches, regional officers from the Angling Development Board (ADB) and coaches from Community Angling Regeneration Project (CARP) teaching over 250 people of all ages and backgrounds at the prestigious CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock.

Throughout the 2011 initiative, event organisers have been breaking their own year on year participant attendance records.  For example, Nick Watkins, PAA Coach and ADB regional officer for Essex, reported that in 2010 – the total numbers for his six taster sessions came to just over 400, yet this year – numbers rose sharply to over 700.

Les Webber, from Angling Projects, who supports the Hillingdon Council in organising NFM events each year, was also delighted that participant numbers grew from 1,000 in 2010 to more than 1,200 across two events this year.

Organisers put the increase in participant numbers down to better organisation and promotion both in national and regional media awareness arranged by themselves with the help of supporting NFM press releases.

NFM endorser and decathlete medallist Dean Macey, demonstrated his commitment to National Fishing Month by attending the winners’ competition day held at Mill Barn Fishery in Essex run by owner, Graham Jenner.  Seven lucky winners were picked randomly from NFM participants and invited to fish with Dean and a number of coaches to learn about pole, carp, waggler and feeder fishing. Big fish were caught and there were a lot of smiles, particularly when at the end of the day, the youngsters were each handed a huge selection of fishing tackle along with the Go-Catch fishing game that raises funds for the Angling Trust.

Naidre Werner, Angling Trades Association Chair and NFM Project Manager, commented: “The list of people to thank for their help and support is extensive. It is my pleasure to acknowledge the hard work and the time that the organisers, coaches and fishery owners give to support NFM.  Much of their time and fishery pegs are given free of charge so that this initiative can encourage new people into our sport.  They really are the unsung heroes in all of this.”
“I am also grateful to the Environment Agency for its continuous financial support and tackle manufacturers – such as Leeda, Maver, Tricast, Hopkins and Holloway, Daiwa, Marukyu and Fladen – who always contribute products every year, without fail.”
“Throughout his endorsement, Dean Macey has been helpful, approachable and someone with whom it has been very easy to work.  In fact, we have been so impressed with Dean’s enthusiasm that we have asked him to be the celebrity NFM endorser for NFM 2012, and he’s agreed.”
For anyone interested in organising an event for National Fishing Month 2012, next year’s initiative will run between 20th July and the 27th August. The slightly extended period has been scheduled deliberately to encompass more of the school holidays and the August Bank Holiday period. It means that next year, fishery owners, angling coaches and retailers will have a longer time period to be able to initiate, organise and support events in their areas.