National Fishing Month (NFM) continues to set the benchmark for fishing participation initiatives following the introduction of nearly 13,000 new people to angling this summer. They took part in a nationwide schedule of 330 special NFM events – a new record - held across six weeks during July, August and September 2017. One of the first weekend’s events was especially organised to run alongside the Basildon Carnival Festival held at Northlands Park in Basildon, Essex, where coarse angling coaches offered sessions on the lake in the park, alongside pond dipping and rigtying clinics. The NFM silver jubilee successes continued through the remainder of July and into August at hundreds more events nationwide. The highlight of second weekend of NFM took place at The Game Fair, held this year at Hatfield House. Over 500 riverside coaching sessions were delivered by members of the Professional Anglers Association (PAA) and the Game Angling Instructors’ Association (GAIA). There were many smiling faces as firsttime anglers caught some outstanding fish, including carp and pike. One of the final events took place at the Evesham Festival where, despite the typically unpredictable British bank holiday weather, the team still managed to coach more than 200 people on the banks of the Warwickshire Avon. Whereas the experienced anglers fishing the major competition that weekend struggled to make decent catches, PAA coaches and the participants were having a great time catching big pike, carp and bream. Naidre Werner, chairman of the Angling Trades Association (ATA) which runs NFM, commented: “I’m delighted with the results from this year’s silver jubilee celebrations. We continue to owe a debt of gratitude to the enthusiastic, loyal support of the voluntary organisers and coaches who actually plan and deliver the events every year. It’s down to their hard work that the sport is exposed to so many people. They are the ones who build initiatives like NFM and recruit the next generation of anglers to our wonderful sport. “We are also grateful for the funding support that we receive from the Environment Agency, as well as the regional and national support from the Angling Trust, the Professional Anglers Association and Angling Cymru. For 2017 we have continued to enjoy outstanding support with over 100 of events organised by the Canal and River Trust. Working together we have achieved these fantastic results.” This year, NFM benefited from continued headline sponsorship from Daiwa, Leeda and Pure Fishing and also physical help in facilitating support to the organisers from Fosters of Birmingham and Fishing Republic. Outstanding support has also come from manufacturers such as Dinsmores, Fladen, Fox, Korda, Middy, Svendson and Tricast, retailer Angling Direct - which donated nearly £3,000 through its ‘Bag for Life’ scheme - and publishers, including Angling Times and Angler’s Mail. Naidre added: “They have all demonstrated the admirable virtue of ‘putting something back into angling’, and I applaud them.”
Pure Fishing has launched a stunning array of products across its brand portfolio, with exciting new gear from Hardy, Greys, Chub, JRC, Shakespeare, Mitchell, Abu Garcia, Penn, Berkley and Spiderwire. With over 1,200 new products added, there is something for all retailers, whether carp, sea, coarse or game orientated. Speaking to T&G at the firm’s Tamworth trade show, John Henderson, sales director for the company, said: “The product managers have pulled out all of the stops to create some ground-breaking products across the brands. “We are showcasing these to the dealers at the trade shows now – with consumer promotions to follow throughout 2018.” Though tight-lipped about the exact promotion, T&G understands that the company will be undertaking a highprofile approach to the consumer, with a huge in-store presence as well as promotion through the usual channels. Highlights of the trade show include a new high-end range of carp rods from Greys. The Xlerate range will be a shade under £400 and are stunningly attractive and packed full of the features you would expect in this price bracket. They are available in cork, duplon and Japanese shrink wrap versions. Using 3M’s proprietary Powerlux nano resin carbon, Greys has produced what it describes as its best carp rod ever. John continued: “The use of Powerlux in the Xlerate blanks enables us to make them lighter, stronger and more responsive. The technology utilises nano-sized spherical particles which form between individual carbon fibres providing a dense matrix throughout the blank. The result is increased sensitivity, resilience and strength. We expect the Xlerate range of rods to be a big hit with end-users in 2018.”
Sales of junior fishing licences across England and Wales, have increased by 25.7 per cent from 2016/17.
The fishing licence, which is now free for 12 to16 year olds, shows figures increased from 52,117 at the end of 2016/17 to 65,487 as of 21 August 2017.
The figures will be welcomed by the trade, which had previously shown a massive decline in the amount of youngsters going fishing.
The rise in sales figures was helped by last year’s changes to fishing licences which included making them free to anyone aged 12 to16.
Kevin Austin, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “Children today have a wealth of technology at their fingertips, and coupled with the costs parents face, it’s easy to see why fewer children are enjoying outdoor activities. We’re really pleased to see that a growing number of young people are taking up the offer of a free junior licence, helping them to enjoy the great outdoors and this great sport.
“Today’s children are the anglers of tomorrow. It’s important we attract them to the sport early and offering a free fishing licence is one way to achieve that. Not only does fishing offer great health and educational benefits, angling generates over £1 billion for the UK economy and creates over 37,000 full time jobs.” The free junior fishing licence is made possible as a result of income generated from adult fishing licence holders.
Fosters of Birmingham has been sold to Angling Direct for £3 million.
The acquisition brings Angling Direct’s store count to 17, with a further store planned to be opened in Slough later this month.
In the year to 31st March 2017, Fosters generated revenues of circa £5.9 million and an operating profit before tax of around £460,000, with net assets of about £1.1 million. Within net assets is the freehold property of the Fosters store, which has been recently valued at £500,000.
The latest purchase increases Angling Direct's presence in the Midlands, together with its Halesowen and Willenhall stores.
Following completion of the acquisition, Mark Foster, will remain with the company for a few weeks to ensure a smooth handover, and Richard Foster (pictured), will continue to work in the business on a part-time basis.
Darren Bailey, CEO of Angling Direct, commented: "Fosters is a long-established and very successful business with a loyal customer base and knowledgeable team. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing from day one and validates Angling Direct's longterm strategy - to consolidate the
fishing tackle market whilst expanding our business through acquisition. "We look forward to working closely and supporting the Fosters team with the integration over the coming months."
Angling Direct currently sells over 21,500 fishing tackle products. The Company also owns and sells fishing tackle products under its own brand 'Advanta', which was formally launched in March 2016.