Calder Valley anglers welcome return of the sport
The Prime Minister announced the resumption of ‘unlimited outdoor sports’ from Wednesday providing they are conducted alone or with members of the same household and that social distancing rules are followed at all times.
A government source confirmed that “outdoor exercise includes angling, golf, water sports and tennis providing social distanced from Wednesday.”
Nick Noble, from Todmorden Angling Society, said: “I think it makes perfect sense for angling to return, it is one of the few sports that is almost completely solitary and at the Todmorden Angling Society all of our fishing stages are set around 15 meters apart so social distancing becomes compulsory, as if you’re not on stage you can’t fish.
“When the news broke last night that we could return to the lakes the club officials phones, emails and social media were red hot with members asking if it was true and what had we decided. It was overwhelming to have 700 members chomping at the bit to get back to the sport we all love.
“The support from our membership has been fantastic, with members coming forward to offer their support, whether it be feeding fish to prevent mortalities, using their permitted daily exercise to go litter picking or offering their time to help with essential maintenance. It is heartwarming to have such a vast amount of people offering support through what could have been a much more difficult period than it was.
“Angling plays a huge part in a lot of people’s lives, in my opinion it borders on being essential for physical and mental health. As secretary of TAS, and a licensed Angling Trust coach, I see first hand how angling works for different people. It offers a plethora of health and well being benefits, a degree of escapism from a busy lifestyle, an opportunity to get back to nature and, should you wish, a competitive avenue.
“Closing the waters through Covid-19 was painful for TAS, we celebrate our 85th anniversary this year so taking a chunk of time fishing away from our members wasn’t easy but, as has been proven, it was absolutely necessary as part of the government lockdown.
“Hopefully Todmorden Angling Society, along with all of the other clubs and fisheries, have weathered the storm and we can all get back to the single most participated sport in the UK, angling.“
John Marshall, from Hebden Bridge Angling Society, said: “It is good that people can once again get out of the house and fishing agin. angling is mainly a solitary sport which is good for the mind. and very relaxing.
“For many anglers it has been hard being stuck inside as I myself are usually out on the bankside fishing four or five times a week.
“The Hebden Bridge Angling Society is having a very hard time. as it saw the main length of the canal once again damaged in the floods with a culvert collapsing once again - it happened in the 2015 floods at the same place.
“During the last few years the club secured grants and matched them with as much of the clubs money that it could afford to restock the length at Mytholmroyd in the hope that it would attract more members thereby saving the club.
“Now with the lockdown we have not had many members joining and once again all the fish were swept into the River Calder so we have to hopefully find money to restock again.
“Anglers are desperate to get back fishing but due to the narrow towpaths many won’t fish the canal due to the social distancing with cyclists, dog walkers and joggers all passing through behind them within less than two metres.
“In places the towpath is a maximum of two metres so it would leave less than one metre for people to pass.
“This again will not help the club get out of the trouble with finances and I fear the worst for a club founded just after the war.”