South Holland angling club sees numbers of participants grow in recent months
Fishing clubs in and near South Holland are seeing a haul of new interest since the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Clubs in Holbeach and Tydd Gote have reported a rise in numbers at matches and open days of between 20 and per cent during the last four months.
The trend matches figures released by the Environment Agency on Thursday which showed that fishing licence sales in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire (there are no figures for the county alone) jumped by more than 18 per cent in July this year, compared to the same month in 2019.
Alan Palmer, secretary/treasurer for Holbeach and District Angling Club, said: "We've sold out of club books, which is the licence to fish our waters, this year and we've never had that before.
"It's really taken off and a 20 per cent rise in sales of our fishing books is about the right figure.
"When you walk along the riverbanks, some of the people fishing are taking up the sport for the first time, while others have been in lockdown and so there's nothing else for them to do.
"Some of these people have been fishing in the past, given it up and then started fishing again.
"We're getting all sorts of people and we want to see the new interest."
John Burton, secretary of Tydd Gote Angling Club, said: "There definitely has been more people fishing this year than in previous years.
"Even before the fishing season had started in March, we'd sold 400 pounds worth of fishing books in a matter of months.
"Our club matches have gone up from 15 entrants last year to between 25 and 30 this year for a couple of matches.
"Even the club matches have swelled by almost 50 per cent, with a mix of those people who have got back into fishing and some who we've never seen before."
Norm Robinson, the Environment Agency's area director for Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, said: "Fishing was one of the first sports to have lockdown restrictions eased and we saw an immediate upturn in licence sales across Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire where figures were 18 per cent higher in July than for the same time last year.
"This is great news as the income from rod licences will fund even more work to improve our local rivers, not just for anglers, but for everyone who wants to enjoy the benefits being closer to nature offers for our physical and mental wellbeing.
"It also enables us and our partners to maintain, improve and develop fisheries, fish habitats and angling, provide benefits to people and wildlife, combat illegal fishing and protect fish from environmental incidents."