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UK retail giant calls on industry to back participation initiative

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Stewart Downing, Group Commercial Manager at Angling Direct: Calling on businesses to help ‘preserve the future of our sport’.

Retail giant, Angling Direct, has called on the UK tackle industry to support its efforts to attract more people into fishing.

As reported on this website two weeks ago, the chain gave away 6,600 ready-to-fish Garbolino whip kits to under 16-year-olds last summer as part of its ‘Get Into Fishing’ initiative.

A further 1,027 kits, plus Fjuka 2in1 bait packs, were given away in October, followed by 615 kits and Fjuka bait packs at Christmas.

The Norfolk-based company, which opened its 35th store earlier this month, has also launched an Angling Coach Development Programme and is working to improve access to fisheries.

“It is my firm hope that many others in the industry will join us in these or similar initiatives to help preserve the future of our sport together,” said Stewart Downing, Group Commercial Manager at Angling Direct.

The Fjuka packs were donated by David Preston, founder of Preston Innovations, who has made it clear that attracting more people into fishing is key to his strategy. Other bait suppliers have pledged support for the Angling Direct programme later this year. 

“As regards coaching, our aim is to give full access to a qualified level two angling coach in each of our stores,” added Downing. “This will provide would-be anglers with the knowledge and support they need to take that first step into angling. 

“This is often cited as a barrier to getting into fishing; the traditional view being that customer experience can be rather daunting to newcomers.

“We want to break down these barriers and, as part of this process, we are investing significant resource into improving access to fisheries by working closely with fishery owners and managers in each region.”

Angling Direct currently has 13 fully qualified level two coaches from last year’s course, plus 17 pre-existing level one coaches who will be put through level two this year. It also has candidates for its newest stores.

Downing is a board member of the Angling Trades Association (ATA), which is treating falling participation numbers in the UK as a priority and is examining ways to check and reverse the trend. “

Filed In: Product News