UK trade body welcomes Take a Friend Fishing extension
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Take a Friend Fishing (TAFF) is back. The UK campaign to capitalise on the enthusiasm to try fishing during COVID-19 has been extended to run from August 14th to October 4th.
The Angling Trades Association (ATA), the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust have combined to create the opportunity for rod licence holders to register for a free one-day licence for a friend during the period.
The first two-week window of TAFF at the beginning of June was a huge success, attracting more new anglers than any previous running of the long-standing event.
With licence sales booming since angling restrictions were lifted, TAFF is seen as an ideal initiative to boost participation still further. “The decision by the Environment Agency to extend TAFF cannot be underestimated,” said Andrew Race, who was appointed Chairman of the ATA earlier this year.
“It reflects the cooperative potential and commitment to angling that now exists between the major stakeholders. I would urge the trade as a whole to look at what we are achieving and support this initiative.”
The ATA is also encouraging non-anglers not to wait to be invited, but to ask an angler they know to take them fishing.
Kevin Austin, Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency, said: “The success of the recent relaunch of TAFF and the increase in licence sales since the lockdown period has shown the enthusiasm that exists. So we are extending the free one-day licence offer so that we can grow our angling community even more.”
The timing of the scheme’s second phase means it will cover all angling disciplines for some part of their season. Fly company Orvis UK is planning some events to encourage people to introduce their friends to fly fishing.
The announcement has been welcomed by the UK trade. “Everyone involved in the angling industry realises the magnitude of the current situation,” said Matt Woods, Brand Manager at Korum. “Anglers are fishing more often, lapsed fishermen are returning and the wave of new anglers is momentous.
“These remarkable times are providing a unique insight into how many anglers there could be. We have all dreamed of these numbers and our focus must now shift to retaining them. The extension of TAFF is superb news as it breaks down one of the barriers to engaging with the sport.”
Ali Hamidi, of Korda/Guru, believes the scheme will really make a difference to peoples’ lives. “Every major brand and all anglers should do their bit from August 14th,” he said.