"Rethink needed to get kids fishing" says Keith Arthur following the inaugural Sussex Marine Region meeting

Tight Lines presenter Keith Arthur has used his weekly Angling Times column to comment on the first Angling Trust Sussex Marine region meeting he attended on November 13th. The meeting was set up in the wake of the successful Bexhill Sea Angling Festival and attracted over 30 sea anglers from along the South Coast. Here are some comments from his article:

“Following the success of the inaugural Bexhill Sea Angling Festival where local anglers backed by the Angling Trust turned the council’s attitude towards beach fishing on its head, I was part of a panel invited to the towns angling club to take part in a forum, with a view to spreading the Angling Trust message.”

“My own views are that sea fishing needs a radical rethink to get more juniors involved, after all wielding a long stiff beach rod and casting 150g of lead towing a complex rig into the wind and surf is a pretty demanding and physical feat. I think the current trend of very light lure fishing – LRF and HRF – is definitely the way.”

“.......90% of his (the local tackle shop’s) sea customers go fishing for the pot. If they don’t have the opportunity to catch sizable edible fish, they simply won’t go.

That really has me worried for the sport because if the cod don’t turn up in winter, the plaice in spring and Bass in summer, it’s game over.”

“Who knows, where carp have “save” coarse fishing, the big reservoirs made fly fishing available to so many more anglers, maybe those little rubber ragworms, flimsy rods and miniature reels will be what helps shore fishing turn the corner”

Meeting organiser and Sussex Angling Media publisher Tim Macpherson commented “It was certainly a very lively discussion and I think it got a lot of anglers thinking which is what Keith Arthur is really good at.

The Angling Trust Sussex Marine Region is now preparing an initiative to recruit and train young anglers which would be fantastic because we need get more young people fishing - there are many hurdles to overcome before this can become a reality but the team are working on it.

Sea Anglers have got to learn that they can’t just sit by and expect others to help their sport when they won’t get motivated and do it themselves – while there are many sea anglers in Sussex who are “doing” it is very localised and there is no external support for the great work they do.”

Last year Eastbourne angling clubs held a Fish for Kids a one day angling competition which attracted 80 kids and their parents on to the beaches on a chilly March day. It was, by all accounts, such a success that next year’s is already being organised and the Angling Trust is now planning to help clubs replicate this in other towns along the Sussex Coast.