The mental health and wellbeing benefits of fishing are undeniable.

Connecting with nature

The Environment Agency has revealed that over 100,000 more people are fishing, with a boom in rod licence sales by nearly a fifth (17%) compared to the same time in 2019. While the current pandemic has certainly helped the increase in these numbers it has to be said that getting outside and connecting with nature is one way to help reduce stress and anxiety.

In a recent survey from the Angling Trust, it was revealed 99% of survey respondents agreed angling benefits their mental health and wellbeing.

Half of the Angling Trust’s survey respondents say fishing has also allowed them to bond with friends and family post-lockdown whilst remaining at a safe distance due to the nature of the sport. More beginners are also taking up the sport as nearly half (42%) of respondents reported taking someone from their family along with them to try fishing for the first time. For any beginners looking to try it out, the Angling Trust recommends searching “get fishing” online for events in your area and tips on how to get started.

The benefits of fishing to mental health and wellbeing include:

Heidi Stone, Fisheries Manager at the Environment Agency said:

Fishing licence sales have risen to an exceptional high against the last few years and we’re seeing a true revival for the sport as people recognise all it has to offer. As lockdown restrictions have eased there has been a boom in licence sales as now, more than ever, people have a desire to get outdoors and escape their daily stresses.

Fishing is a sport that can be undertaken by a person of any age or ability – or time of the year with the right gear- and it provides a great opportunity for families to try something new together. The Mental Health Foundation has backed the Environment Agency’s call to fish, encouraging the pursuit of outdoor activities like fishing to help people deal with the impact of the pandemic since lockdown restrictions eased.

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Director of the Mental Health Foundation, said:

Growing evidence suggests that spending time in ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces has a very positive effect on our mental health, providing protective and restorative benefits.

Fishing remains one of the most popular outdoor activities in England and it is important for people’s mental health that they can continue to pursue this activity in a safe way both during and after the pandemic. For details on where to find the best places to fish near you visit:

Lucy Handley
November 3, 2020

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