Is fishing the perfect social distancing sport?
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Suffolk’s anglers have expressed their delight as the relaxation of the lockdown measures mean they can once again return to the banks.
From yesterday anglers have seen restrictions ease as the Government’s rules on outdoor pursuits changed.
Under the guidelines, people can fish on their own, with members of their household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules.
Angling clubs in the county have been busy putting new rules in place with many asking members to stay 15 metres away from each other at all times in line with new Angling Trust guidance.
Mike Topliss, chairman at Framlingham & District Angling Club, said he was pleased by the Government’s rule changes, and said it would be easy for members to practice social distancing.
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“It’s always been a socially distant sport,” said Mr Topliss. “You are lucky to see anyone about.”
Mr Topliss said he had been out yesterday morning to visit some of the lakes looked after by the club and found only a few people fishing.
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“I think they will be pleased to get out of their houses and do something else,” he said.
Barry Reid, chairman of the Southwold and District Freshwater Angling Preservation Society, also approved of the Government’s change in guidance on angling.
“I think they have been sensible,” said Mr Reid.
“It’s one of the few sports where you want to be isolated from other people.”
Mr Reid said that there were other benefits for people who were now able to go out fishing.
“There’s more to fishing than just fishing,” said Mr Reid.
“It’s very good for mental wellbeing and there’s the exercise of walking with all the gear.”
Mr Reid said that the society would be introducing a range of measures when its main site at Reydon re-opened in a few weeks time including the cancelling of day ticket purchases and the closing off of some areas of the site where social distancing couldn’t be enforced.
“We are actively working on getting everything ready,” said Mr Reid.
Angling Trust Chief Executive Jamie Cook said: “Fishing delivers huge benefits to physical health, mental wellbeing, active lifestyles and our economy. Angling has shown the value of coming together as a community to speak coherently and professionally at the highest level with a single voice.”