New anglers flock to UK fishing festivals

Fishing events in the UK report great turnouts as the sport welcomes 100,000 new anglers (government figures). Organisers of two fishing events in September say they were packed out with both new and experienced anglers.

Thames Tidefest hosted 40 top anglers competing in the annual Tidefest Championship in London. Now in its seventh year, supported by water company Thames Water and brewery Fuller’s, visitors were also able to see the range of fish that now live in the tidal Thames, which flows through the capital. Species caught include sea trout, mullet, smelt, bream, chub, dace and some high quality roach.


It’s a festival of all aspects of the Thames, including history, watersports and event fish. According to the organisers, the wide range of fish now present in the river illustrate what a diverse fishery the Thames has become following years of investment in cleaning up the sewage discharges that once rendered this famous river as ‘biologically dead’. Surveys by the UK government’s Environment Agency indicate 127 different species of fish now live from the tidal limit to the Thames Estuary. The river will be further improved when Thames Water opens the Tideway Tunnel in 2025, removing nearly all storm water discharges which have caused repeated problems.

Meanwhile, the first Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival took place on 4-6 September 2020 on the English South Coast in Chichester, Hayling and Thorny Island, with 60 anglers taking part. Perfect weather and excellent fishing saw bass, mullet, garfish, mackerel and even a dover sole landed on the fly. Winning species ranged from a 53cm thick-lipped mullet to a 66cm garfish. Prizes included Orvis’s Helios 3 rod, Clearwater rod and new Recon rod.

Four guides held classes for beginners and veteran anglers, covering a range of different saltwater fly fishing tactics


Orvis UK head of marketing Brian Campbell-Kearsey says: “After what has been a difficult year for everyone, our team are happy to have successfully hosted a safe and social event for anglers who attended to practice, learn more and make new friends in the fly fishing community.”

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