News by Month



Firstly, I hope that you and your families are well and managing through these difficult times.  With the recent good weather, coupled with longer days and a real feeling of spring in the air, I am sure like me you have found not being able to get out on the bank extremely frustrating.  I would therefore like to personally thank you all for continuing to comply with the Government’s lockdown measures and resisting the huge temptation to go out fishing.  As someone who works closely with a large number of NHS staff, I can only reiterate what you hear every night on the news.  Staying at home, following the social distancing measures and regularly washing your hands, really does make a difference and does help to reduce the spread of the virus, protects the NHS and ultimately saves lives.  So please keep it up and please encourage others to do the same.

I am sure that like me, three weeks into this lockdown, you will have cleaned/repaired all of your tackle, remade all of your rigs, tied more hook lengths than you will ever use and watched a lifetimes worth of fishing videos on YouTube.  And like me, you will undoubtedly be counting the days until you can get back out on the bank and so will have felt your heart sink at last nights announcement of an extra three weeks of lockdown. I therefore thought that this would be a good time to let you know what the Federation is doing on your behalf to try to ensure that, when the current restrictions begin to be eased, angling is considered at the earliest stage.

Over the past three weeks I have received numerous emails and texts.  Some admittedly have been about anglers flaunting the rules, but many have been about a wide range of subjects from fly tipping, vandalism, illegally netting and trapping of fish, and an increase in sightings of natural predators; Otters, Cormorants, Goosanders etc, probably due to less anglers being out on the waters.  

Young anglers, vulnerable individuals, and those with physical/mental health needs have been particularly affected by the lockdown and I have had a number of letters and emails from disabled members, for whom their angling is the only time that they manage to get out in the fresh air to exercise and meet to people.  Some of these individuals are clearly finding being isolated in houses and flats extremely difficult and are telling me that they are struggling with loneliness and their mental health.  I would urge everyone to try to keep in touch with all of their angling friends during these difficult times, and particularly those who we know are on their own and potentially isolated. In these days of modern communications we often forget that some older individuals struggle with modern technology and may not be on social media. A phone call or popping a note in the post can make a huge difference.

The position of the few commercial coarse fisheries that we have in Scotland is something that particularly concerns me.  These fisheries are critical to the growth and sustainability of our sport. They are without exception privately or family owned small businesses (many operating as ‘sole traders’) and permit revenue, supplemented by onsite tackle, bait and food sales, is for most the sole source of income. Not only has that income stream dried up, but most are having to buy food for the fish stocks to replace what would normally be introduced via anglers’ bait.  While there are a number of government schemes announced to support small businesses and the self-employed, many fisheries seem to fall between the cracks.   Many of the fisheries also rely on the period between April and the beginning of September to generate the majority of their profit for the year and the longer this lockdown continues the worse the impact will be on the very businesses that provide the facilities that underpin our sport.   But it is not only fisheries that are badly affected. Most tackle shops are also all closed, apart from those with online platforms, and some smaller local shops will undoubtedly be at real risk from the economic impact of this pandemic.  Any loss of shops will not only have a knock on effect for the wider tackle industry but also on the number of new anglers entering the sport.

Clearly, as with every other area of the economy, the angling sector needs to be open if it is to be able to begin the pathway to recovery.  Over the past couple of weeks I have been liaising with partners in Angling Scotland and with the Angling Trust south of the border.  I have written to the Head of Marine Scotland to ask that they be prepared, when the time is right, to support a case to Scottish Ministers that the current restrictions on recreational angling be eased. To my mind, provided that the scientific evidence supports it, that time would be at the next review point on 7 May.  I have also been in contact with the Angling Trust in England who have been doing a huge amount of work putting together a paper and preparing to lobby UK Ministers to similar ends. 

It would be naïve to imaging that we could achieve the lifting of all restrictions and that angling would be able to return to total normality overnight.  The most likely scenario would be a partial easing of the restrictions that allowed individuals to go fishing on their own or in family groups observing the now usual social distancing rules, and then over a period of weeks or months to slowly allow competitions to return with special provisions implemented to ensure that social distancing could be maintained during times when anglers normally congregate; the draw, weigh-in, results etc. 

So what can you do to help?  Well, the first thing is try to support the clubs, shops and fisheries and that you normally use if you can afford to do so.  If you normally join a club, join it.  If the shop you use has an on-line presence, use them, and once the restrictions are eased, go and support your local fishery.  The other thing that I would urge you all to do is to renew your SFCA membership.  It is only £8 per year for adults (that’s 2p per day), £5 per year for Concessions and FREE for under 18s.   When we engage with Scottish Government on your behalf it really helps to get their attention if we can demonstrate that we have the backing of a large and active membership. You can join/renew today at

In closing I would like to thank you for your continued support and look forward to meeting you out on the bank once life returns to normal.  Stay Safe.

Tight Lines,

Gus Brindle, Chairman

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.