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Angling Trust

Take a Friend Fishing is back! Give the gift of fishing this Christmas. 2020

Press Release
For Immediate Release
14th December 2020

Take a Friend Fishing is back! Give the gift of fishing this Christmas.

  • Take a Friend Fishing will return at Christmas, giving even more people the chance to get out fishing.
  • Due to its massive success throughout 2020, Take a Friend Fishing is back for the Christmas holidays.
  • Between the 19th December to 10th January (inclusive), existing fishing licence holders can register for a FREE one-day fishing licence from the Environment Agency at to take someone they know fishing.

December and January are a fantastic time of year to get outdoors and enjoy some time next to the water. Taking a friend or family member for a ‘socially distanced fishing trip’ is the ideal opportunity to catch-up at Christmas.

Immersing oneself in the English countryside is a great way to relax and lower the stress level during what can be a busy time of year for many people. Angling is the perfect fit for staying active outdoors, and with physical activity playing a vital role in both our physical and mental wellbeing, a fishing trip with a mate or family member means you can stay active, and fish safely. This is possible even during periods of tough restrictions as long as you follow the latest guidelines on the Angling Trust Support Hub at

At this time of year there are still loads of fisheries, lakes, stretches or river and canal open all over the country that are perfect to visit even in colder weather, and a catch-up with a friend can easily be combined with a quick ‘Take a Friend Fishing trip’.

Registering for a free one-day fishing licence couldn’t be easier. Simply visit, select the date of your fishing trip, enter some basic info about you and your friend, and away you go!

The free fishing licence will be sent with a confirmation email, so please remember to have the angler’s fishing licence and both people’s email addresses ready when you register.

The Take a Friend Fishing campaign is a partnership between the Angling Trades Association, the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust – it’s designed to give more people the chance to get into fishing.

Relaunched in 2020, over 4,000 people have already taken part in Take a Friend Fishing this year alone! A great sign that angling is as popular as ever, and still just as easy to get into, especially with a friend to show you how.

Clive Copeland, Head of Participation at the Angling Trust, said “We are so pleased to be able to team up again with the Environment Agency and Angling Trades Association, to bring Take a Friend Fishing back for the holidays. After what for many has been such a difficult year, we know that anglers will want to show others why fishing has been a stressbuster and spread the message that angling is good for you. A free licence to take a friend fishing this festive period could be just the ticket to make an unforgettable fishing trip that becomes part of your Christmas or New Year memories.”

Graeme Storey, Fisheries Manager at the Environment Agency, said “The Take A Friend Fishing scheme has been a huge success, we are really pleased to see it return for a third time. With the pressures of coronavirus, more people have been looking for ways to reconnect with nature and their loved ones in a way that is safe, healthy and fun. We hope our angling community seizes on the opportunity to give the gift of fishing this Christmas!”.

Andrew Race who recently took over as Chairman of the Angling Trades Association (ATA), added “After more than 30 years in the industry, there is more potential for angling now than I have ever seen. Our own AGM this week will focus heavily on the industry’s support for our angling initiatives and providing the correct tackle and information pathways for trade and retailers to engage with anyone wanting to give angling a go. Long-term plans for cooperation with all major stakeholders are now well underway. These are exciting times for angling.”

The new Take a Friend Fishing offer runs from December 19th to January 10th. That means that during the festive period there are four weekends to take a friend fishing, including Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year – traditional dates for a get-together, this year in the right tier or bubble – be sure to check the latest online Government guidance first.

For more information and to get a free one-day fishing licence to Take a Friend Fishing, fishing licence holding anglers just need to go to and provide some simple contact details including their fishing licence number and the date of the fishing trip. This will notify their friend who, after checking their details are correct, will be able to go fishing with the fishing licence holder on the selected day using their own free one-day fishing licence.

Angling can still be practiced safely and has seen a boom in participation numbers after being one of the first sports to return on 13th May after lockdown guidelines were relaxed. The Angling Trust – the national representative and governing body for angling in England, regularly updates its guidelines to anglers, clubs, fisheries, coaches and other angling organisations to ensure fishing can comply with the latest Government guidance during the Covid-19 epidemic.

Follow the rules for your local area:
Find out what tier your area is in and what the local restrictions are:

Follow guidance on Christmas and New Year activities:
Guidance for the Christmas period about meeting friends and family, travel and New Year:

#takeafriendfishing #getfishing

Social Media:
Twitter: @AnglingTrust
Instagram: @getintofishing

Media Contact: James Roche – [email protected] 07791 786 251

Image: Courtesy of iCARP – ‘Investigating Countryside and Angling Research Projects’ researches how being active outdoors can lessen PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress and re-adjustment to work and society after armed service Read more about iCARP at

Notes for editors:
Take a Friend Fishing is a partnership between the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and Angling Trades Association. The campaign focuses on making it as easy as possible for an existing angler to take someone they know fishing. It is part of the Get Fishing campaign run by the Angling Trust the national representative and governing body for angling in England. This work is supported by Environment Agency fishing licence income and helps to introduce thousands of people to fishing each year.

You should always follow social distancing guidelines when encountering others. The most up-to-date information on these restrictions can be found at

The Environment Agency funds the Angling Trust to provide more opportunities for people to go fishing and encourage sales of fishing rod licences. Money from fishing licence sales is spent on improving fisheries habitat and angling infrastructure through projects like the Angling Improvement Fund.

You normally need a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence if you are aged 13 or over and fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England (except the River Tweed), Wales, and the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland.  An annual licence only costs £30 for up to 2 rods to fish for coarse fish & trout. Concessionary, short term and three rod coarse licences are also available. Visit to buy one online.

The Angling Trades Association (ATA) is the voice of the British Angling industry, aiming to unite the industry, promote and protect our loved sport. The ATA represents angling manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, fisheries, publishers, and distributors.

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