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Get Fishing Blog

Fishing saved my life

We received this awesome feedback from Leigh, who was referred to one of our Get Fishing courses by his local Mental Health Trust. The headline says it all, but if you or anybody you know are struggling with your mental health but don’t know how to get into fishing, simply contact one of our Regional Angling Development Officers or drop us a line and we’ll get you started!

Hello Angling Trust,

I just had to message to say that I’ve just completed a 10-week Mental Health and Wellbeing fishing programme in conjunction with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust and coaching from The Angling School.

It has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had… because I very much needed it.

I suffer from depression and CPTSD. Long story short, I lost my love of fishing. Hardly been last 8 years. As it’s impossible for me to get therapy on the NHS for the foreseeable future I desperately needed something as the world was getting dark.

An activities coordinator at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust invited me to take part in this programme. I snatched his hand off. And I’m so glad I did.

Fishing is one of the best experiences I ever had
it’s saved my life

The programme has reignited my passion for angling and has become my therapy. I’ve even managed to get out and cast a line or two on my own, which would have been impossible before the programme because I’d lost myself.

I’m not cured – not by a long way – but fishing with a great bunch, good friendly banter and us all catching a few fish has been the most fun I’ve had in as long as I can remember.

I’ve rediscovered my fishing gear. I’m going through my terminal tackle, forgetting what I’ve bought. I even purchased the same rigs I was using on the program, and have already used them with great success!

To say it’s saved my life sounds so ridiculously over dramatic – but it really has.

Paul Ashfield via his Angling School led the programme and he was so good with us all. Patient, understanding and extremely knowledgeable. I’m not just a better person I’m a better fisherman because of him and I can’t thank him enough. It turns out he can duck when needed too!

Just thought I needed to tell you guys this.


(AKA ‘The Strike Master’!)

Want to find out how going fishing can help your mental health and wellbeing, or that of someone you know? Check out our Get Fishing for Wellbeing programme:
Anyone who has been fishing will know how beneficial angling is at boosting mental health and wellbeing. Find advice and links on how to start fishing and a list of Angling Trust ‘Get Fishing for Wellbeing – Approved’ delivery partners local to you. The Angling Trust is championing these quality assured organisations to Health Service Professionals and Social Prescribing Link Workers so that people with mental health and wellbeing needs can be prescribed consistently high-quality angling activity.

This blog was first published on World Mental Health Day 2023


Thanks to Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust for supporting this work:

Leigh went fishing with The Angling School:
[email protected]

Leigh went fishing at Oakham Farm
Oakham Farm, Loxley, Warwick, CV35 9HY

At the end of the 10-week fishing course Leigh had achieved a Get Fishing Award

We’ve developed the Get Fishing Awards to help beginner anglers on the first steps of their angling journey – from the unforgettable excitement of catching that first fish, right through to becoming a more experienced angler who can set up tackle, safely return fish and have the correct Environment Agency fishing licence. You can’t easily fit all of this into a short ‘taster session’ so we’ve created a simple three-step programme to discover what angling is all about. Find out more at:


Get Fishing is the Angling Trust’s campaign to get more people fishing more often. Each year we run hundreds of events for all ages and abilities. Get Fishing angling events are for anyone who wants to get into fishing, get back into angling or find out where to go fishing, who to go fishing with, what to use to start fishing and how to go fishing for the first time.

The Angling Trust’s ‘Get Fishing’ campaign is proudly supported by
Shakespeare, Exclusive Tackle Partner and Angling Direct, Exclusive Retail Partner
as we all work towards getting more people fishing, more often.

The Get Fishing campaign to get more people fishing more often is funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Angling Trust, and Sport England. Children under 13 do not need a licence, and licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free but you still need to register and receive a licence in order to go fishing. You can get a licence for the full year, for 8 days (ideal for holidays!) or just a day’s fishing.

NOTE: Although young children who are under 13 year old do not need a licence to fish, the person supervising them needs the proper fishing licence to take hold of the rod or to help the child fish with it.

Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 free of charge or find other ways to get in touch at

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