More people have been able to enjoy river fishing for the first time thanks to a joint partnership project to enhance access.
The Environment Agency, together with the Broads Authority and the Broads Angling Strategy Group (BASG), used rod licence funds to help install 8 angling platforms and 2 disabled accessible pegs at Worlingham on the River Waveney, Norfolk Broads, in 2012.
Since then, Mark Casto, an Angling Trust licensed level 2 coach, has taken on several new recruits to this section of river for coaching sessions, and his latest students Darcy Palmer and Jason Neil have been reaping the benefits.
Darcy, 14, wanted to learn more about fishing a river but told his coach that he was scared as he could not swim. However following a 2-hour coaching session, he admitted his fear had disappeared as he felt safe and secure on the fishing platform, and now can’t wait to try again.
Jason, 21, wanted to learn more about feeder fishing so undertook a coaching session to learn the basics and improve his casting skills. As he is not comfortable in large crowds, he found the experience of fishing at Worlingham “really peaceful and relaxing”.
Mark said: “Improving access and giving local people a safe place to go fishing and providing coaching brings real benefits to the community and local people. Fishing is a wonderful healthy activity and it can be enjoyed by all ages young and old. As an angling coach having such a wonderful place to take people fishing at is brilliant and the pegs are solid and safe to coach from which is a real bonus.”
Steve Lane, fisheries technical specialist for the EA in the East Anglia area, said: “This showcases the benefits of the rod licence-funded work we do to improve access and angling opportunities for all.”
The riverbank at Worlingham was purchased the EA’s predecessor organisation to ensure some of the best fishing in the area was protected and maintained for the benefit of all.
Two of the pegs (areas divided up for fishing) close to the car park have an easy access surface and are wheelchair accessible.
Funding for the materials was provided by the Broads Authority, with the EA funding the construction work.
Improving access for all is among the objectives in the Broads Angling Strategy, a framework set up to sustain and grow angling in the Broads.
To book a coaching lesson with Mark Casto email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog www.thefishwasbig.blogspot.co.uk
Visit the Broads Angling Strategy Group’s website www.basgonline.org to find out more about all the places you can go fishing.