Saturday, 04 July 2020

Anglers return to fishing lakes as river is ‘closed’

ANGLERS in the Henley area are pleased that restrictions aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus have been lifted.

Last week, fishing was added to the list of recreational activities which are permitted by the Government as long as the regular social distancing measures are observed.

This doesn’t yet affect the River Thames because the annual “closed” season, in which coarse fishing on canals and rivers is off-limits, came into effect on March 15 and will not finish until June 16. However, many anglers have gone back to fishing lakes and ponds outside the area and say they are pleased that the season and its associated competitions will go ahead as planned.

Paul Radford, secretary of the Shiplake and Binfield Heath Angling Club, has already enjoyed a weekend session at Theale Fisheries.

He said: “We were always very optimistic that we’d be able to enjoy our hobbies again and there’s a wonderful anticipation building up to the season opening on the rivers.

“It will be wonderful to be able to go back out on our beautiful stretch of the river. The great thing about fishing is that social distancing is one of the reasons for doing it in the first place. It makes you feel more at one with nature and you can enjoy the wildlife and the weather.”

Julian Humm, secretary of Benson and District Angling Society, said: “I was always convinced that it was safe to go fishing as long as you abided by the usual social distancing regulations.

“Fishing’s a solitary sport by its very nature. You’re 20m away from anyone else in a competition and even when you stop and chat you’re no closer than you would be talking with someone in the street. I’m glad it’s allowed again because it seemed like an ideal opportunity to get outside safely.”

Ian Chaplin, captain of Remenham Angling Society, said: “We were quite confident that the restrictions would be eased enough to allow us to fish by the time our season began and we hadn't made plans to cancel the season but were obviously prepared to do so if it were a necessity.

“Most members I've spoken to are relieved that things are moving forward and are looking forward to getting back on the bank in due course.”

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