How fishing has the younger generation hooked

Fishing may be something associated with the older generation, spending hours sitting by the side of a river or lake with not a lot going on. However, there has been a huge shift in interest with Generation Z - those born between 1997 and 2012 - now more interested in this hobby than ever before.

Angling has the younger generation hooled
Angling has the younger generation hooled

New research from luxury holiday resort Clawford Lakes has found that Google searches for fishing-related keywords saw a 26 percent increase between January and April this year compared to the same period last year.

Keywords such as ‘fishery near me’ seeing a 14,800 average searches a month in the UK.

Niche hobbies such as this are becoming increasingly popular on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok with the latter’s video content regularly clocking up hundreds of thousands of views of fishing videos - posts with the hashtag #CarpFishingUK have garnered more than 166.1 million views on TikTok alone.

Faced with a constant barrage of new apps, games and binge-worthy shows, Gen Z are returning to nostalgic hobbies and retro ways of life to improve their mental health - as well as creating original content for their social media channels.

A recent Samsung poll showed that social media plays a massively influential role in trying new hobbies, with 72 percent of participants saying they were being inspired to take up a new hobby after watching videos on social media networks.

The UK's Environment Agency has a target of getting one million people into fishing and it is reinforcing the messages around the positive mental health benefits fishing has.

Fishing influencer @BevClifford, who has 18,000 followers on her Instagram, started fishing in her mid-20s as a way to relax: “I fish for many reasons but mainly as I love the peace and tranquility of being outdoors and in nature; being by the water while waiting for a fish to bite is so relaxing.

“There is a great social element to angling, I’ve met so many wonderful people and made great memories. It’s been proven that being outside, in nature, and near water has massive benefits for mental health and well being. It’s a friendly, welcoming and enjoyable sport for people of all ages, ability and gender.

Fishing can be incredibly male dominated, but we’re seeing a great shift in the number of women getting into fishing in the past five or so years. A lot more people took their kids fishing throughout the pandemic as well and hopefully the younger generation will continue the hobby and become anglers for life.”

Beginner’s guide to fishing

If you feel inspired by these fishing TikTokers, the fisheries, grounds and leisure manager from Clawford Lakes, Ben Smeeth, provides tips.

1 Fishing in the UK is most commonly broken down into two types; coarse fishing and game fishing.

Coarse fishing is where fish are returned to the water after capture. This is the case for species such as carp, roach and rudd. The focus is on sustainability and preserving the fish’s health.

Coarse fishing is also a relatively inexpensive hobby to get into, with equipment and supplies like tackle being great value for money.

Game fishing is where fish can be caught and taken for the plate.

This applies to species such as trout.

2 What are the essential kit items you need to start fishing?

Try looking for open coaching sessions at fisheries to get some pointers before investing in your own kit. Many fisheries have their own fishing tackle hire available.

Alternatively going to a fishery with a friend who is a seasoned fisher can also be a brilliant place to start.

3 Fishery’s rules vary depending on the site you visit, so it’s important to check what these are before you go fishing.

Tips for beginners:

1 Get a rod fishing license

An essential first step for anyone serious about giving fishing a try is to purchase your fishing license from gov.uk/fishing-licences

2 Visit local tackle shops or fisheries

Anglers are usually willing to help each other out and tackle shops are also a great way of getting some good advice, and meeting people within the community.

3. Keep things simple

Start small and simply get used to catching a few fish so you can get comfortable with how to handle fish and understand how to use the fishing tackle. It's important not to feed too much in one go as the fish will simply get full up and not feed on your hook bait.