There has been some good news, as DEFRA has announced that “Cabinet Office have now officially confirmed that angling / fishing (incl. sea fishing off private boats, water sports) can be considered exercise and are hence permitted.”
Which sounds excellent, but we must all be aware of the limits. The highly-publicised case of the two ladies fined for travelling five miles to walk at Foremark Reservoir is under review, but there are a number of pointers from this that should give us pause before we set out for the river or lake. And we don’t mean that a cup of peppermint tea may be counted as a picnic!
It looks as if there are two main issues that have not yet been fully explained: time and distance.
While fishing has been clearly identified as a “permitted reason”, Government guidance states:
“You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.”
Bearing in mind our responsibilities to others, what length of session could we reasonably justify under the heading “minimise”? A decent walk for daily exercise may be an hour or two – could we justify more than that?
Further, the government guidance on “local” is fairly restrictive:
“If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.”
This would seem to restrict the vast majority of would-be anglers, unless you happen to live in a town or village with a river or lake within its boundaries.
So until further, more detailed guidance is made available – or indeed test cases establish the new limits – we would suggest that before setting out to fish, you bear in mind these restrictions and examine your conscience as to whether your trip is justified.
The Angling Trust statement on the latest restrictions under Covid-19 is here
Sport England’s FAQ page on the latest lockdown restrictions is here
And the Government guidance may be found here
Hoping that you all keep safe and keep well.