SKIPTON Angling Association, in partnership with The Angling Trust, is encouraging children to take up fishing.

The initiative, titled 'Getting Kids into Fishing', started with educating youngsters from Skipton-based children's charity SELFA about angling during winter classroom sessions.

The group hopes to increase its younger membership via the initiative, and to make full use of their waters, including the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, Whinnygill Reservoir, Skipton, and Embsay Reservoir.

The fortnightly classroom sessions have enabled 12 to 16-year-olds to learn about different aspects of angling, including fish identification, types of bait, methods of angling, fish welfare and more.

At the beginning of April these sessions led to a fishing trip.

The children involved caught many fish at a coarse fishery, delighting the children themselves and also the qualified coaches, the association's volunteer members and fishermen from the area who volunteered to help.

The association has benefited from grant funding courtesy of The Angling Trust and other sources.

The funds were used to purchase tackle sufficient to equip the youngsters, as well as to fund the training of coaches.

It is hoped that the scheme will be extended to local schools.

The association also wishes to support Social Prescribing from GP practices in the area, on the grounds that angling is a good way of getting people into the countryside, and the evidence of its positive impact on those suffering from mental health issues.

In the words of one member: "Fishing washes your brain out!"

The association also collaborates with Scout groups to assist members in earning angling proficiency badges.

Members of the association, many of them veteran anglers, have offered their time, skills and money to aid with trips.

Some have also volunteered to become qualified coaching trainers to help the programme flourish.

One of the youngsters participating in the initiative said: "I’ve got some birthday money I haven’t spent, and I’m going to buy a fishing kit so my dad and I can go fishing which would be great!"

A spokesperson for SELFA said: "From a position of not knowing how this venture would appeal to our youngsters, we’ve been frankly astonished at how they have taken to the course."

The association is arranging introductory days for fly casting and fishing on the Embsay Reservoir, to which it has the fishing rights, on May 18 and September 14.

More information can be found on the association's website at