VIDEO: Gloucestershire fishing shop is angling for younger customers
By Laura Enfield and Mark Owen | 26th May 2023
A Gloucestershire fishing shop has been angling for business amongst the younger generation.
Jon Finch has run Bankside Tackle for almost 20 years and has started handing out free gear to encourage beginners to help stop the sport from dying out.
Traditionally a hobby passed down by grandads, it was once one of the biggest pastimes in the UK with 3 million licences sold annually. The latest government figures show only 934,760 were sold between April 2021 and March 2022.
Jon, who started the business in 2004, said: "Over the years we have lost quite a few anglers.
"There are no young anglers coming in. So every time we do get one in I try and give them a bit of free kit or something to keep them fishing.
"There is a big push for female anglers at the moment. My daughter is just glued to her phone though."
Despite its popularity waning overall, the peaceful pastime saw a massive renaissance during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As people began casting about for a hobby that fit the Government's social distancing criteria, 100,000s of them turned to fishing.
Jon said: "I have never seen anything like it. One minute you are in a lockdown thinking 'what happens now?'
"The next thing we had to turn the online marketing off because we were getting so many orders in, we couldn't cope.We had people queuing up to get in."
His shop in Highfield Business Park off Tewkesbury Road, is an Aladdin's cave of everything you could possibly want to do with angling. It stocks brands such as Free Spirit, Delkim, Fox, Ridgemonkey, Shimano, Daiwa, Guru and Korda.
While it is known for specialising in Carp angling, the family-run business has expanded over the years into the Barbel, Match and Predator sectors and now claims to be Gloucestershire's largest fishing tackle store with a thriving mail order business as well.
Jon, who won the British Carp Angling Championships 2008 using his own range of baits, said: "We pride ourselves on our team who are all very experienced named anglers in their field and are more than willing to offer advice if needed.
"We also have our own in store Rod Builder who is on hand to help from the the smallest of repairs to a complete new rod build."
He added: "At the moment it's a little bit quiet. I think people are being very careful with their money.
"But we are approaching the river season on June 16 with more and more people coming in every week."
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