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Fishing is booming in popularity as people embrace outdoor hobbies

In recent years fishing has experienced a huge growth in popularity with tackle shops reporting booming sales and trip operators filling up their calendars.

So what is it about this sport that appeals to people?

Patrick Ryan of the Killinarden Angling Initiative organizes fishing trips for young people and vulnerable adults; he says the sport has a calming effect on even the most troubled minds:

“We’ve seen a need for a passive sport for young people,” he explained to The Pat Kenny Show.

“We approached the kids, we got a great response and over the first few months of the initiative starting we noticed that it was helping young people with behavioral problems and we noticed that it was working for them… It was keeping them calm.

“After then we went on and we started working with adults who have mental health issues, we work with adults who have addiction problems and then we worked with antisocial behavior – so probation services and young people.

“And it had an absolutely fantastic response.”

Fishing is booming in popularity as people embrace outdoor hobbies

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Scientists have found a proven link between improved mental health and outdoor activities such as hiking and gardening – Patrick says the benefits of fishing are much the same:

“I was never into soccer or sports – until I was introduced to fishing,” he continued.

“It gave me an opportunity to focus but… now when I look back it was the mindfulness thing.

“It was the whole idea of ​​being out in the wilderness and focused on one thing – catching that fish.

“You know it gives them a break away from all that other stuff; get rid of all the problems, don’t think about it and go fishing.”

Fresh sardines on ice for sale at a fish market stall, Marseille, France

Mary Harkin owns Rory’s Fishing Tackle Shop in Temple Bar and attributes the sport’s booming popularity to a change in people’s priorities since the pandemic:

“We’ve seen a big increase now – especially in the pandemic,” she says.

“People working from home have a bit more time on their hands… It’s a bit like hill walking, that’s become a rage.

“And I think the great thing about fishing is that you’re kind of in the great outdoors and especially a lot of people get in a good headspace, clear the head, fresh air, see wildlife, get out and about.

“So it’s very good.”

’20 mackerels for breakfast’

Out in Dún Laoghaire one fisherman told Newstalk he had fond memories of fishing in the town as a child:

“I grew up on mackerel and lobster and crab,” he recalled.

“What more could you want for nothing?

“We used to come down here with nothing at six o’clock in the morning and we’d get little bits of gut and we’d tie it together and you’d find the hook and if you were lucky you’d go home with 20 mackerels for your breakfast.”

Another man had some blunt advice about what was needed for anyone hoping to be a successful fisherman:

“Patience,” he said.

“Lots of patience [and] dress for all sorts of weather, be prepared – be prepared to catch nothing and if you catch something it’s a bonus!”

Main image: A father with his two sons fishing at the end of a wharf on Lake Audy at sunset, Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada.

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