Getting hooked on fishing

Friends getting buddies to fish thanks to a provincial initiative

A pair of anglers at Elk Lake get ready to cast their lines into the water. A B.C. program aims to get more friends fishing.

A pair of anglers at Elk Lake get ready to cast their lines into the water. A B.C. program aims to get more friends fishing.

The number of people taking up fishing is on the rise in B.C., thanks to a program which encourages experienced anglers to introduce friends and family to the activity.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. launched Fishing Buddies two years ago in response to a drop in the number of people taking up the piscatorial pursuit.

“People said they had a lack of time, gear, skills and knowledge of fishing,” said society spokesperson Margot Briggs.

The program sees people with fishing experience pledge to introduce at least one person to the sport, which is part of an industry that contributes $480 million to the provincial economy, according to a 2005 economic analysis conducted by the society.

The response thus far has surpassed the group’s expectations. “We thought we would get maybe 800 over three years, and we’ve recruited 14,000 already,” said Briggs.

Instead of introducing just one person, participants have each brought an average of 4.5 buddies to the program.

The benefits of angling are many, says Ian McGregor, the society’s vice-president of sportfishing. “It’s relaxation, it’s recreation, it’s peace of mind. It’s time to get together with your family,” he said.

As the program is still in its infancy, not much data has yet been collected about which areas of the province have contributed most to the increase.

The society is doing a survey of current program members. Those results will allow the group to tailor future campaigns to specific geographic regions.

Deadline to register with Fishing Buddies is Oct. 3. To find out more about that program or others, visit www.gofishbc.com.

editor@oakbaynews.com