ATA’s plans to boost angling representation and rebuild the angling village at The Game Fair finally came to fruition over the weekend of July 28th to 30th, with the inaugural Get Into Fishing event at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.
Get into Fishing (GIF) also provided the perfect launch event for both National Fishing Month and Take A Friend Fishing 2023 summer campaigns, encompassing the many aspects of angling that make the pastime what it is.
With attendance at the Game Fair expected to be well over 120,000, Ragley provides the ideal opportunity to put angling in front of a vast new audience of non-anglers, something that the trade must focus on for the future of the sport.
With backing from key ATA members, exhibitor numbers were boosted to over 30 stands, hosting a variety of leading brands, manufacturers, associations, numerous industry and television celebrities and much more.
With this support, GIF2023 achieved the biggest angling footprint at The Game Fair for many years and plans to increase the size of the event are already being made as it moves to Blenheim for 2024.
The Ragley Hall site, complete with lake, provided the ideal layout for this latest angling venture by ATA. With support from several angling organisations, GIF2023 was able to provide not only an angling spectacle but also the opportunity for the many non-anglers present to try their hand at several different fishing disciplines for the first time and buy the tackle they needed to start their fishing journey.
The Canal & River Trust provided coarse angling tuition, backed up by a series of talks and demonstrations on various coarse methods at both the Landing Stage fishing theatre and on the lakeside pontoons. Good fishing conditions over the weekend saw all of those who booked taster sessions catching several fish during the half-hour slots.
Tuition and advice was also provided for those wanting to try fly fishing and fly tying by AAPGAI coaches and Turrall fly tying materials.
For many years now, angling events have evolved around seasoned anglers. If the sport is to promote itself to a new audience made up largely of non-angling families and groups, more events like GIF2023, that demonstrate all aspects of angling and break down the barriers of engagement, are needed throughout the calendar.
Thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated individuals, GIF2023 at Ragley was a big success, with the majority of the exhibitors expressing their interest in attending next year’s show with bigger stands, and enquiries from new exhibitors for 2024 already received.
With concessions for ATA members and a much-extended marketing programme planned for 2024, with trade support, GIF has every chance to grow dramatically over the next few years and become the biggest angling-related event in the UK.