Working alongside Angling Trades Association chairman Andrew Race, Mike Heylin is the organisation’s vice chairman, a role which is as varied as it is busy and, for someone who has seen his fair share of things, he is still as passionate as ever.

Since Brexit, many of you will be familiar with the regular updates from government that appear through your ATA feed. Another benefit of ATA membership that can go largely unnoticed but may provide you with some vital business insight that softens the economic blow caused by “the great divide”.

Mike’s .gov info-stream requires considerable time sifting through endless official information on any given day to get to the useful stuff. Now the UK is no longer part of the EU, work done previously with the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) has to be duplicated for the UK trade.

As with most of us, there is the obligatory reading and responding emails each day plus regular Zoom meetings, but the traffic generated by ATA’s growth and resurgence of ATA brands – National Fishing Month (NFM) and Take a Friend Fishing (TAFF) – is now rapidly increasing and requires more input. Meetings with DEFRA, the Environment Agency (EA), the Angling Trust (AT) and Canal & River Trust (CRT) to name a few are now doubled as they are partners in both this theatre of operations and that of general fisheries business and, with more ATA partners coming on board, this list is set to grow.

Work on assets for NFM including the new e-book ( in 2022) is now ongoing as the project develops. Regular ATA monthly workgroups (at which minutes must be taken), now provide back up for the regular conferences between principal partners, ensuring that NFM runs smoothly, and events are safe to attend and secure for the participants.

Since 2020, ATA’s interface with the likes of EA, DEFRA and CEFAS has been exponential. On a weekly basis, ATA works can relate to anything from the National Angling Strategy (NAS) and contracts to marketing of rod licences, from recreational sea angling and highly protected marine areas to the new fisheries bill where the voice of the trade must be heard.

So, what does he do on his days off? Well, Mike’s coaching activities in support of many interventions is well known as is his support for the Voluntary Bailiff Service, Canal & River Trust and Fisheries and Angling Advisory Groups where, in all cases, both the voice and the ear of the trade are available if needed.

He might also attend conferences on future-proofing water supplies and rivers, the occasional river basin management plan meeting and, in between, maybe a few river walks looking for floating pennywort and other invasive species, if time permits of course.

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