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Angling Trust announce updated schedule for Coarse Competitions calendar in 2020


10 River Tees

Following the resumption of competition fishing under agreed best practice guidance, the Angling Trust have today published an updated programme of coarse competitions which lays out the schedule for the remainder of 2020.

The equivalent documents covering sea, game and predator competitions will be released imminently.

Ben Thompson, Angling Trust Senior Competition Manager said:

“We are delighted to have a coarse match calendar packed with a variety of events. It’s been a real team effort with volunteers, fishery staff and other members of the angling community working together to ensure those competitions are safe and compliant with best practice guidance.”

There are a number of major competitions on both natural and commercial venues scheduled for the 2020/2021 season including Riverfest, Winter League, Silver Fish and the Canal Pairs.

Based on the current Global situation, government restrictions and, first and foremost, the safety and wellbeing of anglers, volunteers and organisers, the decision has been made to cancel or postpone competitions where it was deemed the risk associated or practicality of delivering in a safe and compliant way was too great. As a result, we can announce that the 2020 Division 1 and 2 Nationals along with the Individual National, Feeder National, Schools National and Veterans and Masters National will be cancelled for 2020. The Junior and Youth, Ladies and Disabled Nationals will be re-scheduled and re-planned in line with current guidance with further details on these events to follow.

This decision has been based upon the input, opinions and advice of a broad range of experts, organisers, captains and anglers and is not one which has been taken lightly. Lead organiser for the Division 1 National Chris Howard has worked extensively with clubs and landowners to review the feasibility of the venue and has run matches over the past weeks which has allowed him and his team to assess the viability and challenges associated.

Andre Grandjean, Chairman of the Coarse Competitions Committee said:

“The AT Coarse Competitions Committee have, for several weeks, been monitoring and discussing the current Covid 19 restrictions and how they relate to our National Championships and it is with regret, but in the best interest for all concerned, that we have unanimously agreed to cancel this year’s major National. With these huge competitions scheduled to take place on public towpaths this year, it was regarded to be almost impossible to maintain social distancing with the public and with the lack of, and uncertainty of available accommodation, it was deemed necessary to put an end to all the ambiguity and draw a line under these events.”

It was felt by many of the captains and anglers who were consulted that without the excitement of the draw, the elation of the prize giving and the opportunity to meet with competitors from across the country, much of the magic which makes the Nationals so special would be lost.

John Ellis, of Canal & River Trust commented:

“I’m a huge supporter of our national angling championships that first kicked off at the beginning of the last century. The atmosphere and camaraderie with 500 enthusiastic participants on the day remains unique in our sport. I would have loved to have seen both divisions take place on our historic waterways this year but given the current circumstances deferring both events for 12 months is a sensible decision. It is one that I know the vast majority of anglers I have spoken to will support.”

Each competition in the calendar has been reviewed independently and its specific details considered. As a result, there is no blanket decision on all competitions.

David Kent expressed his view on the Vets and Masters National:

“Whilst always very keenly contested, for many these Nationals are actually much more providing an opportunity for long-anticipated annual reunions with angling friends from across the country. Unfortunately, the absolute necessity of maintaining social distancing and the continuing uncertainty about the opening of hotels and their related facilities would seriously impact on the whole experience. In addition, the likelihood that everyone would need to travel separately is still very real and would be a problem for many. And, sadly, it is likely that quite a number of potential competitors have their personal extended lockdown circumstances and so would be unable to participate.”

Jamie Cook, Angling Trust CEO added:

“It is testament to the hard work and collaboration of many behind the scenes that we are able to deliver the volume and breadth of competitions we are, and my thanks go to all involved. Working closely with the CEOs of other sports at this time, I am acutely aware that there are very few sports which can offer their participants any form of competitive activity at this time and so as a sport we must ensure that we adhere to the best practice guidance under which competitive angling has been permitted.

“I have personally spoken to a number of the organisers and hosts of the cancelled and postponed competitions as well as the captains and anglers who fish them – whilst they have sometimes been surprised to receive a call from me they have all offered invaluable and honest feedback which has helped us make these difficult decisions.

“The team are working through the same process for our sea, game and predator competitions, however with the proximity of the National coarse competitions we wanted to ensure that we provided clarity to competitors, captains and organisers who are planning practice sessions, making preparations or considering travel or accommodation arrangements. It is the intention to run both Division 1 and Division 2 Nationals on the same venues on Saturday 21st August and 11th September 2021 respectively.”

Many fisheries have been able to put plans in place to adhere with current guidance, however it is by no means a foregone conclusion that they can run competitions to best practice guidance and the Angling Trust are continuing to work with all host venues. Those events which have been confirmed will be subject to ongoing review as guidance evolves.

Aaron Grantham, owner of Lindholme Lakes said:

“It is great to be working with the Angling Trust on a safe resumption of angling and their level of consultation and consideration has been brilliant. We are a controlled site which helps us manage the environment and have built up from trials of 8 to 60 peg practice events to ensure that we can safely deliver competitions in compliance with best practice guidelines and that the anglers get the experience they would expect coming to our venue. We are delighted to be hosting the Team Commercial competition in October and will continue to work with the Angling Trust to deliver this event.”

Dates for rescheduled events will be announced in due course.

Useful links:

Download the updated 2020 Coarse Competitions calendar

The Competitons team have put together a series of FAQs available here

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