In many ways we are truly fortunate to live in this day and age.
For the young especially there is so much to explore in terms of past times and hobbies.
Both in the realm of the electronic but also in the physical side of things.
There is a lot made in the media nowadays about the prevalence of electronic entertainment.
Parents are always bemoaning (online ironically enough) the amount of screen time that the kids today indulge in.
Electronic gaming has become a multimillion-pound industry with professional gamers taking away staggering sums at tournaments.
The simple fact that there are professionals playing in electronic virtual worlds is something that is a new opportunity.
We have all seen people congregating in odd corners on the streets and in parks gazing into their phones trying to track down the latest elusive electronic beast.
The ability to make and publish globally short self-created videos is another new hobby that many have taken up.
Modern Day Hobbies
As we mentioned it is not just in the world of the intellectual that there are new hobbies available to young people today.
There are some new activities that are far from sedentary!
What would our ancestors have made of hobbies such as parkour or free running as examples?
Using buildings and complex environments to get from place to place as fast as possible and placing oneself in some extreme situations.
At the far end of the spectrum, we have indulgence in extreme sports such as base jumping or extreme motocross.
While some treat these as sports they are naturally available for people to pick up simply as hobbies to pass the time rather than compete on a professional basis.
Remember, all of these and many more are on top of the more traditional hobbies such as cooking, needlework, camping or hiking to name but a few of the more mainstream stalwarts.
There is a huge array of activities for the modern generations to select from when looking for ways to pleasurably occupy their time.
So, with this overabundance of choice and the fact that there may be an attraction to the ‘new and different’ what chance does this give to the stalwart activities of yore?
Well, before we dig further into the actuality of the situation it is worth mentioning that many of the new ‘hobbies’, just like in the past, have fallen into the situation of being just passing phases.
After all who now remembers such activities as the ‘lying down game’ or time limited crazes like ‘the ice bucket challenge’?
This means that not all of the newer, competing activities actually have staying power.
Angling as a Hobby
Let us take a look at angling as a hobby in particular.
This is a recreational activity that has been popular since the 19thcentury as witnessed by that classic publication ‘The Complete Angler’.
How much interest is there in fishing for a hobby from the younger generation today?
One of the words that seems to form a part of the youth lexicon of today is ‘influencer’.
With the almost universal prevalence of the internet, the spread of social media and the fact just about any device you care to name is now internet enabled the influencer phenomenon is huge in the younger generation.
As a caveat it is not just the younger generation that is moulded by influencers, as we have seen global politicians now turn to social media to try to shape opinion, but we are focusing in this article on the youth.
Interestingly enough there is an article on the BBC news website, that grand old dame of news, where the word ‘influencer’ is used in conjunction with fishing.
The BBC article talks of a fishing influencer who uses social media to showcase the hobby to others of her generation.
It transpires that she enjoys fly fishing for carp and promotes this on forums such as her Instagram and Twitter account where many of the younger generation spend their time.
This would suggest that fishing has a foothold in the younger generation, or at least carp fishing certainly does, and is likely to grow.
To get a more complete picture we put the question to Mark Tillerman from British Baits and he actually gave us a revelation that really made us think.
“It’s funny you are asking about the popularity of fishing with the younger generation. Ninety percent of the time we get someone coming in being introduced to the hobby it is a kid with their parent or uncle or grandparent. If you think about it most of us who fish were introduced by an older relative and it’s still the same today.”
That, actually, is a very interesting perspective so we dug around a little more researching the matter.
The National Angling Survey report says that 87%, so the vast majority, of anglers start at a young age.
Specifically, between 4 and 16.
This would imply that far from dying out among the younger generation that is where it actually starts more often than not.
Unlike some sports, such as bowls, where the older players gravitate towards it later in life it seems fishing catches the interest of people early on.
Thinking about the influencer and her carp fishing we decided to look into just what type of fishing might be the most popular, initially we assumed that trout or salmon would be top of the preference list.
That turned out to be very far from the truth.
The UK government’s Asset Publishing Service actually has statistics on the number of days spent leisure fishing broken down by category and by type of fish.
In the year in question 134,000 angling days were spent fishing for salmon and sea trout.
That surprised us as it felt lower than expected, it was even more surprising to find that it was dwarfed by the days spent fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout or grayling which came to a whopping 2.4 million.
All of those even in total were completely eclipsed by carp fishing, 7.4 million fishing days spent on that. It looks like our influencer is onto a winner there.
In summary it certainly looks like carp fishing is popular and growing in popularity with the younger generation so no, it is not dying out, far from it!