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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means


Fall for this peaceful pastime, hook, line and sinker, as we explore lakes, rivers and the sea for the catch of the day.

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What to expect

Modern day recreational fishing can be enjoyed in both saltwater and freshwater. Angling is a word to describe all fishing with a rod and line and will likely be the most accessible option for your group. Alternative fishing techniques across the world include spearfishing, hand-gathering and netting.

The Angling Trust, the governing body for angling in England and Wales, supports the interests of coarse, game and sea anglers. You can also learn more by speaking to the Environment Agency.

Coarse anglers are those who return all of their fish to the water and don’t take any home to eat. This is a freshwater pursuit and most people will find that they have a river, lake, canal or pond nearby that’s suitable for the pursuit.

Game fishing is also a freshwater activity. Game anglers are however permitted to take home fish to eat and will therefore be on the lookout for slightly different types of fish.

Finally, sea fishing is the saltwater option of the three and encompasses all of the fishing opportunities off the coast. Regular sea fishing will require a developed understanding of the marine landscape including tides and rocky coastline features, as well as the migrational habits of fish at sea.

All three angling options present exciting opportunities for people to work on some technical skills like knot-tying and casting, while developing patience and an appreciation for the outdoors.

What you’ll learn

All types of fishing require attention to detail and patience. You’ll need to think carefully about how best to prepare bait that’s suitable for the type of fish you’re looking to catch and the environment you’re fishing in.

Once you’ve done this and cast your line, it’s important to remember that there’s a degree of luck involved in fishing. You might’ve done all your calculations correctly and found a great spot with lots of fish, but you may need to sit tight and wait for a while before you catch that big one you’ve been waiting for.

Fun facts

The great fish-hook of Māui is one of the most iconic images in Polynesian culture. The tale goes that Māui created the Hawaiian Islands by catching his great fish-hook on the ocean’s bed and pulling, while convincing his brothers to paddle as hard as they could, as the islands rose up out of the water.

Handy hints

  • Get to know the etiquette. Different types of fishing environments come with a different set of behavioural expectations. Generally, the best thing to do always is to keep your distance from others who are fishing. If you’re unsure of how you’ll be expected to behave, especially if you’re visiting a site as a small group, be sure to speak to the site manager or a local club about any questions you may have.
  • Keep those hands clean. Not only is it important for your personal hygiene, but fish have a great sense of smell. If there’s an unfamiliar scent (like you!) on your bait, then you’re less likely to catch anything.
  • Wear sunnies. Pop on some sunscreen and consider investing in polarised sunglasses. Polarised glasses will help protect you from the glare that comes off the water and help you see a little better into the water to spot fish.
  • Look out for fallen down trees. Lots of fish like to hang out near sunken structures. For some it gives them a chance to feel safe, and for others the chance to hide before an ambush. Look out for spots where it’s possible to fish nearby.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Be safe in water:

Everyone should be able to swim 50 m wearing the clothing or equipment for the activity. Non-swimmers will need additional support.

Water can be dangerous - be aware of the risks.

The category of water depends on how safe the water is. Use our waterways directory to check.

Be sure to manage the group when near water, keeping everyone safe. 


Other activities:
  • Where an activity is not covered by any other rules members must follow rule 9.1 and assess the risk, ensure that members can be kept safe and that all equipment is suitable for its use.
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.



All kinds of fishing are famous for being reflective activities. In fiction, fishing trips are famously used as a chance to escape the business of daily life and spend time looking inward, or to simply not think too hard about anything.

Leaders should encourage groups to make the most of this opportunity for a meditative experience and see how their body and mind feel afterwards. Do they feel calmer or more rested?

Each type of fishing is unique and presents different challenges. Fishing at a local lake in fair weather could be the easiest way to learn in a calm environment.

  • Fishing can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group. Make sure you give them plenty of notice.
  • The BDAA (British Disabled Angling Association) is dedicated to making sure fishing is an inclusive activity. The charity works to improve access and facilities at fishing sites across the country, and offers great advice and support for those in search of accessible fishing options. Take a look at their website for more information.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Different ways of fishing present new learning opportunities and require different kinds of gear. If you’re looking to explore more types of fishing and invest a little more in the hobby, then how about trying fishing in a new environment? If you’re used to the tranquility of the lake, why not mix it up and see what it’s like out on coastal waters, or vice versa?

Regardless of whether you’re on a group outing, fishing is an independent activity that’ll require those taking part to step up and take responsibility for their personal equipment, whether it be borrowed or owned. If young people take their time when preparing their rods and accessories, then they’ll shape a better fishing experience for themselves and others.