What Is An Angling Club & How To Choose The Right One To Join?

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  • Angling clubs have been around for over 200 years! 
  • Let’s go through the three main types of angling clubs: sea, coarse and fly fishing
  • Need advice on what you should look for and which one you should join? 
  • Find out more about how to join an angling club.

Angling clubs were first started in the 1820s! Today there are more than 1,000 across the UK.  There are angling clubs covering sea, coarse and fly fishing. Anglers can join any club for a yearly fee that allows them access to fish at specific areas of sea, lakes or rivers.

In this article, I will cover all the areas of joining an angling club.

What Is An Angling Club?

A freshwater angling club is the best way for fishermen to access fishing lakes or rivers with the type of fish they prefer to catch. They are easy to join, with no restrictions on membership. The waters the clubs have available are almost always rented, which can last for several years and are renewable.

An angling club has a committee and holds an annual general meeting to review minutes, action items and vote on specific topics regarding the club. 

There are also sea angling clubs; joining these gives the sea angler an opportunity to participate in a community and do shore and boat fishing.

Lastly, fly fishing clubs are fewer in number but offer a great avenue to fish for game fish (trout, grayling or salmon) in chalk streams and lakes.

Why Join An Angling Club?

Free public freshwater fishing locations are a little difficult to find, especially good ones!. These areas may not have very productive fishing and also not have the fish you want to target. Joining an angling club gives a great solution to this at a reasonable price. 

The main reason for anglers to join is to be able to fish in a variety of places and catch different species. 

Whilst the sea is free to fish in, many clubs exist to bring anglers together as a group. Joining a local sea angling club is a perfect way to access more places and fish on charter boats. 

Another big benefit is that young anglers and those less experienced learn how to fish.  Many clubs arrange beginner fishing sessions.

Lastly, clubs hold competitive matches, whereby you can win prizes by paying a small fee to join.

How To Choose The Right Angling Club?

Choosing an angling club to join is mostly a personal choice. However, there are a few main factors to consider. These are:

How far are the waters from your home?

Ideally, they should be quite close to where you live. Getting your tackle together and being at the water within 20 minutes or even closer is so convenient. When I first started fishing, getting on my bicycle and cycling for 10 minutes to the nearby river was by far the easiest option.

What type of fishing venues do you prefer? – rivers, lakes etc

Angling clubs’ great benefit is the choices that you have available. Fishing on the river one day and going to the gravel pit the next day is a massive advantage. Most good coarse angling clubs have a range of choices.

What species do you want to catch?

If you are a general coarse angler, then this is less of a factor in your choice. However, a gravel pit or lake would be the best option if you are targeting tench. Rivers are likely more productive if your target is to catch roach, chub, and barbel.  

How many location choices are available?

Most clubs will have at least five venues, a mix of lakes and rivers. The more venues that are included give you a wider range of options and different challenges. 

Do they have fishing matches?

All clubs hold fishing matches on their waters. If you are a keen match fisherman, this is an important factor. Most clubs will also hold matches with other clubs, which allows you to fish on other clubs’ water for the day. 

What is the cost to join?

Angling clubs are only £2.00 – £3.00/wk; it is relatively inexpensive. However, most have a yearly fee, and it is generally impossible to pay for a week. The more lakes and rivers the club offers, the more expensive the cost to join.

Go and take a look at the locations

Just go and take a walk around the rivers and lakes. Having a first look yourself really can make a choice so much easier.

Ask around for advice and suggestions 

All tackle shops will give you insights into the clubs and the locations. It’s most likely the shop owners also have a club membership themselves. They also have daily contact with what is being caught and where.

To summarize, consider some of the criteria above for you as an individual choice. If you plan to go with friends or family, it will be best to all join the same club. 

How Do I Join An Angling Club?

It is very easy to join a club. Most people will join at the start of the coarse fishing season in early June. Rivers have a close season from March 16th to June 15th. Lakes are typically open 365 days a year.

There are two options to join:

  • Go to your local tackle shop and purchase directly 
  • Apply for membership online at the club’s website

How Much Does It Cost To Join An Angling Club?

The cost ranges depending on the number of fishing venues they have in the club. Most angling clubs charge around £40 to £75 pounds for a yearly membership. Certain clubs may offer options for shorter times, such as six months or day tickets for non-members.

Fly fishing club memberships are more expensive than coarse or sea options. Most are above the £100 range. 

What Are The Fishing Rules In An Angling Club? 

All clubs have a standard set of rules, most of which are mostly generic and commonsense.

You can find a link here to the type of rules an angling club will specify. 

Certain rules will vary from club to club and within the range of rivers and lakes they have under their membership. Make sure you read, understand and follow them at all times.

Below are a few links to some of the angling clubs I join.  

Final Thoughts

I have been a member of multiple angling clubs for many years. It is a great entry to reasonably priced fishing and compares favourably. Other options, such as day ticket fisheries and syndicates, can get expensive through a year of fishing.

They also offer anglers several fishing options and various species to catch. 

Please remember that anglers must hold a valid fishing license available from the Environment Agency.

If you liked this article, please check out my other related article what is a carp fishing syndicate? And how to join one.

Steve Fitzjohn