TACKLE dealers and assistants have been welcoming more customers into their shops - but the major worry is supplies of tackle.

The Covid-19 distancing measures in England changed from 2 to 1 metre-plus on Saturday, July 4.

Shops and manufacturers have struggling to keep up with demand, as angling has been positively booming since original restrictions were lifted in mid-May.

Angling Trust chief executive Jamie Cook believes that the 1-metre rule change is another boost.

Jamie told Angler’s Mail: “It is definitely going to help fisheries with bars and cafés, and hopefully the changes will make life easier for tackle shops, too.

“It should make it easier for shops to operate, and I would anticipate it would also be welcomed by the manufacturers and wholesalers, who are working to meet significant demand at present.

“By and large, the angling community has acted responsibly throughout this crisis.

“It is as important to follow the government guidance and ensure that we protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the risk of spreading Covid-19.

“Coaching has been going ahead under strict Covid-19 guidance, with direct contact removed, so the change from 2 metres to 1 metre will not alter this.

“Angling coaches have all been kept updated, and best-practice guidance is available via the Angling Trust support hub.

“With many fisheries and clubs seeing lapsed and new anglers, the requirement for qualified coaches is perhaps greater than ever.

“For individuals, clubs, fisheries or community groups who wish to qualify as coaches, please visit the AT website for information on upcoming courses and availability.”

Angling Trust chief Jamie Cook is pleased with how anglers have generally reacted to 2 m then 1 m social distancing and other measures.

Maintaining stocks is a problem

Well-established shop The Tackle Box, in Kent, waited to open properly to customers until July 6, as a safety precaution. The management believe that the 1 metre rule is just a guideline.

Boss Kevin Peet said: “We need to be as far away from each other as possible until this nasty diseases is long gone, so I don’t think it will change our plans.

“Stocks are still a major problem for many tackle shops. We hold a massive reserve of stock, but from click-and-collect and mail order it looks as if a pack of locusts has gone through it.

“The problem is that China stopped for two months at the start of the year, so there is a backlog.

“Manufacturers will now cherry pick what shops they send their limited supplies to. So, basically, the good payers from the past few years will get the tackle first,” added Kevin.

Lincolnshire tackle shop and fishery boss Neville Fickling added: “There are still a lot of workers, even those furloughed, who have a slot of spare money, as they couldn’t go fishing for three months or to the pub or to football, so they’re spending big now.

“Luckily, before lockdown ended we ordered a lot of tackle, so were well stocked up, and it is a struggle to get gear in now.

“But I have to say, Dynamite has been brilliant, sending out four orders in two weeks.”

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