Children across Birmingham and the West Midlands will be able to take advantage of a new free fishing scheme.
The initiative comes as part of a shake-up of rod licences across England and Wales.
The Environment Agency hopes removing the current £5 charge will encourage more young people aged 12 to 16 to give fishing a go.
And by doing so, they hope to “secure the future of the sport”.
Other changes coming into effect from March next year include a rolling rod licence that lasts for 365 days from the day you buy it – rather than only running up until the end of March regardless of when it was bought.
A three-rod licence is also being introduced, something which carp and specimen anglers have long campaigned for – and the ability to upgrade from a one or eight-day licence to a full licence with the price of the one or eight-day deducted.
This is to encourage more people to keep fishing once they have tried it and make it cheaper for anglers who currently buy several short term licences.
There are also some small increases to standard charges – for example, a coarse fishing licence has been raised from £27 to £30.
This is the first time the cost of a rod licence has increased since 2010 and all additional income generated will all go back into improving fisheries and services for anglers.
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Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “These exciting changes reflect feedback from our customers.
“We hope that a 365-day licence, a three-rod licence and a free junior licence can all play an important part in getting more young people fishing and securing the future of the sport.
“All money raised from rod licence sales is ploughed back in to England’s fisheries, and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers.”
The Angling Trust – the national representative and governing body for angling in England – welcome the changes.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust Fish Legal, said: “The Angling Trust lobbied the Environment Agency to make these changes to the rod licence system as many of the carp and specimen anglers we represent had complained about the need for them to buy two separate licences, for four rods, when they wanted to fish with three, so the new extra rod licence option is very welcome indeed.
“We also wanted a free junior licence as this removes a significant barrier to participation for young people considering taking up the sport. Well done to the Environment Agency for listening and taking anglers’ concerns on board.”
Anything else you need to know?
– Juniors will still need to register and receive a licence in order to fish, but the licence will be free.
– Anglers are legally required to hold a valid fishing licence to fish in rivers, lakes and other inland waters in England (except the River Tweed) and the Border Esk (and its tributaries) in Scotland.
– A rod licence is a legal requirement for fishing. Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers, can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine. Last year in England, the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.
– For the minority who flout the rules, the most common offence is fishing without a valid licence. Fishing without a valid licence could land you with a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record.
The new prices