Top angling books & Christmas gift ideas

Looking to treat yourself or a friend this Christmas? The choice of gifts for anglers has never been greater, but why not pick a present that really makes a difference this year? Whether it’s the perfect fishing starter kit for a young family member, a great fishing book or an unforgettable gift experience for 2021, here are a host of ideas. Don’t forget to make the most of your Angling Trust Member discounts!

Fight pollution and find your perfect fit!

It has been truly heartening to see the support for our recent Anglers Against Pollution campaign. It’s patently obvious the vast majority of us want cleaner waters and a better deal for our rivers and lakes. This is great news, but we often have to remind people that our efforts to chase polluters and hold power to account depend entirely on your support.

By wearing our exclusive new range of Anglers Against Pollution clothing, you can do your bit in style this winter! Indeed, anglers all over the country are already turning heads with the new T-shirts and hoodies. These are 100% sustainably produced and every penny of profit goes towards protecting our freshwater habitats. Find the complete collection here.

Top angling books and winter reads

After a year that has ben tough on angling in print, it’s great to see new books and titles still emerging. Some of the new crop are just perfect for winter evenings, too.

The Complex Lives of British Freshwater Fish (CRC Press £29.99)

Packed with amazing facts and fish trivia, this book is one for the true angling addicts! Bringing together the piscatorial dream team of acclaimed fish scientist Dr Mark Everard alongside expert underwater photographer, Jack Perks, it’s fairly obvious you already have a combination as deadly as Bob Nudd and a white cap. But does it deliver?

Bringing masses of remarkable facts into a highly readable format, it’s a book that is vast in its scope but still manages to entertain. Even the long standing fish and fishing nut will find themself regularly saying “that’s nuts, I didn’t know that!”

Who would have guessed, for example, that perch were once canned in the Lake District? Or that fish have been used for everything from fertiliser to counter terrorism measures? In fact, to its credit, this book reads more like a bumper, fish-themed edition of QI than a science textbook. From art and music to sex, food and culture, there’s a fishy link that you almost certainly didn’t know about. As expected, Jack Perks’ rich images only helps to create a book that is ideal for regular “dipping”.  

Verdict: A must for any fish obsessive! Cerebral reading but highly entertaining throughout.

Chalk and Cheese (Merlin Unwin £14.99)

From perfect partnerships we next have a title that suggests the toal opposite. Boasting a slice of pure escapism on a French trout stream, Chalk and Cheese is among the latest titles from Merlin Unwin books, who offer a 20% to Angling Trust members. 

Charting the long relationship between Charles Hamer and an idyllic French trout river, it’s somewhere between your classic chalkstream diary and A Year in Provence. Aside from the interesting notes on maintaining a beautiful stretch of river and the actual fishing, it’s the local character that makes it a great read. From random poachers to laidback locals, potent homebrew and the happy chaos that is a rural life in France, it’s all in the mix.

Hamer, by his own admission, might not be the most flowery of writers, but the book is clear and well-written without being showy or getting bogged down with distractions. Instead, his clear eye and subtle comic flourish capture rural Normandy and the River Andelle successfully, complete with all its heroes, villains and familiar yet strange life lessons. Anyone who might feel a tinge of jealousy at owning such an idyllic stretch of river need only delve into all the headaches of local politics and logistics to see a much fuller picture, although the book’s warts-and-all honesty only adds to the charm.

Verdict: A great fireside read for any well-travelled fly angler, especially those with any connection to France.

Fallon’s Angler (£8 or by subscription)

Fallons Angler review new issue

Finally, with a testing year for fishing in print across the board, it’s vital we support today’s publications. For fans of the long read, it doesn’t get much better than book-a-zine Fallon’s Angler. Issue C-19 of the quarterly is packed with great stories from all branches of your favourite sport, along with some timely soul-searching from a truly weird year.

For some much needed escapism, there’s superb writing from fly fisher artist Scott Winstanley up in the Lake District heights, along with some wonderful old school carping from Somerset’s Ashmead to a lovely piece from Chris Yates on his first ever carp. Insterspersed with other names you know already and some you’ll want to read more from, it’s a great collection to mark strange times for all of us.
Order your copy or subscribe at

Rather decent fishing starter kits!

It’s great to see so many new faces on the bank: but they’ll need decent kit to become “regulars”

With the massive spike in angling this year, there seems to be a genuine nostalgia for tackle right now. Heightened by the Angling Times and others looking back at old Argos and Woolworths catalogues, lots of us get a bit dewy eyed. Yet today’s gear is so much better and starter kits needn’t be naff any more! Why not invest in the future by treating a new or returning angler with all they need?

Such was the spike in fishing this summer, the industry is still short on some popular items such as shorter poles! This means you might have to fish around a bit for a deal, or even put together your own starter set with a little help.  Various companies are now getting better and more specialised with their fishing starter kits, however. Here are three worth a look if you’re quick. If in doubt, do contact the retailer directly to make sure you can get it in time for that day!

Complete dropshot kit (Fishin’ Addict £115.00):

Lure fishing is more popular ever these days, especially with so many of us fishing local on our canal or river during Covid. Ditching the usual way-too-short spinning rod and cheap lures, Fishin’ Addict have put together a much better quality package here- yes it’s £115, but with the whopping 25% discount Angling Trust members enjoy, you’ll still get change from £100!
Click here to view the deal and browse more lures and items.

Travel Beach Casting kit (£79.99)

If anything, quality sea fishing starter kits have been even thinner on the ground than coarse gear, so it’s good to see well thought out packages available. This set even includes a head torch and rod tripod, besides rod, reel and a load of rigs to get the new angler fishing in no time. Of course, if you’re yet to join the Angling Trust, you could also claim your membership fee of £29 as a discount! See the deal here.

Maver Reality Pole Fishing kit (£69.99)

With so many stores running out of basics like 4m whips, it might just be worth looking at a slightly more advanced setup. This package remains well within the realms of the affordable, but includes several pole rigs and 6m of pole to play with, to get the newcomer beyond the margins in more ways than one! Click here to view the package

Great bait deals!

With all Angling Trust members getting 15% phone orders from quality bait company Pallatrax, their current range is well worth a look right now. Particularly popular are the carp and barbel day session packs, which provide enough hook and feed baits for a great day’s sport, along with leads and other useful bits. At under £20, these are perfect Christmas gifts for carp anglers this year! Check out the Pallatrax bait and accessory range here.

Gift someone an amazing angling experience for less in 2021!

Fishing holidays travel tips saving money

With light at the end of the tunnel as we finish 2020, why not plan something special to make up for the disappointments and cancelled plans of this year? Whether it’s a carp fishing break in France or an Amazon adventure, Angling Trust members can get 10% off fishing holidays, with some amazing deals from our supporting companies! Check out those included here.

Give someone the gift of fishing in 2021 or treat yourself to an Angling Trust Membership bonus!

Last but not least, another great gift idea is to buy a friend a loved one a licence or Trust membership for 2021! It’s easy to do this- as our blog post from last Christmas shows (and you can even date their licence to run a year from any date in January).

Or, of course, you could also treat yourself to Angling Trust membership- and new members can claim some amazing offers, such as maga £29 to spend on tackle from Glasgow Angling Centre. See our membership section for more details.

Keep your kit safe this winter!

As a final thought this month, do make sure you keep any expensive new buys or gifts safe. Our blog post on this topic tackles everything from making sure you’re covered, to really simple ways to reduce risks and deter thieves.

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