Gone fishing: Angling is the reel way for men to beat the blues as being out in nature boosts their mental health, research finds

  • Regular anglers are 17% less likely to have depression or anxiety, a study finds

It’s an age-old pastime made even more popular by the hit TV series starring Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse.

Now new British research shows the relaxing hobby enjoyed by the pair on Gone Fishing is the perfect boost for men’s mental health.

Scientists from three UK universities quizzed more than 1,700 men on their hobbies and lifestyle and found regular anglers were 17 per cent less likely to suffer with depression and anxiety.

Experts think the benefits are due to the physical exertion involved in catching fish, as well as regular exposure to so-called ‘blue space’ – such as rivers and lakes – which has been shown to boost psychological wellbeing.

An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK enjoy spending hours on riverbanks and lake shores in pursuit of their angling hobby.

Regular anglers have been found to be 17 per cent less likely to suffer with depression or anxiety, according to new research. Pictured: An angler fly fishing in Scotland

Regular anglers have been found to be 17 per cent less likely to suffer with depression or anxiety, according to new research. Pictured: An angler fly fishing in Scotland

Experts think the benefits are due to the physical exertion involved in catching fish, as well as regular exposure to so-called 'blue space' - such as rivers and lakes - which has been shown to boost psychological wellbeing. Pictured: A man fishing for trout in north Wales

Experts think the benefits are due to the physical exertion involved in catching fish, as well as regular exposure to so-called ‘blue space’ – such as rivers and lakes – which has been shown to boost psychological wellbeing. Pictured: A man fishing for trout in north Wales

The Environment Agency says there has been a surge in fishing since the pandemic, as people look to spend more time in nature, with sales of freshwater rod licences up 16 per cent.

Psychologists from Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge quizzed more than 1,700 men on their lifestyles, pastimes and mental health histories.

The results, published in the journal Epidemiologia, showed those who frequently enjoyed a spot of angling were significantly less likely to suffer with depression, anxiety or self-harm. The more time they spent at it, the lower the risk.

Previous studies have found angling can relieve stress and make people more sociable.

In a report on the findings researchers said: ‘Exposure to blue spaces can lead to improved mental health and well-being. One meaningful way to do this is through recreational angling.’

BBC figures show nearly 2 million viewers tune in to watch each episode of Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, which returned to the screens for a sixth series on BBC2 earlier this month.

The series shows the two comedians fishing side by side, enjoying each other’s company while immersed in nature. The experience is said to have helped both men following treatment for heart problems.

source: dailymail.co.uk