iCARP helps armed forces veterans suffering from PTSD

Angling is being used to help treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, and Korda are very happy to be involved with the project.

The research project was set up by Dr Mark Wheeler and Dr Nicholas Cooper at the University of Essex, and they have been taking groups of veterans fishing to see if it helps improve the symptons associated with PTSD, depression, anxiety and stress.

Results so far have been very encouraging, and their latest study saw ten veterans travelling to Le Queroy Lake, in France. The veterans were chosen from a variety of sources – including responses to a social media post by Korda – and the trip was paid for via a crowdfunding campaign, with tackle and bait donations from Korda and Mainline, so the trip was completely free for those taking part. It was also filmed for a TV documentary and a team of psychologists from the university were on hand to collect data during the trip.

There was a real mixture in terms of angling ability, with some already being keen carpers, whilst others had never fished for the species before, and angling coaches were in attendance to teach and improve their rig tying, water craft, bait presentation, fish care, and all other aspects of carp fishing.

They had a great time at the venue despite conditions being tricky, with Ben Cummings smashing his PB twice, initially with the first fish of the trip at 37lb, and then with a 52lb 2oz chunk – his previous best was 13lb!

Adam Loader also set a new PB, breaking the Elba lake record in the process with a 57lb mirror that he christened Big Loretta. Plus, there was a 51lb 2oz personal best for Dan Lloyd as well, plus Ryan Johnson managed four fish to 40lb.

Stewart Bayford had never fished before, but it wasn’t long before he had his first carp in. the net at 39lb, and he then went on to top that with a 43lb 2oz mirror later in the week. But not everyone focussed on the carp, and Steve ‘Johno’ Johnston spent the week targeting the roach and landed some huge bags of them. They all enjoyed the trip so much that those who took part are already planning to meet up and fish together again.

Dr Wheeler and Dr Cooper were so pleased with how the trip went that they have set up a non-profit company called iCARP (Investigating Countryside and Angling Research Projects) to run these trips in the future, with the continued support of Korda and Mainline.