Hooked for Heroes has become a lifeline for many anglers whilst raising more than £70,000 for wounded military veterans.

When Dave Stott from Chesterfield launched the regular angling matches 14 years ago to support Help for Heroes, there were nine competitors sat round his local pond; now premier venues are getting involved and top names in UK angling are showing their support for the cause.

Dave Watson from Walton-le-Dale in Lancashire is a Hooked for Heroes regular who has been its ambassador for nine years. “When I was young my uncle took me angling from the age of four but when I got injured, I had to learn how to fish all over again - instead of adapting my fishing equipment, I adapted to it,” explained Dave who uses his mouth to help cast his line into the water.

A Hooked for Heroes veteran out on the water enjoying a days fis
A Hooked for Heroes veteran out on the water enjoying a days fishing - Hooked for Heroes

In May 2010 he stood on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) whilst on a routine foot patrol in Afghanistan which resulted in him losing both legs above the knee and his right arm above the elbow. Already a keen sportsman, Dave won four medals at the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2018 and has been supported by Help for Heroes.

“Fishing massively helps people with their mental health, you can’t rush it so whilst you wait for the fish to bite you can open up and chat. It’s good fun, it’s relaxing and it’s a great laugh,” explained Dave whose biggest catch ever weighed 300lbs, caught sea-fishing in Mexico.

Its appeal has opened it up to a whole new audience who’ve never shown interest in the sport before through Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse’s ‘Gone Fishing’ TV series which combines two friends, beautiful scenery and a good natter.


Hooked for Heroes is like a family. We now have four or five matches a year; the flagship match is at Lindholme Lakes near Doncaster where the record number of attendees stands at 188 anglers. Since Hooked for Heroes started it has grown from strength to strength, it gets a little competitive and highly entertaining.

Dave Stott

Founder of Hooked for Heroes