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 Guide to Coarse Fishing for Beginners



Fishing Tackle

Guide to Fishing Tackle
Split Shot
Setting a reel drag


Fishing Methods
Drop Shot Fishing
the Pellet Waggler
Fishing the Leger
Fishing the Spod
the Chod Rig

more to be added


Fishing Baits

About Fishing Baits

Gozzer Maggots
Bread Baits
Paste Baits
Luncheon Meat
Particle Baits
Maple Peas
Bloodworm and Joker


Fish species

Coarse fish


British fish records

Coarse Fish Records

Game Fish Records

Sea Fish Records





Fishing is one of the top sports and pastimes in the UK with over 4 million anglers.


Guide to Coarse Fishing for Beginners   |   page 2   |   page 3   |   page 4



A guide to coarse fishing for the absolute beginner - page 3


How to set up your float fishing tackle



Setting up your fishing tackle.

Normally this would be done away from the water so that any fish in the swim are not scared away.

You want to be comfortable while your fishing so place your seat box in a safe position near the water and position the rod rest a short distance in front of it so that when you are sat down you can rest the front of your rod on the rod rest and the handle on your lap. Push the rod rest into the ground so that when your sitting holding your rod the tip is just touching the water. Check this when you have tackled up.

Connect your landing net and pole together and place it to the side within arms reach.

Place your bait tub and everything else close to hand.


Setting up your rod.

When you put your rod together make sure that the guides (rod rings) are aligned. Hold the rod up and from the guide nearest to the handle, look along its length and all rod rings should be in line.

Next you need to attach your reel to your rod.

On the handle of the rod will be two ferrules. Push these near to the top of the handle and slide your reel feet under them with the spool facing the top of the rod. Turn the reel to make sure that the spool is in line with the rod rings. Slide the ferrules onto the reel feet fairly tightly to hold it in position. Open the bale arm of the reel and start to pull line of and thread the line through all the rod rings and pull about 6 to 8 foot through the top ring.


Setting the drag.

For the correct way to set the reel drag see here

Most modern fixed spool reels have a 'drag'. This is a safety mechanism within the reel that will allow the spool to turn when a certain tension is reached as line is pulled from the reel. It safeguards against the line snapping. Depending on the reel, the drag will be a screw device and will be either at the back of the reel or the actual screw that holds the spool in place.

If you haven't already set you reel drag prior to fishing you can set it 'basically' using the instruction below.

First tighten the reel drag device.

Now with the bail arm closed, take hold the rod in one hand and fishing line in the other.  Pull on line at an angle from the rod until you think it will snap. The screw needs to be slackened until the line, under tension, only just starts to come off the reel before snapping.


Now to 'rig up'.

A rig is the terminal tackle i.e. your float, shot and hook.

Attach your float by threading the line through the small eye at the base of the float. and slide it up the line about 4 foot. Using a couple of BB shot, pinch one onto the line either side of and close to the float to hold it in place. At this stage some anglers add all the shot needed to 'cock the float ' (make the float sit at the right level in the water with quarter of an inch showing - I do this later) Now tie your hook to nylon onto the end of the reel line (main line). see here for knots and cut off the excess mainline. About 4 inches from the hook pinch on a number 4 shot. (you will add more shot to set the float shortly)

Now you need to check the depth of the water you are fishing.


Note. Don't try to fish too far out to start with. The furthest you should fish is as far as you can easily throw your bait.


Plumb the depth

Depending on the plummet you bought, either clip it onto the number 4 shot or pass the hook through the loop at the top of the plummet and lightly push the hook into the cork aiming the point of the hook along the cork so as not to hit the lead / metal and blunt it.

Now you have to cast your line to the spot you want to fish.

Reel the line in so that the float is about 2 foot from the rod top.

Hold the rod in one hand, near the reel. With the rod pointing up in the air in front of you and the plummet off the ground, using the hand holding the rod, put your forefinger on the rim of the spool to stop line coming off and open the bail arm. Using a slow to and fro pendulum motion, swing the plummet into the anticipated fishing area, taking your finger off  the reel spool to let the plummet pull line off the reel and land where you want it to.

With the plummet settled on the bottom of the pond, if the float sinks your rig is set to shallow. If the float lies flat on the water or is sat in the water showing more than quarter of an inch your rig is set too deep.

Reel the rig back in and move the float up or down accordingly and try again. Do this until the exact depth is found with just the tip of the float showing about a quarter of an inch above the water surface.


Note. You want your hook to lie either on the bottom or just slightly above the bottom.

When you have plumbed the water there will be a 4 inch difference between using the clip on plummet and the other plummet.

i.e. if you were using a clip on plummet attached to the number 4 shot, the depth of the water is the distance between the number 4 shot and your float. With using the other plummet the exact depth is from hook to float.  To compensate for using a clip on plummet. move the float down the line 4 inches. Your hook is now just touching the bottom..

Now remove the plummet and under the float, add enough shot needed to cock the float. Start with 2 BB first then add a number 4 or other shot ).


With wagglers the general rule is 80% of the weight around  the float and the rest placed 2 thirds of the way down the line. Your rig is set up for ease of casting. When you are confident at casting you can alter the shotting pattern. see float shotting patterns here



Tip. To stop your line getting tangled up when you are not using your rod, with the bail arm open let out enough line so that you can place the hook onto the rod guide nearest the handle. Now carefully reel in the line and take up the slack so that your float and line are parallel to your rod and there is a sleight tension.


That's it for setting up, now your ready to start fishing.


Please bear in mind that this is a basic set up for coarse fishing with a float. There is a LOT more to setting up your tackle and coarse fishing depending on the fish you target, the tackle your using, floats shotting pattern, hooks, waters i.e. river, lake or canal etc.. You will learn all this in time. For now I am aiming to help you with getting set up and to be able to cast.



As a beginner you WILL make mistakes (like getting your line tangled up) and may lose your temper and learn a few swear words - this is all part of learning to be an angler. Persevere and you WILL get things right.



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Guide to Coarse Fishing for Beginners   |   page 2   |   page 3   |   page 4


Some Useful Info.


Remember !
It is an offence to fish for freshwater fish and eels without a valid rod licence and if you do you are looking at a fine of up to £2,500.  You can buy your rod licence at Post Offices, by telephone or online  Check here


Angling Laws and By-laws

The Environment Agency website has all the up to date info on the general rules and regulations and laws on fishing. click here and follow the links - page opens in a new window.

Fish in trouble.
If you see fish that are:
gulping for air
swimming very slowly in large groups
staying in one place near the surface
floating on the surface
Report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60

Report illegal fishing.
If you see something that doesn't look right that you think might be illegal - any fishing, netting or trapping - DON'T try and tackle it yourself -

Report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 and tell them:
1. Exactly where the alleged offence is
2. What's happening
3. How may people are involved and a description of them
4. The registration numbers of any vehicles





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