Fishing information for beginners to Angling, one of the top sports and pastimes in the UK
Guide to Coarse Fishing for Beginners
A guide to coarse fishing for the absolute beginner.
I hope you find the information helpful and interesting
What is Fishing?
Fishing (also called Angling) is the sport of catching fish, freshwater or saltwater, typically with rod, line and hook. Fishing originated as a means of providing food for survival.
What you need to know before you catch your first fish.
In its most basic form, fishing is throwing out a fishing line and pulling in the fish when it goes for your baited fishing hook or fishing lure. It sounds so plain and simple, however, throughout the history of fishing, various fishing disciplines have emerged that target specific fishing conditions and species of fish. These fishing variations have their own unique fishing equipment, know how, and technical skills that may be specific to the type of water in which an angler will be fishing or the kind of fish targeted.
There are three genres of fishing, or angling as it is commonly known: Coarse, Game and Sea. Coarse angling is fishing for any species of fish other than those that live in the sea and Trout and Salmon. Game fishing pertains to the pursuit of Trout and Salmon. Sea fishing as its name suggests is fishing for species that inhabit the sea.
An off-shoot of coarse angling is Carp fishing. Carp is the common name for the fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. These fish can grow to really big weights and over the last decade or so anglers have specifically targeted these specimen fish. Hence the birth of Carp fishing and the Specimen Angler. As a beginner to angling you may want to know what some of the words and terms mean when used while fishing. Take a look at my Dictionary
Any angler aged 12 years or over fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England (except the River Tweed) Wales or the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland must have an Environment Agency rod licence. You can buy your licence at Post Offices, by telephone or online see here
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
If your serious about taking up fishing then it is cheaper to buy a 12 month licence. If you are unsure then I would suggest buying a 1 day or 8 day licence.
Close season means no fishing (you are not allowed to fish in certain areas in a specified period)
Coarse fish close season - 15th March to 15th June inclusive.
The coarse fish close season applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England & Wales, but does not apply to most stillwaters, however, there are some exceptions that retain the close season.
Recent byelaw changes mean that the coarse fish close season does not apply to most canals in England and Wales; again there are some exceptions.
In the areas where there is no coarse fishing close season the fishery owners and angling clubs are free to introduce a close season through club or fishery rules if they wish to. Check here
The welfare of the fish is paramount to the the future of fishing and all fish that are caught must be returned to the water without injury.
Preferably use barbless hooks as these are a lot easier to remove and do less damage to fish.
All fish are covered with a protective layer of slime and this acts as the first line defence against parasitic infections, bacteria, and other diseases that a fish may contract.
When you catch a fish you must make sure you don’t remove too much of this protective coating, so always wet your hands before handling the fish and never use a cloth to hold a fish. Always unhook fish quickly but carefully and return them to the water as quickly as possible.
Unhooking a fish.
Never pull on the line to remove a hook from a fish you will end up seriously injuring the fish.
If the fish is too large to hold in one hand then lay it on an unhooking mat to remove the hook (unhooking mat = padded cushion to protect fish from being injured on the ground)
If the fish is too large to hold, don't unhook it on the ground as this can damage it and remove the slime, use an unhooking mat. With a smaller fish hold it tightly so that it doesn’t flap about and slip out of your hands onto the ground but don't hold it too tight or you may damage its internal organs.
If the fish is lip hooked you may be able to remove it with your fingers. If the fish is hooked inside its mouth and you can see the hook, use a disgorger (a thin plastic or metal rod with a slot in the end).
If the fish is deeply hooked and the hook cant be removed safely it is better to cut the line as close to the hook as possible. The hook will dislodge itself or will eventually rust away. If its a Perch and its deep hooked these fish can bleed very easily, have a careful go with a disgorger and if it wont come free cut the line as close to the hook as possible. Using barbless hooks make removal a lot easier.
Hold the line tight and put the slot of the disgorger over the line and slide it along the line until you reach the hook. Push the hook in the opposite direction to the way it went in until it is free and then carefully remove it.
Returning fish to the water
NEVER throw a fish back into the water. Always get down close to the water to release a fish and let the fish swim away.
If you catch a large fish, especially Barbel, it may have tired itself out while you were trying to land it. In this case hold the fish in the water facing the current until it is ready to swim away. Moving the fish backwards and forwards sometime aids its recovery.
Guide to Coarse Fishing for Beginners
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Some Useful Info.
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. see 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. visit website
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 807060
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 807060 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
I have given a run down of the fishing tackle you will need and how to set it up for float fishing and the general techniques for fishing. As time permits I will be adding further pages to this section
This section is for the complete novice to angling that knows nothing but wants to go fishing
Welcome to Angling,
On the following pages you will find information about the basic fishing tackle you will need to go coarse fishing and what you need to know to start fishing for coarse fish.