Coarse Angling is the most popular type of angling in England and most people live within a few miles of a river, canal, lake or pond where they can catch coarse fish. This area of the web site will be developed over the next year to include everything you need to go coarse fishing. For the time being, here is some basic information for the newcomer to the sport.
The main techniques are float fishing, ledgering and spinning and different rods are used for each technique. Float fishing involves a float made of cork, quill, wood or plastic which lets the angler know when a fish takes the bait. No float is used in ledgering; instead a weight is used to hold the bait on the bottom of the river or lake and bites from fish are indicated by the twitching of the rod tip (called a quiver tip) or by electronic bite alarms attached to the line. Groundbait is thrown into the water to attract fish to the area where the angler has cast the bait. A swimfeeder can be used on the line instead of a ledgering weight, which introduces a small amount of bait to the area being fished with each cast.
Pole fishing has become much more popular in recent years. Poles are made of very light carbon-fibre material and can be more than 15 metres long. Instead of using a reel, the line is attached to a short piece of elastic to the tip of the pole and when a fish takes the bait the pole is taken apart in pieces and then the fish is landed. Pole fishing makes it possible for the angler to place the bait gently and accurately in a particular spot, causing less disturbance to the fish and keeping greater control over the line. The downside is that the angler’s range is limited to the length of the pole. Whips are short, single-section poles which are a good way to learn this technique.
Spinning is a technique used for predatory fish and uses a lure which is pulled through the water to imitate a small fish. Sometimes plugs are used, which are more lifelike than spinners and can operate at different depths in the water.
There are around 25 species of coarse fish commonly fished for in the UK, but the most popular are carp, barbel, pike, perch, roach, rudd, bream, tench, dace, chub, eels, zander and Wels catfish.
Your local tackle shop will be able to give you advice about what tackle you will need to get started. Some expert anglers spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on rods and reels, but you could buy everything you need to go fishing for less than £50. By joining Angling Trust and the Fish For Free programme, you can earn points when you shop on the high street and online which earn you cash back on tackle and fishing permits.
Everyone who goes fishing in freshwater in England and Wales must have a rod licence and you can buy yours online from the Environment Agency.