An Introduction To Freshwater Fishing
Written by Jeff
has been a part of life for mankind for thousands of years.
Originally motivated by hunger, there is a rich vein throughout
history depicting man's pursuit of fish. Nowadays fishing is a
multimillion pound business with and endless number of tackle
manufacturers and bait producers.
In the last 30 years alone there have been some massive leaps forward in
bait and tackle development. With the realisation of products such as
carbon replacing cane and fibreglass in rod making and monofilament
lines being joined by braided lines and invisible fluorocarbons,
things are constantly moving forward.
especially has seen one of the biggest revolutions of all time, the
boilie. A boilie is little more than a small mouth sized ball of
flour, powdered grains and proteins with flavours and colours. These
balls are then boiled to create hard skinned and pest resistant
baits. The original pioneers of these baits secretly set about
working out what a Carp might want to eat and then quietly, over the
course of months and years, went on to wean fish onto them while
further experimenting and developing along the way. Nowadays boilies
are the mainstay of modern day Carp angling and the variety of choice
are many interesting fish species to be found in England, Scotland
and Wales. I’m sure all of you may know the names if one or two of
our native fish and might have even briefly enjoyed fishing during
childhood? The angler doesn’t just have the pleasure of fishing
alone, but more often than not one gets to enjoy some of the most
breathtaking scenery that the average rambler may not venture far
enough to see.
innate pleasure at being so close to nature is immeasurable and most
anglers will often confess to doing a spot of bird watching during an
inactive spell. To experience the landscape changing with the seasons
and enjoy catching the different fish that coincides with each time
of year is all very much a part of the joy of angling.
is something that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and yes,
plenty of women go fishing too, it is there for us all. It will get
you out on the coldest, most dreary of days where you will experience
the many different shades of the countryside around you. Whether upon
a sun baked day or in the grip of a heavy frost, the committed
fisherman will always be out after his quarry.
will now take you on a brief journey through angling today and give
you a feel as to what you can expect. I will tell you of the
different species of fish that you are most likely to encounter on
your travels and the waters and venues in which to find them. I will
also outline some of the important things that you should know and
address before heading out for the first time.
you head out fishing for the first time you must obtaina rod
licence. Licences are issued by and on behalf of the Environment
Agency, and it is essential that you have one.
is a tariff explaining the different types of licence and their
Trout and Coarse
and Sea Trout
will see that there are two options for each category.
non-migratory Trout and Course licence - This allows you to fish
anywhere in the United Kingdom for any species of fish excluding
Salmon and Sea Trout.
A Salmon and Sea Trout licence – This allows you to fish anywhere
in the United Kingdom for every species of fish including Salmon and
your licence - You can obtain your licence at any local Post
Office or buy one on the internet from the Environment Agency
(see link bellow
Always have your licence available for an on the spot
inspection by an EA bailiff. If you fail to produce a valid licence
you may be liable for prosecution and could face a hefty fine of up
type of venue to choose…
Club Membership or Day Ticket?
you go fishing you must also seriously consider your choice of venue.
It is a sad fact of a fisherman’s life that you cannot simply walk
up to the bank of any river or lake and begin to fish in earnest as
someone will almost always own the water.
you need to do is make enquires as to whether your chosen area is a
Day ticket or Season ticket venue.
The best way to
find out this information is at your local tackle shop or of course
by approaching an angler who is already fishing there.
follow now is a guide to the different types of fishery available to
Day ticket waters
will find that some rivers and most canals will be run on a day
ticket basis whereby you are charged for a ticket on the bank by a
bailiff that enables you to fish until nightfall. A day ticket should
only cost you around £2 to £5 depending on the venue.
There is rarely a need to by a ticket in advance but you should still
check to see if this is the case.
will find that most lakes and some rivers will be run on a season
ticket basis where you will need to obtain a ticket that allows you
the right to fish your chosen venue for the whole year or season. You
will have to make a one off payment to obtain your ticket and will
then be regularly asked to produce it by a club bailiff.
can expect to pay as little as £20 for a ticket but some clubs
can charge up to and above £1000 to fish their most prestigious
Day ticket waters
have included this section as well as there are a number of these
specialist day ticket waters cropping up all over the country. The
reason these places differ from general day ticket waters is that
they are purposefully heavily stocked with large numbers of huge
venues are often man made and are tightly regulated and expensive
places to go fishing. It is often the case that the only species to
be found in these venues will be Carp and you can expect to
pay up to as much as £15 per rod for a single days fishing!
can be immense and the size of individual fish available can run up
to and above 40lbs! They are good places to learn about angling and
how to play and handle big fish. They can be noisy places that
attract huge crowds and are thus best avoided if you want a peaceful
fishing venues will be home to stocked or migratory fish such as
Salmon, Rainbow and Brown Trout. For general, affordable game
angling, you will find a multitude of fisheries available to you in
the form of purpose stocked Rainbow Trout lakes and reservoirs.
you wish to pursue our native Brown Trout in a more natural setting
then you should seek out one of the beautiful streams or rivers that
are dotted throughout the United Kingdom. However, expect to pay more
for the privilege of fishing in these more exclusive venues.
there are a handful of waters, predominantly in Scotland and Wales
that offer Salmon fishing. These waters are privately run and often
have long waiting lists of anglers eager to fish them. Due to the
sparseness of these venues and the cost of the migratory fish in
question you may have pay a lot of money to fish just one session.
note, if you wish to take a fish home…
shall begin by saying that it is almost always compulsory to keep any
fish that you may catch from a game fishing venue. However, the
complete opposite will usually apply upon all of the other types of
fishery that you visit. If your intention is that you wish to bring
home a free meal from any non-game angling water then you must
carefully check with the fishery owner beforehand.
should tell you now that it will be near on impossible to for you
find a season ticket or specialist day ticket venue owner that will
allow you to take their fish home for the pot. Fishing is big
business and fishery owners pay vast amounts of money to stock their
waters with prime fish. This in turn offers the paying angler a far
greater chance of catching a large fish, and is exactly the reason
that an owner can command such high rates to fish their venue. It is
for this reason alone that they would not take too kindly to you
taking their expensive fish home and would probably prosecute you if
your aim is to catch coarse fish for the pot then I would strongly
recommend you head for a general day ticket water such as your local
canal or river. Fish stocks will inevitably be far lower than the
aforementioned waters, but you should still be able to get in amongst
species such as Pike and Perch that are notably best suited to the
you should do is check with your local Environment Agency office as
to which species they will allow to be taken and which stretches of
river or canal are suitable. Taking fish from any British waterway is
illegal without prior permission and you can face a fine into the
thousands should you ignore this.
to catch Course and Game fish…
intend this article to be a simple introduction to fishing and
wouldn’t dare begin to try and divulge the multitude of information
required to make this a beginner’s guide. Whether you are serious
about starting fishing or merely showing a passing interest, I would
strongly recommend that you read a book guide to angling. This does
not have to cause you any expense as your local library will have
plenty of fun and informative books for you to read. I would
recommend that you begin with either a beginner's guide to course
angling or game fishing, obviously depending upon which type of fish
takes your fancy.
don’t be fooled into thinking there are any short cuts in fishing,
mastery only comes from a continuously built up knowledge and hours
of on the bank practice. In the future, once you have got a firm
grasp of the basics, you may decide to pursue one particular species
of fish. Should this be the case then you may then turn to specialist
books which are also readily available.
only are there are different types of rod and reel for course or game
fishing situations, but also specific items intended for different
species within those categories! For instance, a lightweight float
fishing rod that you may use to catch a small Perch would surely
break under the strain of a larger species such as a Carp or Pike.
The same applies for if you were to use a light Trout fishing set up
to catching a Salmon, it simply would not cope with the job.
has a nasty reputation of being an expensive pastime. For this reason
you need to carefully consider the species of fish that you wish to
catch before buying any tackle. You can buy what are described as
multi purpose or special offer sets, but please don’t, as you will
be wasting your money on low quality kit that will undoubtedly fail
when you need it most!
is imperative that you visit a reputable tackle shop and speak with a
knowledgeable member of staff whom can advise you as to the tackle
you need for any given situation. Any tackle dealer worth their salt
will gladly give you the time and help needed in selecting the kit
that you need, if they don’t, take your business elsewhere.
you have decided upon the type of fish that you wish to pursue, you
can look forward to putting your new found knowledge into practice.
You can experiment with different baits and lures and get to know the
waters that you are fishing. From there on it is always worth buying
a weekly or monthly magazine such as Anglers Mail, Improve Your
Course Fishing or Trout & Salmon. These will always contain
useful articles about each species of fish and the best bait or lure
to be using for them at any given time of year. One thing that is
often said about angling is that you never stop learning. This is
very true, especially in the field of Carp fishing where modern
advances in tackle hit the scene almost on a weekly basis!
it’s down to you to decide the style of fishing that you wish to
adopt. Ideally you should go to various venues and see what goes on.
Speak with anglers and ask them about their chosen pursuit and why
they enjoy it. Visit a tackle shop and take in the sights and smells
of the vast array of tackle and baits and read as much as you can
about the area of angling in which you are most keen to see if it is
I should talk about etiquette, how you should adhere to act in any
given fishing situation. There is an unwritten code among anglers
that depicts that they should respect one another and any other uses
of the waterways. There is also much emphasis upon wildlife
conservation and anglers should always take their litter home with
them and even gather other rubbish that they may find lying around.
is a most wonderful pastime and something that any angler will highly
recommend. It can be as little as an occasional summer’s jaunt to
as much as a fully fledged absorbing lifetime pursuit. Make it what
you will but do give it a go as you may never look back!!!
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