Fishing – often referred to as angling and sometimes confused for sitting by a lake for hours watching the world go by. Over 100,000 Brits flock to their local lake, river, canal or pond every year, taking in all the relaxation and stress relief that the great outdoors has to offer. But for a complete newbie, it can be confusing getting to grips with the seemingly never-ending gear and knowledge required to get into the sport.
You may be surprised by how simple and inexpensive angling can be. In this guide, we’ll run you through everything you need to know before you cast off. Like most sports, patience and perseverance are key in the beginning. As they say, good things come to those who bait.
In this article, we’ll focus on the most popular and accessible type of angling in the UK, coarse fishing.
Before you start fishing in the UK, you’ll need a license. Don’t let this put you off, though. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased easily online. You have the following options:
1-day license: £6
8-day license: £12
Annual license (up to two rods): £30
Annual license (up to three rods): £45
If you plan to fish with the family, then you’ll be pleased to hear that under 13’s don’t need a license, and 13-16-year-olds can register online for free. You can find out more and purchase your license here. A word to the wise, if you are fishing on private land, you’ll also need the landowner’s permission.
Next, you’ll need to find some water. Here’s a great resource that’ll help you find popular fishing spots near you. Just enter your postcode in the search box and you’ll be presented with a map containing details on the best fishing spots near you. Click on one and you should find the address, contact info for the person in charge and the types of fish you can expect to find there.
Okay, so you’ve got your license, you’ve found somewhere to fish, now you need some gear. Before you go and order all the fishing tackle you can find, it’s important to decide which type of coarse fishing you’ll be doing. We’re going to focus the best introductory method for new anglers, pole and whip fishing, and provide a quick rundown of the others.
This is the easiest type of fishing for beginners and requires the least amount of gear, so it’s a great place to start your angling adventures. It involves fishing with a pole or a smaller ‘whip’, which is a simple bit of kit that doesn’t require you to use a reel. You’ll still catch plenty of small fish like roach, rudd and perch.
You place a rig on your pole or whip, which is a readymade set of line, float, weights and hooks. Then, using a weight called a plummet, you determine how the deep the water is and set your float accordingly. Fish tend to bite at different depths in the water, so this requires a bit of trial and error. Then, when you feel a bite, you ‘whip’ up your pole and bring the fish into your landing net. After you’ve admired your catch, unhook the fish by hand or use a disgorger for particularly hungry fish, and set it free.
To get a good understanding of the technique, find a fishing buddy or a local group who will be able to teach you. Alternatively, check out some tutorial videos online.
Soon you’ll be casting off and preparing to make your first catch. Exciting! Here’s the basic kit you’ll need.
At GO Outdoors we stock an ever-growing collection of fishing equipment from some of the industry’s top brands like Ron Thompson, Prologic and NGT.
If that sounds like a lot of gear before you’ve even started, don’t worry. Find a local Get Fishing event where you can borrow the kit and learn the basics before investing in your own. It’s also a great way to meet other beginners in your area.