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Beginner's Guide: Fishing

Types of fishing for beginners

Types of fishing for beginners

  • Whip Fishing – A fast, efficient, and inexpensive way to fish close to the bank. Using a simple rod with minimal line and no reel, a whip is an easy to setup and tangle free way to start fishing. With quick and simple casting and landing, whip fishing is ideal for budding young anglers and first-time fishermen alike.
  • Rod & Float Fishing – The traditional style of fishing we are all familiar with. Rod and float is still the most flexible and versatile way to go after freshwater, and even saltwater fish. Not only do you get the excitement of reeling-in and landing anything you hook but also the satisfaction of placing the perfect cast.
  • Pole Fishing – Whip fishing’s big brother. This technique uses cutting edge coarse fishing technology to reach fish far from the bank without traditional casting. This is made possible due to the huge, ultra lightweight carbon poles that are often over 10m long. Thanks to its ease and simplicity pole fishing has exploded in popularity in recent years.
  • Fly Fishing – The classic and iconic way to pursue game fishing. The key to fly fishing is to cast a virtually weightless artificial fly huge distances without using weights to assist. This is achieved using the elegant and highly technical cast the sport is famed for. Fly fishing’s appeal lies in mastering the art of fooling fish with the simplest equipment.

How to try it

  • Rod Licenses – Unless you are under 12 years old you will need a Rod License to fish British waterways. Licenses are inexpensive, are discounted for juniors and seniors, and the proceeds go towards improving fisheries. They are available from; It’s worth knowing that a license is not required to fish for saltwater fish. If you do decide to fish in the sea be sure to take advice because, if you catch a migratory freshwater fish, you could be liable for a fine.
  • Where and how to fish – Your local fishing retailer is a great place to get tips and find out about local fisheries and fishing clubs. It’s worth knowing that both fishing clubs and commercial fisheries can both provide tuition and equipment to beginners.

For further information try one of the following sites;

  • The Environment Agency – www.environment-agency.gov.uk for comprehensive listings of fisheries and other useful information.
  • The Professional Association of Anglers – www.paauk.com for expert tuition and information.

Fishing Kit Lists

So you fancy having a go at one of the styles of fishing and don’t know what you need. For the coarse fishing styles of whip, rod, and pole;

  • Choose the Core Kit that suits your chosen style
  • Add the Coarse Fishing Essentials kit
  • Go Fishing

For fly fishing see our Fly Fishing Kit List

1. Core Kit

Whip Fishing Core Kit – A basic 4m whip can be very inexpensive. Add this to the Coarse Fishing Essentials, choosing a set of smaller ‘pole floats’, and you’re all set.

Rod & Float Fishing Core Kit – Pick-up a basic 9-13ft match rod, a fixed spool/match reel, your Coarse Fishing Essentials and you’re in business.

Pole Fishing Core Kit – For this radical and modern style you will need a pole, the Coarse Fishing Essentials, a set of smaller ‘pole floats’, and a few inexpensive extras.

  • Pole – A basic pole between 8 and 10m depending on the height of the angler and water being fished
  • Elastics – Used in a pole instead of a standard line. Sizes 4-6 are good for getting started
  • Bung – Anchors the end of the elastic inside your pole
  • Bushes – Guides the elastic through the end of your pole
  • Connectors – Connects the elastic to the line that holds the float and hook
  • Winders – To store pre-prepared lines on saving time and inconvenience on the bank

2. Coarse Fishing Essentials

What you need? Why are they for? What are the options?
Bait To encourage the fish to take the hook. Also scattered in larger amounts to attract more fish to the area. Maggots are good bait but must be purchased from tackle shops and carefully stored.
Pellets are also available at tackle shops, 3-6mm are good to start with.
Other more easily available alternatives include worms and luncheon meat.
Hooks To present the bait to the fish and to secure your line in the fish when the bait is taken. Although available with barbs (spikes that bed the hook more firmly) beginners should use barbless hooks. Those unpracticed can harm fish when removing barbed hooks.
A selection of sizes 16-20 is adequate for beginners. The bigger the hook the bigger the fish it can catch. Each hook comes prettied to line, this needs to have a slightly weaker breaking strain than your main line.
Line Connects the rod, to the float, weights and hook. Line with a 2lb–3lb breaking strain is fine for beginners. The heavier the line the larger the fish that can be caught.
Split Shot Used to hold the float, hook and bait at the correct depth Available in selection boxes. Try to cover sizes 1-8.
Float Indicates when you have a bite and to hold the hook and bait at the correct depth Available in selection packs covering most needs. Many things affect the size of float like how choppy the water is, the distance you are fishing at and the size of fish you are trying to catch.
Landing Net Used to lift the fish from the water. Lifting the fish using the line can be very harmful. Simple and inexpensive. You will also need to buy a pole to give you sufficient reach.
Disgorger Essential for the safe removal of hooks from fish Simple and inexpensive. Be sure to know how to use one correctly.
    Small Tackle Box – To keep your kit in
    Scissors – for trimming line
    Seat – enjoy the excitement and relaxation of fishing in comfort
    Bait Box – any sealable container will do unless you are using live bait where ventilation is required

Fly Fishing Kit List

Many retailers now sell reasonably priced fly fishing starter kits containing everything you need to get started. If you would prefer to spend a little more and select your own components see our kit list.

  • Rod – 7 to 9 weight 9ft fly rod is sufficiently robust for beginners
  • Reel – 7 to 9 weight fly reel to match your rod
  • Backing Line – Inexpensive robust line that goes on your reel first and joins to your fly line.
  • Fly Line – High quality line specially designed to improve the ease and accuracy of casting. A 3 weight line is suitable for beginners.
  • Braided Loop – Connects the fly line to leader line
  • Leader Line – The final, ultra fine line that connects to the fly. A 6lb line is good to start with.
  • Flies – Your all in one hook and lure, designed to mimic the natural prey of game fish. Available in inexpensive starter boxes.
  • •Landing Net –– Used to hold the fish in the water while unhooking. Lifting the fish using the line can be very harmful.
  • Forceps - For safe and simple hook removal
  • Line clippers – For trimming and cutting line
  • Polarised Sunglasses – Protects your eyes from your hook if you mis-cast, and reduces glare from the water. Inexpensive models available from most retailers.

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