Fishing For Beginners
” I love to go fishing, I regularly go with my father at weekends, and we are fortunate enough to have access to our own private lake which is great. In this post I will outline some of the fundamental basics to help you plan a great days fishing, I personally believe every man should try fishing at least once and if he likes it then take his son along too.
I think a lot of men try fishing once and then give it up because they fail to catch anything, which is sad because most of the time the reason they are not catching anything is because they are doing it wrong.
What you will need:
I will start by listing some kit you will need to start out with, It is important to have the right stuff when going fishing, it doesn’t have to be top of the range or really expensive but you do need the right gear.
I always use a carp rod because I mainly fish for carp, but as a beginner all you will need is a simple 2/3 piece match rod like the one pictured. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but get the best you can afford. This one is ideal for a beginner and only costs £30. This rod can be found here: www.coarsefishingsupplies.co.uk
There is a lot of debate surrounding reels these days, I personally think they have got too complicated and unnecessarily so, I use what’s called a bait runner reel, because it allows me to let the fish ‘run’ freely, but all you will need to start out with is a simple fixed spool reel like the one pictured. This reel costs £18 and is perfect for starting out. Here’s the link, www.coarsefishingsupplies.co.uk
A landing net is essential, if you pull in anything over 4lb you will need one, otherwise you will find it incredibly difficult to get a fish up and out of the water, you wont need a huge one, but a good quality one will last you a lifetime. This one will set you back £18 and will do the job fine. www.coarsefishingsupplies.co.uk
To start out with get hold of a small plastic tool box, or storage container to put your tackle in, don’t go out and buy a massive tackle box as you won’t need it, save up your money for a good one later on. Go to your nearest tackle shop and get the following.
Size 18 and 16 eyed, barbless hooks. Cost around £1.20 each
A box of various sized shot (these are used as weights and cost about £3.00)
2-3 floats, ask for 1 for river fishing, 1 for lake fishing and 1 for windy conditions.
Disgorger, This is a small plastic rod used to extract hooks from fish that have swallowed a hook deep.
Bait, For a days coarse fishing ask for 1/2 pint of mixed maggots, that will be more than enough.
Ground bait. look around for fine coarse ground bait like hemp seed or meal worm.
Line. You will need a good quality line for your reel, you wont need really heavy stuff, 4-6lb breaking strain is adequate, I use 4lb breaking strain for catching 10lb carp so don’t worry it wont break.
I recommend taking a pair of long nosed pliers, scissors,a pen knife, a tea towel and something to sit on.
Where to fish?
There are so many fishing lakes, rivers and canals around the UK so finding one near you shouldn’t be a problem. I recommend starting out at a lake, the reason is because river and canal fishing can be tricky, as the water is in a natural state and fast flowing rivers can cause you to lose your kit if your not careful. You will have to pay to fish at a lake though, a days fishing will set you back about £5 depending on the place, you will also need a fishing licence, this is a legal requirement and if you fail to have one, expect a hefty fine and your kit confiscated, rod licences can be bought at all post offices and a day licence costs around £4 and lasts for 24 hours, you can of course buy a years licence cheaper once you decide to take fishing up as a hobby.
Setting up your rod:
OK you should have a nice spot on the side of a lake, hopefully it is a nice sunny day with no breeze, you have your beers, food and nice comfy seat, now you just need to set up your rod.
You will need to thread the line onto your new reel, which is pretty simple, just flick the bail arm over and tie one end of the line to the spool, the flick the arm back over so the line is under the bail arm, apply some tension to the line with your fingers to keep it tight and begin winding it on until the reel is 3/4 full, don’t put too much line so the reel is full, as this will cause problems casting, leave a few cm in from the spool edge.
Once you have you line on the reel, assemble your rod, making sure all the loops are in line with each other, and fix your reel to the rod. Thread the end of the line all the way through the loops to the tip of the rod, making sure you have plenty off the end to set up your float, shot and hook.
The first thing you need to thread on your line is the float, put the line through the hole at the end of the float and take it so there is about 4ft between the end of the line and the float. Now you need to tie your hook on, this can be tricky and you should practice before going out, here’s a diagram of a simple effective knot.
By now you should have your float and hook on the line, with the float moving up and down the line freely. Now it is time to attach the shot, most floats have the correct sinking weight on the side of the float, but as a general rule it is a case of experimenting. What I do is place one small shot about 3 inches away from the hook, use your pliers to pinch the shot on the line. Then I put one shot either side of the float (the float should be about 4ft away from the hook) to stop the float sliding up and down, and finally I place the rest of the shot in intervals between the hook and float.
Again you will need to experiment with weight and you may need to add more or take off some to get the right balance, what you are looking for in the water is for the coloured float tip to be above the water line but no more of the float showing, here is my crude attempt at drawing it for you, don’t laugh I’m no artist ok! ha ha.
That is pretty much it for setting up your line, you will lose your temper a bit to start with, but as you practice you will get the hang of it. Now all you need to do is attach your maggots, I use 3 when fishing because I find it attracts the bigger fish, you need to pierce the hook through the back of the head not the tail end, and thread on 3 maggots of various colours, I find the red maggots attract Perch and Roach species, where as the Yellows attract Carp, so vary it a bit and see what happens.
Now you are all set to start fishing, don’t make the mistake most do and cast out miles into the lake, it is not a good place to be unless you are ledger fishing, besides most of the time the decent sized fish are in the margins of the lake during the day, especially on hot summer days. Flick the bail arm off and with your right hand pull out some line, then in one swift motion flick the rod tip and let go of the line, a gentle flick should get you out to about 5-6ft from the bank, which is where you need to be. Now flick the bail arm back on and wind your excess line in to take off some slack and rest your rod still.
It is now worthwhile prepping the water around your float with some ground bait, just a hand full thrown in near the float will attract all sorts. Now you need to be patient, just sit back, relax and watch the float, your in no rush, fishing is a relaxation sport so don’t think your going to get thousands in an hour, you wont. you will know when you have bite if the float goes under the water sharply, or if the float moves diagonally across the surface before moving under. At this point you will be tempted to yank the rod upwards in excitement, this will ultimately yank the hook from the fishes mouth, all you need to do is flick the rod sharply but not aggressively the opposite way your float is moving, this will sink the hook into the mouth.
Now there is an art to bringing in big fish such as carp and if you are lucky enough to hook one, you will know about it, they are incredibly strong and will fight against you, if you get a large fish hooked don’t bully it in, let it run with the line for a bit, keep the line tight and apply some tension to the reel (there should be a gear on the reel somewhere) this will tire the fish and make it easier to bring in. Remember to use your landing net if the fish is to big to bring in by hand.
Removing the hook should be fairly easy most of the time, but on occasion they will swallow the hook right down into the mouth, removing the hook if this happens is simple but needs care, take the disgorger and place the open groove at the end over the line and slide it down the line into the mouth until it hits the top of the hook, then gently push down until you feel the hook dislodge, then you can use your pliers or your fingers to gently coax the hook out, it will take practice to get it just right, but that is what fishing is all about.
That is my advice, I hope you enjoyed the post and hopefully you have learned something from it. Fishing is about having fun, and taking some of this advice with you will make sure your day is not wasted trying to figure what to do, have fun, relax and enjoy it!
Let us all know if you have any success on your fishing trip!”