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Your guide to fishing

Choosing your fishing gear

Fishing is a great hobby for all ages and is now becoming Britain’s most popular participation sport. But if you’re new to fishing, we’ve produced this guide to help you get started when deciding on which type of gear is best for you.

Fishing rods and reels

rods and reelsThe type of rod and reel you need depends on the type of fishing you’re doing whether it be coarse, carp, game or sea fishing. Have a look at the different types of fishing equipment below to get a better idea of what’s needed to get you started.


Coarse fishing equipment

Coarse fishing is a very popular type of freshwater fishing in rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, reservoirs and canals, offering a huge range of techniques for catching fish such as bream, roach, carp and perch.

Carp fishing equipment

Carp are highly prized coarse fish that are difficult to hook, because they’re big, well-muscled fish that put up a real fight when you try to catch them. For this reason, you need strong and reliable fishing equipment.

The most popular way to fish for carp is a method called legering. This is where you attach a heavy leger weight of 1-3 oz to your line then cast out into the lake. The leger will then sink to the bottom taking the hookbait with it. Because carp are big fish, you’ll need a strong, purpose-made carp rod, a heavy-duty reel, mainline of at least 10lb breaking strain and a large net to land the fish. If you’re fishing for long periods of time or overnight, fishing furniture, bivvies and bite alarms will all be useful too.

Game fishing equipment

Game Fishing refers to the use of an artificial fly rather than worms in order to entice trout or salmon. The type of rod you buy depends on the size and weight of the fly you use ie, the heavier the fly, the more powerful the fishing rod and the heavier the fly line you need. In general, salmon and trout fishers use rods of between 8-16ft long and wear a fishing waistcoat to hold accessories. Polarised sunglasses are also handy to spot the fish in bright sunlight.

Sea fishing equipment

Sea fishing can be split into shore and boat fishing. When shore fishing, experienced anglers cast their rigs and bait well over 100 yards into the sea. They then lean their rods against a special rest, point the fishing rod tip up in the air and wait for it to bounce or twitch. With shore fishing, you usually need very powerful rods, heavy-duty reels, large leger weights and very strong lines.

Junior fishing equipment

If your children want to start fishing, look out for junior or starter kits.  These tend to be high quality coarse fishing kits, and provide juniors with their first kit for all round general fishing. They can be used on a canal, lake or river and include everything you need such as a fishing rod, reel or pole, landing net, bait and accessories. Please always make sure children are supervised at all times.

Clothing and fishing accessories

fishing tentYou may need specialised clothing and accessories, depending on where you’re fishing. Waterproof suits, waistcoats and waders, hats, gloves and sunglasses are all essential gear. You’ll also need some good quality fishing luggage to get your fishing equipment to and from the water and an umbrella, seat and somewhere to store your bait at the waterside.

Fishing licenses and permits

A fishing rod licence is required to go coarse and game fishing in lakes, rivers and canals, but is not needed for the sea. You can get one from the Environment agency or a Post Office. If you fish without a licence, you’re breaking the law and you could be fined. So always buy one before you go and renew it when it expires. Some versions last for a year, some a few days and some just one day. The prices vary and your Post Office will have all the up to date information.


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