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Get Fishing - How to get into coarse fishing - Fishing in Wales

Get Fishing – How to get into coarse fishing

Coarse fishing is one of the most widespread types of angling in Wales. In this kind of fishing you try to catch fish in freshwater rather than the sea, and the fish are returned to the water instead of taking them for food.


About coarse fishing 

Coarse fishing is one of the most widespread types of angling in Wales. In this kind of fishing you try to catch fish in freshwater rather than the sea, and the fish are returned to the water instead of taking them for food. Most people live within a few miles of a freshwater canal, lake or pond where they can catch coarse fish after getting a fishing licence and permission or a ticket to fish from the fishery owner.

Here are some tips on how to get into coarse fishing…

Ask Your Tackle Shop 

Your local tackle shop will be able to give you advice about what tackle you will need to get into coarse fishing. Some expert anglers might spend hundreds of pounds on rods and reels, but you could buy a basic fishing setup for as little as £30. The key to getting started is to keep things really simple and try and get a friend or family member who has been fishing before to show you how to begin.

Join a Fishing Club 

Joining a local fishing club is a great way to learn how to fish and to get access to fishing venues near to you. A lot of fishing clubs will arrange fishing sessions for new or young anglers. If you are interested in competitive match fishing where you might win prizes, your local coarse angling club will be able to help you get started. You can find angling clubs in Wales here.

Fishing Licences 

If you are over the age of 12 you need to have a fishing licence to go fishing in rivers, canals, lakes, pools and streams in Wales. You can get your rod fishing licence from the Environment Agency & NRW at:

Note: rod licences for 13 to 16 year olds in Wales are FREE but you still need to register.

coarse fishing Wales

Find a Venue Near to You 

You can find information about Welsh coarse fishing venues on the ‘Fishing In Wales’ website. Once you have found a place to fish fishery owners are usually very helpful and can give you great tips and advice.

Coarse Fish Species 

There are many species of coarse fish commonly fished for in Wales, but the most popular targets for anglers are carp, bream, barbel, pike, perch, roach, rudd, tench, dace, chub and eels. When you go coarse fishing it is important to remember that there are bylaws protecting the size and type of fish you could keep, nearly every coarse fishing venue will not allow you to take fish away with you and you must return the fish you catch to the water. If you want to catch fish to eat then it is better to try sea fishing or game fishing.

Coarse fishing techniques – the basics 

The main techniques used in coarse fishing are pole and whip fishing, lure fishing, float fishing, and ledgering. Different rods, reels and tackle are used for each technique. The info below will give you an idea about how to start fishing, or explain a bit about the type of fishing you might have seen other people doing.

Pole and Whip fishing: Poles and whips are a kind of fishing rod made of very light carbon fibre material which can be up to 16 metres long. Instead of using a reel, your line is attached to a short piece of elastic at the tip of the pole/whip. Whips are shorter versions of poles and are a great way to get started in coarse fishing as they are inexpensive and very simple to use. Pole and whip fishing makes it possible for you to place your bait gently and accurately in a particular spot. This causes less disturbance to the fish and means you’ll have greater control over the line.

Lure fishing: This technique uses a lure which is pulled through the water to imitate a small fish, worm or other creature that some species of fish eat or attack. Like whip fishing, lure fishing is easy and simple to get into. You don’t need much time or tackle to go lure fishing and a short lure fishing rod and small reel, along with a few soft-rubber lures and hooks are an inexpensive, lightweight and simple way to get into fishing. Pike, perch and Chub will take lures.

Float fishing: This involves using a “float” made of cork, wood or plastic. The float is attached to the line above the baited hook. When a fish picks up the bait the float moves so that you know you’ve got a bite.

Ledgering: When ledgering a weight is used to sink the bait to the bottom of the water. When you get a bite from a fish this is indicated by twitching on the rod tip or by an electronic bite alarm. A swim feeder can be used on the line instead of a weight – it’s a small container full of bait which helps to attract fish to the area.

Essential kit: As well as basic tackle you’ll need a landing net and a disgorger or a pair of forceps (which are small pliers) to remove a hook from a fishes mouth. Fish care is an important consideration, more on that here. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses or some other type of eye protection – polarised sunglasses can make it easier to see the fish you are trying to catch. A hat, waterproof jacket and weatherproof shoes are a good idea too. If you are fishing for predator fish like pike, perch and eels use a wire trace to attach your hook – this stops any fish with sharp teeth biting through your line.

Want to know more?

For more information on starting coarse fishing check out our feeder fishing guide and our guide to tackling commercial fisheries.

Thanks to Get Fishing for help with this page. Get Fishing is the Angling Trust’s campaign to get more people fishing more often and spread awareness about the physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits of angling –