The traditional image conjured up of fishing is that of a fisherman sat like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn on the water’s edge, endlessly waiting in anticipation of a fish taking the bait. But fishing has evolved a great deal since then. Coarse fishing in particular has become extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
Angling methods vary widely depending on the type of fish being sought and on the conditions on the day. A very windy day may reduce the possibility of successful float fishing, while a strong current may make it desirable that the bait is sunk quickly and held at its intended fishing spot before the current has the chance to take it downstream. The best place for a beginner to start is in a still water, where there is no current.
The coarse angler has a number of decisions to make and the methods he or she employs will seriously affect the chances of a successful day’s fishing.
There are many intricate methods for catching coarse fish, but the most basic methods to be used by the beginner are as follows:
This is the method most beginners start with. A float is held in place by shots (weights) and its position can be altered to vary the depth at which the bait is presented. Some fish feed on the bottom floor of the water, in which case the bait needs to be on the bottom, with the float given sufficient distance from the bait to allow it to be seen above the water. Other fish (often smaller species) will feed closer to the surface so the bait may only need to be a short distance away from the float.
The float helps support the baited hook, and any weight which may be attached, above the bed of the water being fished. A float gives a clear indication of when the fish is in contact with the bait, with the slightest touch often being registered with the movement of the float. A firm ‘take’ of the bait by the fish will see the float disappear out of sight, even if just momentarily. That is the point when the angler should ‘strike’ (pull in an upwards or sideways motion) with the rod to ensure the fish is firmly hooked.
Legering in fishing
Generally speaking, this is a coarse fishing method in which a larger weight is attached to the line and nearer the hook bait. The weight will carry the bait to the bottom of the water and allow the angler to place and keep his bait in the exact spot he requires (providing your casting is accurate). More often than not, legering is used without a float, with a bite being registered on a bite alarm, or even a sensitive tip on the end of the rod which will visibly be seen to move when a bite is registered. There are various methods for legering with the tactics employed being varied the more experienced the angler becomes.
This is the simplest and probably most exciting form of fishing and requires the angler to attach only a hook and some floating bait (usually a tempting crust of bread) to his/her line and nothing else. The bait will be presented on the surface of the water where it will float. The intention is to tempt a fish to the surface to take the bread and the angler simply has to keenly watch the bait to see if a fish is showing any interest. This is a tactic often best employed on a hot day when the fish may be basking in the sun on the surface.
A fishing pole is a simple yet effective method of starting out in that it involves no reel. Poles vary in size from around 3m up to a whopping great 20m. Poles are either ‘telescopic’ or in separate sections with ‘put over’ joints which are put together to extend the pole to the desired length. Most are made of carbon fibre making them lightweight and easy to handle even in blustery conditions.
The line is attached to the tip of the pole which has a length of elastic running through its top section which provides resistance to the fish when it takes the bait. Elastics come in varying strengths depending on the size of the fish you intend to catch. The ‘number’ of an elastic refers to the breaking strain in pounds. They range from No. 1 (smallest), to No. 20 (largest). The diameter of the elastic increases as it gets bigger. Different poles only allow for different elastic sizes. In other words, fishing with too high an elastic could result in the pole breaking before the elastic does.
The benefit of pole fishing is that it enables the angler to place their bait in the exact spot they wish to, it could be a position under trees or near reeds which would be difficult to reach with a traditional rod and reel approach.
Other methods are open to the angler such as using lures to tempt predatory fish, but these are best left until a greater degree of experience has been gained.