Coarse fishing

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Coarse fishing
The most popular form of freshwater fishing in the United Kingdom & Mainland Europe, and has many different forms.

The 3 main types of coarse fishing are:

  • Pleasure Angling: Going out to enjoy a relaxing day's fishing, trying to catch anything that comes by without putting too much effort in, with anything caught being a bonus.
  • Match angling: This is where anglers (either in clubs, or as individual entrants) gather together at a venue to catch as many fish as possible in an alloted period of time. Contests are held at local, regional, national and international levels. Some famous names from the past and present in this field of the sport include Bob Nudd, Kevin Ashurst, Alan Scotthorne.
  • Specimen hunting: The aim with this type of coarse fishing is to specifically target a chosen species of fish, in order to weigh and photograph it when you catch a personal best. The main target species for this branch of coarse fishing include carp, pike, zander, barbel, chub, perch and Wels catfish.

It is generally recommended that beginners leave this area of coarse fishing alone for a couple of years until they've mastered catching the smaller fish, as those who indulge in "specimen fishing" often go for days, weeks, months or longer without a bite. Some specimen anglers get so obsessed that they spend days or weeks at a time camping by the waterside waiting for that "fish of a lifetime", often to the point where their Wives send legal forms to get a divorce in their direction.

Target Species

The main target species for this type of angling include:

  • Carp: Wild Carp / King Carp / Common Carp / Crucian Carp
  • Pike (Esox Lucius)
  • Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca)
  • Barbel (Barbus barbus)
  • Chub (Leuciscus cephalus)
  • Perch (Perca fluviatilis)
  • Bream ("Abramis brama" + "Blicca bjoerkna")
  • Roach (Rutilus rutilus)
  • Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)
  • Tench (Tinca Tinca)
  • Dace (Leuciscus leucisus)
  • Orfe / Ide (Leuciscus idus)
  • Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis)

Several lesser species are also covered by coarse fishing, such as Gudgeon (Gobio gobio) and Bleak (Alburnus alburnus).


Pole Fishing - Almost a hi-tech version of fishing with a garden cane and a piece of string, except the pole is made from Carbon fibre (except in the case of cheaper ones intended for children & beginners) and can be anything up to and over 41 ft in length. Used mainly to present delicate rigs at great accuracy, and primarily a Match fishing technique, but beginning to become popular with the amateurs. The rig is usually attached to the pole with a special elastic, which acts as a Shock absorber.

Float Fishing
The more familiar method of bait fishing with Rod & line, using a float (sometimes referred to as a "bobber" elsewhere) to both act as a bite indicator & help present the bait at different depths.
There are many different floats available, with many weird & wonderful names, intended for various situations (such as Stillwater or River, slow flowing or fast flowing, etc.).
A "Float" or "Match" rod is commonly used, between 12–14 ft long in conjunction with a "fixed spool" reel. Often on faster flowing rivers, a "Centre pin" reel (which looks a bit like a fly fishing reel, but isn't) is used instead in order to "trot" a bait downstream with accurate control.
Legering is where the float is substituted for a weight, in order to either get more casting distance, fish the bait on the bottom, or get it down to the bottom of the River / Lake / Pond faster. The weight is often swapped for a plastic device (with a weight moulded onto it) called a "feeder" / "Swimfeeder" in order to build up a "carpet" of free samples near your hook in order to attract the fish.

Recommended further reading

John Bailey's Complete guide to Freshwater Fishing (New Holland Publishing) - ISBN 1843305674
The Complete Encyclopedia of Fishing ISBN 0754813754
The Practical Guide to Coarse Fishing (contains content from the above)
The NEW Encyclopedia of Fishing (DK Publishing) ISBN 0751339733

External links