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  • Writer's pictureAlex Oldfield

Carp and Coarse Fishing

Updated: Jan 28


An angler enjoying coarse fishing on a river

There are over 20 species of coarse fish commonly targeted by anglers in the UK, of which the most popular are Carp, Roach, Perch, Bream, Rudd, Tench, Barbel, Chub, and Pike.

Coarse fishing is different from game fishing in that coarse fishing is a hobby undertaken for entertainment, whereas Game fishing is usually for anglers attempting to catch a fish for the table, Coarse fish are on the whole inedible owing to their large, hard scales and tough meat.

Carp is right up there among the most commonly fished species, whether you are fishing a natural stretch of water or a commercial fishery a Carp can give you quite a fight when trying to land your fish, mostly fished for in the summer months when they are easier to see, as during the winter months their feeding habits and metabolism slow down considerably due to the drop in water temperature.

Barbel are generally more prolific in the summer months and early autumn, These slender brownish grey fish are characterised by the four barbels (whisker-like features) situated at the corners of the mouth of this fish, these are used to help the fish locate food.

Early morning fishing can produce catches of Bream, these slender silver specimens are more active at this time of day.

Pike can be caught all year round, pike are ambush predators lurking in the margins waiting for their prey to swim by, these fish have formidable jaws lined with extremely sharp teeth, and the summer months are when these predators are more easily caught.


Choosing your bait for coarse fishing. There is a broad variety of baits for the angler to choose from.

Maggots are by far the cheapest baits and certainly produce consistent results with many fish species.

We stock red and white maggots, different venues will produce different results so if you go armed with both colours you can experiment with individual colours or a red and white cocktail.

Floating a simple piece of bread on the water can attract Carp and other species, especially when it is warm and sunny and you can see fish feeding on the surface.

Cheese is also used with great results, the stinkier the better!

Sweetcorn is popular with some anglers it can be bought in a variety of colours with a range of added flavourings. Always check if you are at a commercial fishery as rules about baits differ, some commercial fisheries have strict rules on bait use.

Specially manufactured prepared baits include boilies which come in a wide range of flavours and can be used to attract larger species such as carp.

The tackle you will need

Fishing rod and reel, If you are new to coarse fishing we can help you with your choice of rod, Choose one you are comfortable with the feel of, we stock a wide range of rods suitable for coarse fishing to suit all budgets. Matching your rod with the correct fixed spool reel is also important as is choosing the right fishing line, some reels come ready loaded with line.

For hooks the simplest most convenient choice is hooks to nylon, These are ready-tied rigs that you connect to your main fishing line, and barbless hooks are the ideal choice for ease of hooking and unhooking and the protection of the fish.

A landing net is crucial to getting your fish out of the water, We have landing nets in a range of sizes all made from durable fish-friendly material to prevent damage to the fish.

Floats are available in a range of styles and sizes, the float allows you to suspend your bait in the water and see where it is.

There are many more items you can add to your fishing setup along with the basics we have mentioned.

There is a range of techniques employed that depend on the level of the angler's experience and the venue you are fishing.

Float fishing is a technique ideal for beginners.

The depth of your float length will depend on the depth of the water you are fishing and the height in the water column that the fish are feeding at.

Using float stops the length of line beneath your float can easily be altered by sliding the stops up or down your line till you find the correct depth.

Legering is another coarse fishing technique often employed by more experienced anglers, ledgering requires heavy weights that keep the fishing line fixed.

Free lining or loose lining is a very basic technique where bait is attached to the hook and the angler strikes to set the hook once the fish has taken the bait, This requires the angler to be very attentive to his line in the water.

Whether you fish with a rod and reel or a pole, whichever technique you choose, in the end, it's all down to practice.

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