Over the past year or so we have seen an increase in the number of people wanting or taking their children fishing for the first time. Fishing is a fantastic way for everyone to enjoy and learn about the countryside as well as the rivers, canal and streams that run through urban towns and cities. All of which can be, and are, a haven for wildlife.
So were to start.
First things first – rod licence’s. Children under the age of 12 do not need a rod licence. From the ages of 12 to 16 children will need a junior rod licence, this is free and a available online from Get your free junior rod licence
If you yourself are not actually fishing, but you use your child’s rod to cast etc then you actually need a rod licence. Find out more
Where to go.
There are lots of places that are easily accessible, but my recommendation would be to find a local day ticket fishery. Many of these will have good facilities like toilets and sometimes a cafe, plus good parking. You can find fisheries that I’d recommend and are local to our shop here or to find fisheries local to you have a look here.
So – you’ve got your rod licence, you’ve an idea of where you’d like to go for the day but what about kit?
Getting started with fishing tackle.
As you can well imagine there is a massive array of fishing tackle whether it be for sea fishing, coarse fishing or fly fishing.
We have been talking about coarse fishing, or some may call it fresh water fishing. This category covers many of our inland waters like lakes, canals and rivers. Apart from small game fisheries.
So what tackle would I recommend.
You can actually start fishing for very little but! Yes there are cheap rods, reels or fishing sets out there some are OK, but most I’m afraid are not. It’s all about having the right tool, or good enough tool for the job. However, this doesn’t mean spending lots more money. Getting it right however will help you enjoy a day out fishing, instead of getting completely frustrated giving up and never going again.
If you’ve never cast a line before I would recommend an elasticated fishing pole / whip. These can cost less than £20 and are normally around 4 mtr long and perfect for children and adult anglers. With no reel there is little to no tangles, plus you won’t have to worry about learning to cast like you do with a reel and line.
I would highly recommend a pre elasticated pole / whip over and above a non elasticated one. The elastic will help act as a shock absorber when a fish runs it will stretch the elastic. With no elastic you are relying on the skill of the angler to control the run and unfortunately with no give from the elastic something has to! This can quite easily be the top of your whip, leaving the fish to swim around dragging it behind it.
Next you’ll need a landing net and handle, always look for a fishery approved net. These are easy to spot as they’ll have approval labels on them. You can find a good net and handle that will last you a life time for around £20.
Many day ticket / commercial type fisheries will stipulate the use of an unhooking mat, what resembles a baby changing mat, it is used on the ground to protect any fish from being placed on the ground. Just like you would when changing a babies nappy. Unhooking mats are worth having even if you’re only fishing on a river or canal. They even make a useful cushion to kneel and sit on. For around £11 will get you an unhooking mat.
We have our rod, landing net and handle plus an unhooking mat we’re nearly there. You’ll need a plummet to measure the depth and a discorger or a small pair of forceps for easy hook removal. Just bait and an actual float / rig to fish with. Oh don’t forget a picnic, you can’t go fishing with out a picnic.
Lets get down to the actual fishing bit shall we
You can buy the actual floats (rigs) pre-set up and ready to go. For around £3.99 pre made rigs come with the float already set up on line with weights (shot) and a hook, so all you need to do is attach it to your pole or whip measure the depth and start fishing. Measure the depth?? (We’ll cover that bit later or jump ahead here). There are lots of pre tied rigs to choose from and good ones will come with a very useful information card explaining what each different rig is set up for. Some are best for maggots, some pellets, all (unless stated) will have barbless hooks.
I would recomend finding a pre made rig with either an 18 or 16 sized hook, these being ideal for fishing with maggots. Note that some commercial fisheries will have rules on what baits can not be used. Many don’t allow bread and meats, I don’t think I’ve come across one that doesn’t allow maggots. Another plus for maggots for the novice angler is just about anything that swims will eat them. Want to no more about different rigs? Find out more here.
Keeping things simple
It’s all too easy to get really lost and confused in the world of fishing with so much information readily available online, but I find that much of this is more aimed at someone that is already an angler.
To have an enjoyable day’s fishing all you need is the basics as we talked about above. An elasticated whip, a pre tied rig, a plummet, a landing net and handle, a unhooking mat and a disgorger, plus a rod licence and any permits or day tickets. Oh and not to forget some bait. A flask of tea never hurt either.
By far the most productive bait’s are maggots, but don’t discount using simple things like sweetcorn. Sweetcorn can be deadly on many commercial type waters.
As you can imagine this is a huge subject, and can fry the brain a bit so my other simple bit of advice would be pop in and see us at Soar Tackle in Kegworth. We’d be more than happy to talk and show you through a few simple things to get you and the kids enjoying fishing.