Coarse fishing

Coarse fishing is an angling method, mostly popular throughout the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.


The term "coarse fishing" originated in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century. Prior to that time, recreational fishing was a sport of the gentry, who angled for salmon and trout which they called "game fish". Other fish were disdained as "coarse fish".

Tackle and technique

Depending on the situation, different types of tackle can be used. Most common is the rod and reel, the rod being typically between 10 and long, and manufactured of tubular carbon fibre. A reel is then attached near the base of the rod to hold a long length of line, which is run to the tip of the rod through eyelets. Once cast out, the line can be retrieved by winding a handle on the reel.

However, the use of "poles" is also now widespread. Here, the line is fixed to the very tip of the rod, with no reel used- in order to retrieve the line, the pole itself is taken apart until the line can be swung to hand. Because the line cannot be cast, poles are often very long in order to increase the angler's range- up to 16 metres.

The main techniques used are float fishing and legering.

  • In float fishing, the bait is suspended beneath a float made of hollow plastic, wood or quill. The top of the float is usually painted a bright colour and bites are indicated by the top of the float dipping under the surface of the water.
  • Legering does not use floats. Instead the bait is held on the bottom of the lake or river by a sinker or large weight. Bites are detected by watching the quiver tip of the rod for movement, or with the use of electronic bite alarms, and more advanced tackle such as Polyvinyl alcohol bags, or mesh.

Groundbait is usually thrown into the water to attract fish to the area. Typical baits include nightcrawlers, maggots, bread and sweet corn. Lately, advancements in technology and market competitiveness has led to many types of other ingredients being introduced, including chemicals, such as betaine, that stimulate the feeding response in fish. Boilies are popular baits for carp fishing.


The nature of coarse fishing varies with the dedication and attitude of the angler:

  • Pleasure angling: Anglers go 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: Anglers, in angling clubs or as individual entrants, gather together at a venue to catch as many fish as possible in an allotted period of time. Contests are held at local, regional, national and international levels.
  • 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. Some dedicated specimen anglers spend weeks camping by the waterside waiting for that "fish of a lifetime".

Target species

The main target species for this type of angling include:

Several lesser species are also covered by coarse fishing, such as gudgeon and bleak. See rough fish for an equivalent American term. Trout may also be caught using coarse fishing tactics.



  • Cooper, Dave (2004) First Class Fishing Fishing Magic.
  • Lowerson, John (1993) Sport and the English middle classes, 1870-1914. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719037778
  • Tranter, Neil (1998) Sport, Economy and Society in Britain 1750-1914. Page 101. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052157217

Further reading

  • Bailey, John (2008) Where to Coarse Fish in Britain and Ireland. New Holland Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-1845379346
  • Partner, Steve (2007) Coarse Fishing Basics. ISBN 978-0753715864

External links

Search another word or see Coarse_fishingon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature