Category: coarse fishing lessons

Before the lockdown

Arriving for a coarse fishing lesson I found cold, clear conditions. There had been a frost overnight and I was worried the fish would be slow to respond. In fact I caught roach straight away. In the middle of winter I think it would have been different, but with spring kicking into life the fish were becoming more active.

Spring morning by the lake

When Jessica and Jana turned up, one of the first things they learned to do was bait the hook with maggots. This required concentration at first:

Baiting the hook

They were soon both catching roach using whips (short rods with no reel):

Jessica's roach
Jana's roach

They then had to unhook them. It is important to handle fish with wet hands (warm, dry hands damage the fish by removing their protective slime), so I always have buckets of water handy:

Unhooking a roach

The disgorger is essential for extracting the hook when it is inside the fish’s mouth, out of reach of your fingers. It is best to practice first using a towel in place of a fish, as Jessica is doing here:

Using a disgorger

Once we have unhooked and admired our fish, we return it carefully to the water. A gentle lob is OK with small ones, but keep low so as not to scare any which still lurk uncaught nearby:

Returning a fish to the water

Next we had a look at how to set up a rod and reel. First we attached the reel to the rod:

Setting up rod and reel
Setting up rod and reel

Then we threaded the line through the guides:

Threading the line up the rod

Jana did a dry land exercise on how to bring in a fish (played by Jessica!) without it breaking the line:

Learning to play a fish

Then Jessica had a go. It takes time to learn how to handle a rod and reel, but these exercises at least give you an idea what to do when a large, powerful fish takes hold.

Learning to play a fish

After that we spent some time waggler fishing with the rod and reel. My pupils both got the hang of casting and controlling the line, in fairly difficult crosswind conditions, and caught a few more roach. We finished off by learning some knots:

Knot tying

By the end of the session we were basking in the first properly warm conditions this year. Unfortunately the virus lockdown started the next day and I had to postpone all my bookings. Let’s hope we can soon get back out on the banks.

Skill development

Maria and her son Max came for a lesson. They had been fishing a couple of times already but were looking to improve their skills.

They started off learning to ‘plumb the depth’ using a plummet. This is a weight that can be quickly attached to the hook:

Boy with plummet

Next they needed to bait the hook – here Max has got the maggot on just right, with the point of the hook standing clear:

Baiting with maggot

With these preliminaries sorted, it didn’t take him long to start catching perch, so then he needed to master the art of unhooking them:

Unhooking a perch

Maria started fishing with the whip in the next spot along. Her first fish was a roach:

Whip fishing
Maria's roach

We moved on to rod and reel, learning how to cast and wind in (and deal with tangles – this was useful as they had had some problems with this before):

Learning to cast
Learning to cast
Learning to cast

As always, it was a bit harder to catch fish on rod and reel as compared to the whip, but it provided plenty of good casting practice. After a while, Max had his first fish on this method:

Roach on waggler

They are now all set to go fishing again. With their improved skills they should be able to enjoy themselves catching fish while staying tangle-free.

All ages can fish together

Hedley and his grandson Sebbie came along for a coarse fishing lesson. Hedley used to fish matches back in the 70s, whereas Sebbie was a complete beginner (one of many youngsters inspired to try fishing by TV programs such as Chasing Monsters).

They were soon in action with the whips:

Grandad fishing
Grandson fishing

The roach were being very finicky and there were many missed bites and some quiet spells, but they caught a few:

Roach for grandad
Sebbie's roach

Sebbie learned to cast with a rod and reel and managed one roach on this method:

Sebbie fishing with rod and reel

He then went back to the whip for more roach and this nice perch:

Sebbie's perch

Hedley was finding angling to be just as enjoyable as it ever was, even after a 40 year layoff:

Hedley fishing

In the afternoon I was joined by Sam and his son Hector, back for another session after trying fishing for the first time with me back in May.

The fishing was even slower now and after a while Hector asked if we could try the river. It turned out to be a good idea. He had bites straight away from minnows:

Hector's minnow

Then he had some chub and dace:

Small chub
Small dace

Towards the end he caught a cracking dace (no picture unfortunately) and a decent roach:

Hector's roach
Roach

Sam had been a bystander so far, but had a quick go with the whip and immediately had a dace (not as big as Hector’s, I should point out!):

Sam's dace

It was going to be Hector’s birthday the next day. I understood from Sam that a set of fishing tackle was the main present this enthusiastic young angler was going to receive.

It had been great seeing the different generations enjoying fishing together.

Sam and Hector fishing
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