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How To Become Successful At Coarse Fishing

Getting started

Success at fishing requires several key points and with practice anybody can achieve. If you have never been coarse fishing before then I will try to simplify how easy it can be, or… how frustrating it can be.

You have to remember that as you are” pitting your wits against nature” there is never a right or wrong way to go about catching fish and some days it may prove more difficult than others.

If all the answers to fishing were easy, then fishing would lose its mystery and intrigue and become like many other sports. Now I am not saying other sports don’t need a great amount of knowledge and skill to perform, far from it. I am saying that fishing can be very unpredictable and to become successful most of the time, you have to adapt your skills for the changing seasons and environment, each venue could act very differently from one day to the next or even by the hour.

It is the angler who can recognize the changing moods of the weather and how the fish are responding to feed who will be the most successful.

There are anglers who will stick to one or two methods and fish for several hours without a bite with the belief that the fish will turn up. Sometimes this can be a good policy as some fish are definitely worth waiting for.

Other anglers are not as patient and want or need to be active, These anglers are always trying different baits, casting to or fishing different areas of the lake searching for fish. They also make small adjustments to shotting patterns to help present the bait in a slightly different way.


Like any sport or recreational hobby choosing the right tackle could make or break whether you are successful when you go fishing. Choosing your tackle wisely dependent on which species of fish you wish to target will help you achieve your goals. Some fish will require a more delicate approach using very thin lines, small floats and tiny shot. Other fish will require more robust fishing tackle as they are much larger or harder fighting fish.

Choose your fish

If you take a single-minded approach and try to target one type of fish then your energies can be more focused on which baits are best, the tackle you need, how the fish feeds and where it tends to be located in the water. A little research before setting out to catch your prize is often a good policy. Keeping your decisions as

A Roach caught with pellets

Study, then put into practice

When I was a teenager I started to read more into fishing on my local canal and with the help of “Match Fishing magazines” I simply followed the relevant information on canal fishing. Each month there was a new article about a different approach to fishing with a specific bait.

One month it was fishing for roach with bread. As I read the article on bread fishing I was amazed at how many ways you could fish with bread on the hook and how to prepare bread as loose feed. As this approach is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to catch roach I read more into it and whenever I got the chance to go fishing all I did was fish with bread. This allowed me to become more successful at catching Roach and have a deeper understanding on how they feed and behave. This has helped me greatly when entering local fishing matches when Roach have been the target species or even when other species have failed to show.

One of the main reasons why I practiced was due to the fact that I was eagerly awaiting the next monthly fishing magazine. The following month I would do the same again and learn as much as I could about the next bait and method. Once you have read and digested several articles worth of information on different baits and techniques then you should have good sound knowledge on what to do on the banking. If one method doesn’t work like you want it to, you can change your target species or target another area of your swim.


Concentrating on watching a tiny float bristle or rod tip for a few hours can be difficult and your mind can wander especially if you are not getting bites. You need to keep warm and dry with suitable clothing especially in the winter months.

Recently I have invested in a heated jacket which I use underneath my waterproof outer jacket. This has helped me to stay warm and also more alert when competing against other anglers in matches.  Keeping hydrated is also very important for helping concentration levels. If you are finding it more and more difficult to see your float tip, you can always fish a little closer, use a slightly thicker tip or modern HiViz, or not shot your float too low in the water.

To keep alert and ready for the next bite……………. “you have to believe you are going to get a bite”. This may sound simple logic to many but it is quite easy to think about your next meal, what happened at work recently, or are they catching on the other side of the lake, …………….. then the float pops up!…. Missed bite!

A very slight bend in the tip

Fail to prepare……. Prepare to fail!

I have heard this said many, many times and regarding fishing this is so true. Most very good anglers will have a mixed variety of fishing tackle of all descriptions. Floats of all shapes and sizes that can be used for the ever-changing conditions of the weather, the water surface and even the under tow which can effect bait presentation. A good assortment of hooks, line and shot is also needed to give the angler the option to target the different sizes and species of fish.

You can prepare your tackle at home by tying your own hook lengths and store them in a hook length box, MAP manufacture a very good range of products to keep all your hook lengths tidy and in order. Preparing pole floats on winders can save time on the banking when setting your gear up and if you are lucky enough to have a fish tank in your home or shotting tube then floats can be dotted down to a mere pimple to aid sensitivity, there is also a neutral buoyancy tool called a “dosapiombo” shotting tool, this can be used in a 2ltr pop bottle with the top cut off with a float inserted onto it then shot added. Pole top kits can be elasticated at home and set soft so that the elastic just creeps back into the tip.

It’s always a good idea to keep a check on what tackle you do have available in your box and keep on top of it so you don’t get caught out without it on the bank. There is nothing worse than forgetting a vital piece of equipment especially when the fish are really having it!

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t catch

Fishing has a special habit of not going the way you expect it to. You can prepare your bait, tackle, you can also gain local knowledge of the water you are going to fish and whether others have been catching recently.

If you don’t catch when you go fishing don’t beat yourself up and think you have failed. You are just missing a piece of the fishing puzzle. Sometimes after a fishing session you can start to go over and over what you may have done wrong. If you fished the wrong bait, wrong size hook, put too much feed in, or not enough, even fished at the wrong depth. This way of thinking doesn’t help you to prepare for the next fishing trip.

A good idea is to remember the key points when you were successful and caught well and make a note of your findings. This could be in the form of a notebook or journal which can be used to record details such as the weather conditions, temperature, bait used, location, weight caught, or method used. Sometimes previous results can be used as a guide to how well certain water has responded to a particular type of weather or bait. Recently caught weights could be used as a target weight for the following season.

Experience is definitely the best teacher and the more an angler practices different methods, the more he or she will gain an overall feel for how the fish will react on a given day and be able to change his or her approach accordingly.

I hope that next time you are out on the bank that you can become more successful and up your catch rate each time.

Keep thinking!………..Keep catching!

Good luck all

Mick C



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