Monday, 21 February 2011 20:44

A beginners guide to game fishing


Beginners guide to game fishingGame Fishing Licences
In England (except the River Tweed), Wales and the Border Esk and its tributaries, anglers aged 12+, fishing for "game" fish, including salmon and trout, must hold a valid rod licence. A licence for game fishing also covers coarse fishing. Rod licences are available online from the Environment Agency website and from main Post Offices. A full-season licence, running from 1st April to 31st March will cost £72 for 2011-12, with concessions for juniors (16 or under) and over-65s. 8-day and 1-day licences are also available.

Basic Game Fishing Tackle

Beginners may be able to borrow a rod from an angling friend. Otherwise, tackle shops are generally staffed by keen anglers, who will be pleased to offer advice to novice anglers. For trout fishing, a single hand rod of about 10` should be ample, although salmon fly fishing will require at least 14`. Lightweight rods are a good idea and second-hand tackle can prove to be a great money-saver.

A relatively basic fixed spool reel is recommended for beginners. The spool should be deep and the line should glide smoothly. There are many inexpensive models available, but it is crucial that rod and reel balance well together.

Fishing line is available in several types, such as "floating," "sink" and "sink-tip." For the beginner, fly fishing in lakes and rivers, a floating line is easiest to lift from the water. Once casting proficiency improves, a sink-tip fly line allows flies to drop more quickly, whilst control over the line is maintained.

Tackle shops are a valuable source of advice on the best type(s) of flies to use, depending on the location and season.

Chest waders will keep an angler warm and dry. Rubber is the least expensive option, but Neoprene is very warm. A waterproof hat, with a brim so the neck remains dry, along with a scarf are wise inclusions in a fishing wardrobe.

Celebrated as a distinctive angling technique, fly fishing is an effective means of catching trout and salmon. Most novice anglers consider "dry" fly fishing the traditional method. However, "wet" fly fishing was used well before dry fly fishing was introduced, the technique dating back hundreds of years. Dry fly fishing requires a good degree of skill and practice, along with flies that precisely imitate aquatic food sources, in order to catch fish consistently. In contrast, wet fly fishing can produce immediate rewards for beginners, as it does not rely on good technique to hook decent fish. Rather than attempting to imitate a specific aquatic insect, wet flies mimic the various life stages of such insects, in motion, rather than merely floating with the current.

Good Places to Fish
Anglers should be aware that fishing for salmon and trout in the UK is restricted to the "open season" for each type of fish. Dates vary between rivers (early spring to late autumn) but season opening and closing dates should be checked before choosing a fishing venue. The upper stretch of Hampshire`s River Test is a chalk stream, renowned worldwide for the quality of its trout fly fishing. The River Cassley in Sutherland, in the Highlands of northern Scotland is noteworthy for its salmon and trout fishing. A fishing lodge provides fishing guides and vehicles to take anglers to an area of the south shore. No rod licence is required when using a guide. The River Eden that flows through Cumbria on its way to the Solway Firth is a wonderful game fishing location, as is the Border Esk, flowing through Scotland`s Eskdale Glen, in Dumfries and Galloway. The River Tweed, flowing primarily through the Borders region of Scotland, reaching the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed, is one of the great salmon rivers, but fishing is very expensive.

For anglers worldwide, there are plenty of bargains amongst last minute holidays.

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