Sunday, 06 March 2011 14:14

Beginners guide to predator fishing in the UK


New to predator fishing? Need some advice or help on fishing for pike, perch or zander? Well that's what this article on predator fishing is designed to achieve. We hope our beginners' guides to fishing help set you on the road to a lifetime of fishing. If you would like to comment on any of the articles or submit one of your own, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Beginners guide to predator fishing in the UKRequired Licences for predator fishing
Any angler aged 12 or over must have a "Non-Migratory Trout and Coarse Rod" Fishing Licence to fish for pike, perch and zander, in England, Wales and Scotland. Licences, which run from 1st April to 31st March, can be bought from the Environment Agency website, by telephone or at any Post Office.

Basic Techniques
UK predator species prey predominantly on other fish, so the chief techniques use live / dead fish or artificial lures that are similar to the prey fish. The chosen method is really a matter of personal preference, but lures tend to catch more fish, whilst real fish catch larger fish.

Basic Tackle
Regardless of the method employed, angling for predatory fish requires some essential items. The sharp teeth of pike and zander cut easily through monofilament and braided nylon line. A 10" wire trace should be used for both species. Wire cutters prove very useful if a fish is hooked awkwardly or hooks become caught in a landing net, requiring the trace to be cut. An ordinary "spoon" landing net will be too small for pike. A large, specialist landing net with a 6` handle and 3` folding arms is ideal.

Lure Fishing
For a beginner, an 8` rod with a casting weight of 15-40g is ample to cast general-purpose lures and control substantial fish. Newcomers will probably do best with a fixed spool reel, as the correct setup of multipliers is tricky. A small, lightweight front drag reel is ideal but a rear drag model will be adequate. Braided line is the best choice for beginners, as its thinness allows for easy casting and its lack of stretch allows for good lure control and easy bite indication.

Bait Fishing
A 2.5lb carp rod is a good start, being adequate for casting small fish bait. However, bigger baits and longer casting require a specialist 3lb test curve pike rod. Carp reels are also adequate for predator fishing. The spool size is critical though, as a 30lb braided mainline is required. A large, free spool reel is adequate, but extra-large specialist reels have huge spools.

Recommended UK predator fishing venues

Chew Valley Reservoir
Situated about 5 miles south of Bristol, Avon, this reservoir is one of England`s most prolific big pike waters. It has been responsible for several specimens exceeding 30lb, to bank and boat anglers, with the largest weighing in at 40lb 8oz. However, potential visitors should be aware that pike fishing is limited to particular dates so advance booking is essential.

Tring Reservoirs
Amongst England`s most renowned fisheries, the Tring Reservoirs are about 13 miles from Luton. Marsworth Reservoir occupies 40 acres, with the dam wall providing easy access for bank anglers, with pike to 20lb and perch. The Startops Reservoir is more difficult, but larger fish compensate. The majority of the 120 acres comprising the nearby Wilstone Reservoir cannot be fished, making this a very difficult water. However, with recently caught perch from 5-6lb and pike to 30lb, the effort is evidently worthwhile.

Lake Windermere
Perch, carp, chub and catfish provide good pickings for the senior predator, making pike the premier target at the Cumbrian venue, with 20-30lb specimens. Anglers seeking accommodation near the largest lake in England should find Lake District cottages ideal.

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