The Basics

We all have to start somewhere, and we’re often asked ‘how do you get started’? Well, if you’ve recently asked that question, then read on, this section is for you.

Before you go out and buy the “best” think about what sort of fishing you are going to do, we have loads of people coming into the shop wanting the best gear, when all they really want is something to throw a lead out while they are holiday.

If you are going to take up sea fishing from the shorelines or rocks around the UK, and intend to do it more often than for 2 weeks a year, then you are best seeking advice from fellow anglers or your local tackle shop.

To start with you are going to need a Rod, Reel, line, and end tackle (hooks and weights etc). You can pick up a decent starter kit that will cover most types of fishing for as little as £45.00, this will include a Rod , Fixed Spool Reel and usually some line. Bear in mind, that you would be buying the most basic of equipment, if you can afford a little more then you are best spending it at the beginning, as you’ll improve quickly and soon want better equipment.

To go with your new rod and reel, you’ll need some end tackle. This generally comprises rigs and weights. Ready made rigs are available from most tackle shops and are manufactured by lots of companies such as Mustad, C Rigs etc. they cost around £1.25 and £2.50 each.

Once you have bought some ready made rigs you can then look at them and decide if you are going to make your own, all the components for rig making are available from tackle shops,and the person serving you, should be able to offer advice, there is a section on WSF showing the basic rigs.

Weights come in a variety of sizes and types. Heavier weights with grippers are used when tidal or river flow is strong, smaller smooth weights for where the flow is weaker. Most of the time you’ll be using the larger gripper style weights. The grippers bury themselves in the seabed, holding your rig in place.

Once you have your equipment it’s time to go and test it out. We suggest starting at a High Water mark, as they are generally safer. Casting is probably the hardest thing to come to terms with, attach a weight to your shock leader and have a few casts into the sea. Don’t bother with a rig, you only want to get the feel of your new rod and reel. It’s also easier to cast and retrieve into the sea than on a field, as your weight will likely bury itself in the ground and will be difficult to get out.

Once you have mastered your casting technique then it is time to attach the rig to your shock leader, most ready made rigs have a swivel at the top and can be connected using a suitable knot, or a connector attached to the shock leader which makes it a simple click action.

Bait up your rig with your chosen bait and then take a nice easy cast into the sea, don’t worry about the distance, just as long as it make it to the water! Wait a few seconds to allow the lead to sink and then tighten up your line, you will feel to pull on the lead as it grips in to the sea bed, don’t over tighten as this will pull the lead grips out.

If you have tightened up correctly then your rod tip will be slightly bent and your line will be tight. Keep an eye on the rod tip, as, if you notice several sharp dips in the tip, this indicates that you have a bite. Pick up your rod and lift the tip firmly – this is called a strike, and sets the hook in the fishes mouth.

Most fish will automatically go for cover at this point, so it is important that you reel in at a constant speed, this will keep your lead up in the water and away from snags as well as stopping the fish reaching cover.

Once you have your catch in your hand, it is important to remove the hook from the fish as fast as possible, depending on how far the fish has taken the hook, depend on how easy this task will be!

If the fish is just lip hooked then it is fairly simple to remove, however if it has taken the hook a little deeper then you may need forceps / long nose pliers / or a disgorger like the Gemini product or a T bar – ask in your tackle shop for information. It may also be that the fish has taken the hook so deep that it would be cruel to attempt to remove it, so cut the line as close to the eye of the hook as possible and then return the fish to the water. Most hooks will soon dissolve in the salt water and the fish will fight another day.

If you intend to keep your catch to eat, then please make yourself aware of the minimum sizes for each species, it is against the law to kill or remove fish that are undersize.