2019 - New Years Resolution - Learn To Fish

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Over the last 11 years, throughout the school summer holiday's I have been holding 'Introduction to Fishing' classes for the youngsters on the park, but it soon became apparent that their chaperones whether it be mum's, dad's, grandparents or brother's and sister's were all loving being by the lake in some lovely weather watching the float going under and the look on the youngster's faces as they caught there first fish. So engrossed did some of the 'oldies' get they insisted on 'sharing' the fishing gear and catching some fish themselves!

In this months and February's blog I will be giving you some basics, tips and tricks to get the whole family out on the bank particularly when the park opens in April. It needn't cost a fortune and once you have a few items of gear you can all get out on the bank not only enjoying the thrill of catching some fish but also being outdoors and learning about nature and the environment.


Fishing really can be a family affair

Environment Agency Fishing Rod Licence

Any person over 16 years old must be in possession of a 'rod licence' in order to legally fish with a rod and line! This applies to any freshwater venue in the land and even applies to private waters including Cosgrove Park. These can be obtained for a fee in a 1-day, 8-day and season (12 months) licence either at any post office or online www.get-fishing-licence.service.gov.uk 

Technically a fishing rod licence allows an angler to use up to 2 rods at one time.

The good news is that youngsters 12 years and under DONOT need a rod licence. For budding young anglers between 13 and 16 years old they DO need a rod licence obtained online (as above) - but THEY ARE FREE!

It may be tempting to fish on the park without a licence but on several occasions in the last few years Environment Agency bailiffs have visited the park to check licences and you can be fined up to £2500 if caught fishing without a licence.

I always carry my credit card sized 12 month (2018-2019) fishing rod licence with me


When it comes to coarse fishing the choice of tackle and fishing styles is totally bewildering. Visit any tackle shop and its like Aladdin's cave with gear hanging on the walls and strange smelling bags of bait everywhere! You'll hear talk of carp gear, feeder tackle, float rods, poles up to 16m in length. Where do you start?

You just need a few basic techniques to get some bites and catch some fish that will form the basis of all your and your family's future success. Of course a lot of family's have anglers in them already whether it be grandads, uncles, dads or whoever - make the most of there experience, I'm sure they would love to take you out fishing especially when the weather gets better in the spring. For Christmas I gave my grandchildren a 'promise' voucher to take them fishing again as soon as the weather is warm enough!

One of my grandsons showing his prowess with a pole to my wife Claire

When it comes to basic fishing gear especially for youngsters and people that want to try angling for the first time you have to walk before you can run. I always follow the - 'Keep It Simple Stupid' principle! Forget so called starter kits and especially rods and reels to start with, stick with the most basic fishing gear of all and that is a pole particularly what experienced anglers know as a 'whip'! This is a cheap fibreglass pole with a very flexible tip. They come in several different lengths from 3m to 6m. For youngsters up to 8 years stick to 3m, from 8 years to 11 years a 4m would be fine and anglers older than that you could try one of 5m. These poles should cost you less than £15.

Don't think for one moment that this is kids gear. What everybody needs now is bites from small fish in order to gain experience in good basic angling techniques such as mounting baits and fish handling! In my match gear I carry two different length 'whips' because they are the most efficient small fish rods you can get.

The most basic of all rods - a telescopic 4m 'whip'

What Else Do You Need?

Staying on the KISS theme of fishing tackle to go with the whip you really only need another four items in order to catch fish - 1st item is a shop bought pre-made pole rig on a winder containing the line, float, shots to cock the float and the most important of all the hook. Start with a 'silver fish' or roach rig. This rig is looped onto the top of the pole. 2nd item is a disgorger that is purely designed to help you unhook a fish that is a little deeper than in the lips. Small perch particularly are greedy little devils and often deep hooked and need the use of a disgorger. 3rd item is a plummet that helps you find the depths of your 'swim' or the spot you've chosen to fish. This is mega important and I will talk about this tactic in depth next month. 4th item of course is bait and for this stick to maggots that can be bought at any tackle shop or even from a machine on the park. These are easy to use and provided they are presented well will catch you all the fish you want to start with.

Together with your 'whip' these four basic items are all that's required to catch fish

Go into any good tackle shop - I use Gone Fishin in Wolverton and ask for there advice on buying your first set of pole gear. The shop on the park also sells all the gear you need and if you want any more advice find me on the park or ask at reception.

It may only be small but just look at this lad and his mums face!

This then is just a little introduction into the world of angling. Give it a go with your family, even if you only fish when the sun shines you wont regret it!

Next month ill be looking at putting all your pole gear together and the technique of actually catching some fish.

If you have any question on this or any other subject please use the link below.


Tight lines - Gary S

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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615