Beginner's Guide to Fishing

In August, we shared a post on how to get involved in National Fishing Month and we hope you were able to give fishing a go at one of the many events offered. Fishing is a great way to spend time enjoying the outdoors with friends or family – and it’s not just a summer activity. For those that fancy giving angling a go, here’s some more information to help you get started.

Joining a club

For beginners, joining a club is a good idea as your club membership will not only give you access to water when you want to fish but you’ll receive loads of help and advice from more experienced anglers. Fishing folk love nothing more than sharing tips on casting, bait preference, weights and of course, tales of their best catches!

Beginner Fishing Kit: Getting the gear

When it comes to buying your first fishing kit you really don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on rods, reels and bite alarms – leave that to the experts. A basic fishing set-up will come in for about £25 and do just fine. Keep it simple and, if you can, ask a friend to advise you. Your local tackle shop will also gladly give you tips on what you’ll need (and won’t need!). There are specialist fishing retailers who also have a good selection of starter fishing kit to get you going. The Angling Trust produce a lot of beginners instructional videos which can be found on social media and YouTube to help you get going. Tackle shops, clubs, recommended fishing venues and more can all be found on the Angling Trust website.

Fishing in autumn and winter

If you’re planning on fishing during the colder months, it’s important to stay warm and comfortable. You’ll need to dress appropriately for the weather conditions with snug, ideally thermal, clothing like a fleece and a pair of gloves. It's also worth either bringing a lightweight, packable jacket in your kit to handle the inevitable rainfall. A nice flask of hot tea, coffee or soup is often very welcome in chillier weather. You can also buy hand warmers and other devices, like our heated jackets & gilets to help keep you comfortable.

Our range of outdoor clothing has all you needs covered. Discover our huge range of women's and men's waterproof jackets, as well as warm underlayers like our men's & women's fleece to wear in combination.

Safety is important when fishing at any time, but in autumn and winter it is even more crucial. The inherent risks of being near water can be magnified as there are likely to be fewer people around to help if you get into difficulties. Banksides can become slippery and water becomes colder, making it harder for your body to respond if you fall in. Rivers can carry a lot of extra water at these times of year which can make the risks from falling in much more significant. Ideally you should avoid going fishing on your own and let people know where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Most people carry mobile phones these days but, particularly in remote, rural locations, you may find you have weak or even no signal.

Where to fish

Believe it or not, you’re closer to a fish than you may think. In fact, 8 million people in England and Wales live within 5 minutes’ walk of somewhere to go fishing – so there is very likely an angling opportunity just around the corner. Once you’re hooked, you’ll want to explore more waterways to fish on. Here are three useful websites that can help you discover some excellent fishing spots.

Angling Trust

Canal and River Trust


If you prefer to find your own spots to fish, always check what permits are required at that location on top of having your fishing licence.

Get your ‘licence to chill’

In England and Wales, if you’re 13 or older, you must have a fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel. Children aged between 13 and 16 need a junior licence, but they are free.

You can buy a licence through the website.

Whether you choose to fish as part of a club, or to strike out and find your own favourite spots, you’ll be out in the fresh air and experiencing for yourself the thrill of the catch. Happy fishing!

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