Q As a beginner, what tackle should I bring to catch Welsh coarse fish? There seems to be so many different things for sale in tackle shops.
A Forget all the sales hype and stick to basics! Today’s ready-made kits are perfectly adequate to start your coarse fishing career - and much cheaper than buying a bit at a time.
Q What about bait? Should I bring my own?
A Only if you prefer. There are plenty of well-stocked tackle shops throughout Wales where a large bait selection is available and many fisheries can also supply.
Q What are the best baits to use?
A Keep it simple. Bread, sweet-corn, maggots and luncheon meat will catch most species. Experiment and you’ll be surprised what fish will accept.
Q Will I have to travel far from where I’m staying to find good fishing?
A Definitely not! Wherever you are in Wales there will be a choice of fisheries not far away.
Q When I’m fishing, what do I do with the family?
A Wales has a very large number of interesting and exciting family attractions, safe beaches, attractive towns and scenic walks. Or you teach them all to fish, of course.
Q What are the types of fish I can expect to catch?
A All UK coarse fish are available, as well as some rather more exotic. If you have any special preference, check with the nearest fishery or go to coarse species.
Q I want to catch very big fish. How do I find out where to go?
A Some fisheries specialise in very large specimens, and you don’t have to be an expert to succeed.
Q How much will a day’s fishing cost me?
A The average price in 2004 is about £5 a day with concessions for juniors, etc. A small surcharge is sometimes made for using more than one rod. Specimen waters may cost a little more, as you would expect.
Q What about the rules? I don’t want to be confronted by an unsympathetic bailiff.
A Ensure you have the correct Environment Agency rod license and always ask to see the fishery rules wherever you go. Not all rules are the same for every fishery.
Q How can I find out how well the fishery is doing before I go?
A Click here to see fishery reports for the latest updates for most Welsh coarse fisheries.
Q. I am an experienced carp angler and want to know where the really big ones are to be found.
A. Many Welsh fisheries cater for the specimen-seeker. Darren Lake, Ferndale. White Springs, Pontardulais. Hazel Court nr Cowbridge. Llyn y Gors, Anglesey. Millenium Coastal Park, Llanelli. Nine Oaks nr Aberaeron. Butetown Reservoir Peterstone Lakes, Wentloog, Newport. Springwater Lake, Harford nr Lampeter.
Q. It’s nice to catch the occasional big carp, but where do I go to have plenty of action?
A. All Welsh carp fisheries will keep you busy. You’ll find a list of the most popular venues if you click here
Q. What baits should I use?
A. It varies. Fisheries make their own rules and each will probably have its own recommendations and prohibitions - always for good reasons. Some ban floating baits, for instance, while others do not allow boilies, bloodworms, nuts, etc. It’s no different to anywhere else in the UK. If in doubt, phone the fishery before you go.
Q. What are the best baits for carp?
A. Carp like variety and what catches well one day won’t work the next. Take a selection and try something no-one else is using. For example, sections of banana go great guns on some fisheries and you can always sacrifice bits of your sandwiches unless you’ve already eaten them.
Q. Is bait difficult to get?
A. No. All tackle shops can supply your needs and very many fisheries will have stocks of popular and proven baits. They will want you to come again so they’ll stock what they know really works.
Q. Is night fishing allowed?
A. Many Welsh carp waters offer night fishing by arrangement. There will usually be a small extra charge and you may have to book in advance. Contact the fishery to be on the safe side.
Q. What special equipment shall I take?
A. True anglers always treat their catch with respect and handle fish gently. A large carp-sized landing net, unhooking mat and barbless hooks are recommended. Also they never put carp into a keep-net.
Q. What facilities are available at Welsh fisheries?
A. From none to everything. Most are in-between, offering a variety of services including refreshments, tuition, tackle and bait, accommodation, special pegs for the disabled, and so on. Nearly all will have toilets and a car-park.
Q. When is the best time to fish for carp?
A. Carp don’t have a rule book. They will come on the feed at any time that suits them without consulting you. When one wakes up, they all seem to do the same. The first and last few hours of daylight is very often their preferred time, though they will often feed right through the day - or night.
Q. Is there anything else I nee to know?
A. There always is with carp. A lifetime of fishing is not enough. Just keep to the rules, talk to other anglers and try to guess their secrets. Don’t be too shy to ask the locals for advice and be prepared to try new techniques. Welsh fisheries will help you to get the very best out of your holiday.
Q. Where can I find good pike fishing in Wales?
A. All over, but mostly in south Wales, there are lakes and rivers holding hefty pike in very large numbers. See below for a guide to some of them.
Q. What baits should I use?
A. Still-living baits is no longer approved of anywhere in the UK but there are plenty of equally effective alternatives. Small dead fish like roach, dace or rudd; sea baits such as mackerel, squid, smelt or sand-eel; artificial spinners, plugs, etc, the list is endless and all will tempt a pike into your net.
Q. I particularly want to catch big pike. Does Wales have any?
A. Most certainly. Specimen fish are regularly reported from most Welsh pike waters. They’re returned, too, so they’re still there, getting bigger, and waiting just for you.
Q. What is the best time of year to go for pike?
A. The pike is normally most active during Winter, but Autumn and early Spring will give you all the sport you can cope with.
Q. I don’t normally fish for pike because I’ve heard they can be rather aggressive. How can I make sure I don’t get bitten?
A. Pike do have a bad attitude toward people who stick a sharp hook in their mouths and you can’t really expect them to be reasonable about it, but there’s no need to wear a suit of armour. Always use a long disgorger or tweezers and keep your fingers away from those gnashers! Use common sense and get the fish back in the water quickly before it becomes really annoyed.
Q. Are there any special rules or regulations for catching Welsh pike?
A. No. Always check the fishery rules and stick to them. Treat your catch with care and return it to the water with the respect this admirable fish deserves.
Q. What facilities are available on pike waters?
A. The best pike fishing is often to be found in the wilder areas off the beaten track, as any pike expert will tell you. Go equipped with everything you will need for personal comfort as there probably won’t be even a shelter close by.
Q. Do I need a special licence to catch pike?
A. No. Your Environment Agency rod licence will cover you so be sure to take it with you when you go fishing. Of course, you’ll also need the permit for the fishery you choose.
Q. Can I use a boat on pike waters?
A. There’s not much point in using a boat on most Welsh pike waters as these fish prefer to patrol the shores rather than the deeps. One exception is on Llangorse Lake near Brecon where soft, weedy banks make only boat fishing a practical proposition.
Q. I’ve never fished for pike before. What else should I know?
A. Pike fishing is a skill distinct from most other forms of angling. As a complete novice, it pays to go first with a more experienced Piker before tackling this noble fish by yourself.