Game angling is the term used for fishing for game fish: trout, sea trout, salmon and char. All other freshwater fish are called coarse fish, mainly because they are not usually eaten. This distinction is not very precise: grayling are pursued by both game and coarse anglers. Also, most game anglers release the majority of the fish they catch nowadays, to preserve fish stocks.
This area of the web site will be developed over the next year to include everything you need to go game fishing. For the time being, here is some basic information for the newcomer to the sport.
The most common type of game angling is fly fishing, which involves casting a thick plastic line which acts as the casting weight with 5 to 20 feet of fine nylon or florocarbon clear line attached to the end, and an artificial fly or lure usually made from feathers and animal hair to attract the fish. The fly is used to imitate insects either under the water or floating on the surface. Lures are made to imitate small fish and are pulled through the water or allowed to drift round across the current in rivers. The thick plastic line, or fly line, can either float on the surface, or there are various types of sinking line which sink at different speeds.
Increasingly, anglers are getting into fly fishing for coarse and sea fish and the lines between game, coarse and sea fishing are become less and less clear.
Game fish can also be caught by spinning, using flashing metal spoons or spinners and plugs which either float on the surface or dive to the bottom. Some fisheries will only allow fly fishing, others will allow spinning only when the water levels are high or the river coloured with sediment.
Salmon and sea trout are particularly difficult to catch because they only come into rivers as adults to spawn and they eat very little if anything at all. Anglers use lures which for one reason or another provoke them to take the fly. Little is known about why they do this on some days, but not on others, and there are many theories! Sea trout are mainly caught after dark, and salmon during the day.
Trout and char are found in rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Most hold our native brown trout and some are stocked with the American rainbow trout. It is possible to go fishing for trout for as little as £2 for a day and the basic kit can be bought for less than £50. Ask your local tackle shop for advice about what you need to get started.
By joining Angling Trust and the Fish For Free programme, you can earn points when you shop on the high street and online which earn you cash back on tackle and fishing permits.
Everyone who goes fishing in freshwater in England and Wales must have a rod licence and you can buy yours online from the Environment Agency. If you want to fish for salmon or sea trout you will need to buy a more expensive game fishing licence.