The Start to a Fisherman’s Tales: Fishing in England

Ey up and welcome to the first post in this new category within our site that will cover my fishing escapades! I started writing a species-specific fishing post as my first dip of the toe” into blogging, but I soon found myself wandering off down several paths that veered away from my initial intention. So here we are, technically my second blog post (after I wrote on our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome and the decision to upgrade from drum versus disc brakes) but first on a topic that solely involves myself.

I must have been around ten or eleven when I first asked my dad if we could go fishing. I knew he used to go with his dad and it seemed like the greatest idea to go out and catch a fish. Amazingly my dad agreed and off we went to a tackle shop to buy us both some half decent gear. I remember our first day — We sat in the baking heat and didnt catch anything! I don’t even think the float moved! All I remember was holding a hand full of maggots for the first time and feeling them wiggle into the gaps in my fingers before I freaked out and dropped them into six inches of water directly in front of me I guess the ducks got those later!

We returned that evening to a different spot at the same lake. As the day cooled the float sank away, and I caught my first fish a tiny bristling perch no bigger than a few ounces. However, it blew my mind and was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and that was it I was hooked!

From then on my dad and I would go fishing often, regularly visiting a local pond and attempting to empty it of small roach, rudd, and perch. I remember one time we went in the middle of winter and the pond was frozen, but without hesitation my dad started smashing a small hole in the ice for each of us — I can’t remember if we actually caught anything or not!

A couple of years later, my dad heard about another pond that was full of tench an olivegreen scaled, red-eyed fish that are not only beautiful but hard fighting so we visited there often and had great success! The photo below is of my old man himself, though the tench is from another lake that we also spent considerable time at.

I owe my dad for my love of fishing and the outdoors.

Another lake we found held a good mix of species and one day while basically messing around in the margins, my float went under and I hooked my first carp a mirror carp of around eight pounds. To my amazement, almost an hour after hooking it, I landed it and had my first photoworthy fish. (Thanks for sending a copy of the photo, dad!)

Look at those chubby cheeks! Also, I LOVED that hoodie and I’m not sure why my T-shirt was so big?!

With our fishing tackle ever growing and my ideas wandering, the next fish I wanted to catch was a pike — one of the biggest predator fish in the UK with only the wels catfish getting bigger. With no experience (other than reading a few magazine articles), my dad and I set off to a local reservoir to catch one. Turned out, several trips later we still hadn’t caught anything until one day I got a take a pike finally picked up my storebought, freshlydead sprat and with a lot of luck, the pike found its way into our waiting landing net. The next task was taking the hooks out of this ferociouslooking fish’s mouth. Straddling the pike and opening its mouth, we were horrified to see how many teeth were hiding in there!

Fun fact: Pikes teeth are covered in an anticoagulant that stops blood clotting; therefore, if they attack a fish but don’t quite nail it the first time the fish will slowly bleed out, allowing the pike to follow and nab the fish in its weakened state. It also works on humans too, I have two scars on my wrist where a pikes teeth caught me while unhooking it, it bled for hours.

Anyway, with pike fishing now a firm favourite, we continued going after different species while also targeting carp the most commonly fished for species in the UK.

My biggest English carp — a mirror just over fourteen pounds (a baby by carp-standards)

There were also several other species targeted during my time carp fishing in England another favourite is the barbel, which is a powerful river fish that feeds off the bottom, is shaped like a torpedo, and goes off like one when you first hook it! 

My personal best barbel, fourteen pounds eight ounces from the river Trent

There are around forty freshwater fish species in Great Britian and over 300 different saltwater species. There are a number of rare fish species including the European sturgeon, Arctic char, and the vendace. Some of these species are only located in certain bodies of water. For example, the vendace (which I’ve literally just learnt exists) is only found in Derwentwater reservoir in Cumbria. Other species, such as the perch, roach, and carp, are extremely prevelant and can be found in almost any body of water around the country from canals, rivers, and small ponds to huge reservoirs and can be caught on any number of bait. Over the course of my fishing life, I’ve caught seventeen (roach, dace, perch, rudd, brown trout, crusican carp, common carp, mirror carp, pike, eel, bream, tench, gudgeon, stickleback, minnow, chub, and barbel) freshwater species and only three saltwater species (mackerel, flounder, and gurnard).

A (rather large) rudd

To bring this first post to a close, I want to welcome you to this new category of our site and I hope you enjoy what I have to share. It will consist of stories, methods, and different species I have targeted. It will be light-hearted and will hopefully bring a smile to your face while showing you a thing or two about fishing.

Author: Andy

Ey up! I’m the calm, laidback, English one of the two. If L is the fuel, I’m the engine -- Without her, I’m pretty happy being sat still. That said, when I’m out and moving I make the most of it. I’m super squeamish, a stickler for the rules, and if I’ve not had a cup of coffee in the morning it’s probably best to let me be. I love fishing, hiking, and vehicle mechanics and I’m not scared of learning something new!

9 thoughts

    1. Hello! It was a mixture of both. Wild fishing was mainly on the rivers, nearly all lakes in England are privately owned and managed by someone. There are exceptions to this but the ones I fished were owned.

  1. Well done, my friend. You stirred up some memories of fishing with Dad, Too long ago.

    1. Good morning David! Thank you! I’m glad I could help bring back some of those old memories, I loved fishing with my dad when I was a kid!

  2. Wow.!! You’ve immortalised me in writing Son. !! Excellent peice. ! Brings back memories. 😥. I think you were younger than 11,? And another rare UK freshwater species I believe is only found in the Cumbria area is the “Char”. Can’t wait for further instalments. !! 😁. XX

    1. Ey up dad! Yes, I felt like you deserved some praise and I enjoyed looking back through some of the old photos. More installments are coming!

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