Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Just Starting Out

I was recently contacted by a mate who I haven't seen for a long time, we used to fish together a lot, firstly as juniors and then we started fishing the club matches with Ilminster AA but as so often happens, other things come along and he drifted away from it. He's now got a family and his son wants to get into fishing so he asked if I could put together a list of stuff him and his boy would need to get started, easy peasy I thought, but is it really?

The more I thought about it, the more difficult and prohibitively expensive the list was getting, you have to try and strike a balance between gear that is usable and gives you a good chance of catching but at the same time not costing an arm and a leg so that if the youngster decides he doesn't want to do it anymore, it wasn't too costly an exercise.

So where do you start? Obviously you need licences with the EA licence costing £30 (one day and eight licences are also available and might be an option) although juniors are free up to 16 years old. Then do you join a club where typically a senior club book is around £25 for seniors and £10 for juniors (most clubs do issue day tickets) or go to a commercial where a day ticket will cost you anything from £6-£10?

Then onto tackle, do you opt for rod, pole or whip? Each has their pros and cons, when I first started putting this list together, my initial thought was that a 12ft float rod would be the ideal tool to get started and there are some fantastic rods on the market for around £40-£50 and similarly there are some lovely reels around for £30-£40 and there are some great deals to be had if you shop around. But then the more I thought about it, I realised I couldn't remember the last time I used rod and line! So if we go down the pole route, you're then probably looking at £300-£400 for a half decent one, so that's out the window then!

What about a whip then? Well a whip is the most wallet friendly option with a decent one setting you back about £20-£30 and they are good fun too but you are a bit limited to what you can do with a whip so we're back to my original thinking of a rod and reel that won't break the bank. We then move on to all the other kit you need, seatbox, well we won't even go there! When I started, fibreglass boxes were top of the range and would only cost around £30, these days you can pay anything between £150 and £1000 for a place to rest your bum! To be fair I've had a look and you can get a basic plastic seatbox for about £30 but for the purpose of this list, our new starters will have to use a couple of deck chairs.

Similarly a keepnet is nice but not a necessity at this early stage whereas a landing net is essential and you can get a net and handle for around £15 which won't break the bank but already, it's all starting to add up. Right, that's the main items but what about all the bits and bobs they'll need for that first session? I'll list what I think is needed below and we'll go from there, I would love to hear your thoughts so please get in touch.

  • EA licence - £30 (free for juniors)
  • Day ticket - £5
  • Rod - £40
  • Reel - £30
  • Landing net and pole - £15
  • Spool of 3lb line - £2.50
  • A few waggler floats - £5
  • Split shot dispenser - £3
  • Couple packets of hooks to nylon (16 and 18)  - £3
  • Disgorger x 2 - £1
  • Plummets x 2 - £2
  • Bait box - £1.50
  • Half a pint of maggots - £1.50
  • Total - £139.50 (£109.50 for a junior)
So there you have it, just shy of £140 to get started, I have to admit that, although quite a bit of money, it's not as much as I expected it to be, of course there are other things that you would want to sooner rather than later, things like a catapult, keepnet, seatbox and a couple of rod rests but the above list will get you on the bank and hopefully catching a few fish.

I would also recommend going to your local tackle shop because although you might save a few quid by shopping online, your tackle dealer can give you invaluable advice on venues and put you in touch with angling clubs etc plus you can actually see what your buying and they will usually show you how to set your gear up as well.

It also really helps if there is a friend or relative who can show you the ropes, a lot of angling clubs hold supervised coaching days and these are brilliant for new starters.

The trouble comes when you become 'hooked' (if you'll excuse the pun) and the above is just the thin end of the wedge as you start to accumulate more gear, upgrade your rods and buy a pole, it becomes nearly as addictive as the fishing itself.

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