This is quite a difficult article to write. In reality, the way you get into game fishing is entirely dependent upon your disposable income, and where you live. I am assuming that you are starting to read this article from a position of wanting to get involved on an ongoing basis, rather than just to have a one off go. If the latter, you can usually have a bit of a try at a local Game fair, or sometimes you will find an open day hosted by your local fishing club.
So, we are presupposing that you have at least read an article or two on fishing, or seen Extreme Fishing or similar on the box, and get the idea and want to develop this as a hobby.
Firstly, you have to work out what you are going to fish for and where. The best thing to do is to pick somewhere you can get to regularly, and where you will enjoy fishing. That way, you will be able to get lots of practice and not be too down on the occasions you don’t catch fish (we all have them – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) There are several types of fishing venues you could choose, some of which I have grouped below. You should be able to find out about these from your local fishing tackle shop. I have excluded things like ‘be lucky enough to be invited helicopter fishing in Russia’ or ‘remember that you have a long lost cousin who has a stretch of fishing on the Test’!
The options include;
• Local stocked trout lake (an easy introduction, where you will be welcomed as a customer)
• Local river (doesn’t have to be a trout or salmon river; you can fish for many other less highly acclaimed fish with a fly, such as chub, barbell, grayling, and so on)
• Local hill loch (assuming live in or visit Scotland)
• Even the sea, where bass roam (although this is a tough place to start)
So now you know where you want to fish. Take a walk down there, and talk to other fishers (you are thinking about fishing, therefore you are now a fisher, or one of us). There are questions you should ask. No one will make fun of you, however silly your questions are, but try and get answers to the following:
• How do you get permission to fish at the location? (you must have this, and if fishing in England and Wales, a ‘rod license’, available from the Post Office.)
• Is there someone who may be able to give you casting lessons?
• What are you likely to catch, and how big
The next thing you need to do is get out on the water. You will need to beg, borrow or buy a basic set up. You only need a rod, reel and line for now. Get casting. It’s best if you can find someone to teach you, but if not, you can learn from a book, though it’s devilishly difficult that way. It’s best to start by tying a piece of wool to the end of your cast, rather than a fly, for safety reasons. I have seen ghillies with fly earrings before now!
Keep practising. You can practise your casting in the garden, or on the water, but practise. Once you can get a line out without too much splashing, you are ready to fish. Go and ask your new fishing pals what flies they are using, and whether it is on a sinking or floating line. Learn to tie on your flies, and acquire a landing net. With these basics, you should be able to catch fish. You haven’t got to be able to cast far. If you can manage 15 yards that will be enough to be in with a chance in most locations.
Always keep watching other fishers. Learn which locations fish best, and using what types of flies and lines. Keep asking questions, and try and read as much as you can, or even these days watch videos on the internet.
And when you catch your first fish, giant or minnow, whether you kill it or return it, get a great photo. Welcome, brother of the angle.