Coarse Fishing – Getting Started with a Basic Float Fishing Kit

A well set-up coarse angler.
A well set-up coarse angler.

Assembling a Basic Float Fishing Kit for Coarse Fishing

Setting up a basic set of tackle for float fishing. One or two items are specifically for Coarse Fishing and are available through a club, the rest you should be able to get through your local tackle shop. By purchasing your Coarse Fishing requirements regularly from a tackle shop, the more likely they are going to keep items in stock for you. Let’s take a closer look at the sort of tackle required for coarse fishing:

1) The Rod – For float fishing, you will need a rod of about 12 feet to 13 feet long. You can get by using shorter rods, but they will restrict casting and tackle control. Float rod lengths can vary from 9 feet (for carp) to 14 feet (for match fishing), but we recommend 12/13 feet, preferably in three pieces and having at least 12-rod rings to allow smooth line passage.

2) The Reel – Choose a lightweight fixed-spool reel with an interchangeable handle. If you are right-handed, you should hold the rod in your right hand and operate the reel with your left, so have the reel handle on the left. Put the handle on the right of the reel if you are left-handed. Also, try and get at least one spare spool with the reel for different strength lines.

3) Line – A breaking strain of 4lb (1.8kg) is heavy enough to cope with most small and medium-sized Coarse Fish you are likely to catch in the South Island. Fill the spool up to within 2mm of the spool lip to help your casting of light tackle. Your spare spool should have a line of around 6lb (2.7kg) for when you are fishing in weedy areas.

4) Floats – This part of the kit is a bit more specialist, but you will need a thick-tipped straight waggler for rivers and a thinner-tipped bodied waggler for fishing in still waters.

Float lengths should be around 8 inches (20cm) and capable of taking about 3AAA shots. Clubs have a good range of floats available, as also have one or two tackle shops. Another article on Coarse Fishing will cover the subject of floats (including What’s a Waggler?) in much more detail, and also how to make your own.

5) Shot – You will need a range of split shots from SSG (the largest) to No. 6 (one of the smallest). The larger sizes are for locking your float onto the line and to provide casting weight. The smaller sizes are for sinking the line between float and hook so only the tip of the float shows.

6) Hooks – Carry a range of hooks in sizes 12, 16 and 18. Most are available in the eyed form and will require attaching to your line using a tucked half-blood knot. If you are not good at tying hooks, there are now available hook tyers that make the job so easy.

7) Plummet – The plummet is for testing the depth of water before you start fishing. If you cannot purchase a plummet, then simply attach an SSG shot to your line just above the hook. Adjust the float so that it sits at the right height in the water and then remove the SSG shot.

8) Disgorger – Always carry a disgorger. Using one every time you un-hook a fish, reduces the possible injury to the fish before returning it to the water.

9) Landin Net – A landing net is essential. It prevents injury to the fish when brought into the bank. The net itself should be about 18 inches (46cm) wide and have a handle at least 6 feet (1.8m) long.

10) Rod Rest – The rod rest is for supporting the front of your rod. It is very tiring to hold a rod all day. You can make them out of aluminium tubing by bending over the top to form a ‘vee’ to put your rod into.

As you can see, it is pretty simple to get started in Coarse Fishing. If you want any further advice, then contact the Canterbury Coarse Fishing Club.

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