Got quite a few anglers on here so thought I'd start a thread to chat about it. Beginners guide first: Beginners Guide Fishing is one of those "easy to get started, difficult to master" pursuits that many people do over a lifetime. It's currently one of the most popular hobbies in the country with over 100,000 people getting out at least once a month and the number seems to be growing (up 9.8% year on year, in fact). There's no really good or bad age to start fishing. I've been doing it since I was a toddler though plenty of extremely skilled anglers started well into their 40s and one at my local fishing club started in retirement. Types There's three types of fishing - coarse, game and sea fishing. I mostly coarse fish so will let others fill in the other two types and I think it's fair to say that coarse is the most common. The purpose of most coarse fishing is to create a "swim" where you attract fish towards your hook until they take your bait and you catch them. Then you stick them back and do it again. As a pleasure angler, this is basically all there is to it and with about 30 minutes of training and some very cheap kit, anybody can go down to their local canal and achieve this. Cost Fishing can be extremely expensive at the higher ends but getting started has very little startup costs. There's some mandatory yearly fees, which are quite reasonable, then it is about buying tackle. Tackle is a bit like a toolbox in that nobody goes into B&Q and just drops several grand on every tool that they need - they build them up over a lifetime and often they are passed down through generations. I reckon to get started from absolutely nothing, you need £150. This is mainly a one off outlay, to actually go fishing costs extremely little. A few quid for bait unless you're a bit more advanced. Where I'm a great believer that everybody should start off by whip fishing on a canal. It's cheap, it's simple, you've a good chance of catching and pretty much everything you need to learn about how to catch fish can be learnt on the canal. Here is a website that will tell you your local canal and which fishing club might look after it. There's two administrative costs you need to pay in fishing - a rod licence and a day ticket. A rod licence can be obtained online for £30 a year, which you can buy from this website. Yes it's illegal to fish in England without one and yes, people actually check regularly. Day tickets are how much you pay to fish on the water for that day and are paid to the person who "owns" that water. Mostly these are organisations who do maintenance and upkeep on the area - on the canal it is usually local fishing clubs. The Bridgewater Canal for example has a ton of fishing clubs that own different stretches of the water and they tend to keep "their bit" tidy from litter, cut back some weeds where need be and that sort of thing. One thing you'll find as you move into fishing is that anglers are generally extremely bothered about keeping lakes, rivers, canals and other waters as pristine as possible so they can be enjoyed by all. You can find the local fishing club and their prices on the same website linked earlier for canals. If you're going a few times it is usually a good idea to join as a yearly membership and save a bit of cash. They're very reasonably priced in my experience - £30-50 or so per year. What If you're going whip fishing on the canal, which I personally recommend and seemingly so do most other people in terms of getting started, you'll need the following items: An elasticated Whip - you can buy ones into the hundreds here but don't. Get a 2m-4m one for £15-20. You don't need a 10m Whip on the canal. Whips are a type of pole fishing so you don't have a reel. A chair - probably the most important purchase you'll make as a fisherman! Many people like to use boxes which they sit on as the legs are better for navigating a bunch of terrain. I need the back support due to a lifetime of sports and computing so I prefer a chair unless it's absolutely necessary. A good chair will have the ability to attach a small tray to the side of it which is where you'll store your bait. You can use an old collapsable deckchair if you don't want to spend, just think about that you're going to have to carry it to the bank so maybe not a sun lounger. Bait boxes. Get two or three of them. Cheap as chips, probably £2 or something. Rigs and tackle. See the video or have a word with the guy in your local tackle shop for exact requirements. I'd recommend a simple float rig with a size 20 hook and some shot weights to get you going. Again, these are pretty cheap, a couple of quid. A disgorger is needed to unhook badly hooked fish. Almost a necessity. A decent plumb weight. You don't need to know what this is yet as all will be explained. A landing net. Not a strict necessity to be honest but getting a cheap landing net will help you if you manage to hook bigger fish than you expected. Bait and groundbait. You'll probably be fishing with pinkie maggots to start with. I've never met a fish that didn't like maggots. That's pretty much it. Most of the stuff here outside the chair, net and whip is available for a few quid. The others aren't particularly expensive and if you're just starting then don't be afraid to skimp a little until you're happy with your commitment level. How It's much better to be shown how to fish than to read it. There's some good Youtube videos aimed at total beginners that focus on Whip Fishing a canal and teach how to setup your tackle (it's incredibly simple), how to plumb the depths, how to create a swim, what to look for, etc. On a personal note, I cannot stress how important it is to plumb the depths (i.e. find how deep the water you're fishing in is and test if you're hook is sat in a bunch of weeds). I've been shocked at how little amount of kids are taught this properly by whoever teaches them to fish. Fishing at the wrong depth is probably the number one mistake I've seen beginners make because they either presume they know the depth without testing or they just don't really know how important it is to be exact on it. You can't fish if you haven't got an accurate picture of what is going on in front of you! Learn this skill and use it often! Anybody can start fishing in almost any part of the country. If you enjoy being in nature, being in the Sun or just like a cheap day out with the kids then it's a great and rewarding activity. You won't catch monsters to begin with (unless you fluke something) but you'll have a fun time. If I'm going on the canal then I often go at first light (about 5.30am at the moment) then spend 2-3 hours there and come home ready to start the working day. The early morning fishing is nice, the barge traffic is low and it's a relaxing start to the day. Once you get yourself practised on the canal then you move up to the better waters and into specimen hunting. Carp fishing for example is a HUGELY popular part of angling and that's almost like a science in how far you can take it. But you don't start like that; just a rod, chair, a bit of bait and you're away.