Coarse fishing is one of the most popular sports in the British Isles and Europe. It has evolved over the years until now it is a multi-million pound industry, involving tackle manufacturers, venue management, fish farms and research programmes, bait producers, a flourishing specialist press including newspapers and magazines, and book publishers as well as many websites, TV programmes and DVD sales. Over four million anglers go fishing in the UK for both coarse and game fish and the sport is nearly as strong in Germany and other European countries.
Game fish in the UK consist of Sea Trout (Salmo trutta morpha trutta) and Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) - both of which are anadromous, that is they spend part of their lives in salt water, part in fresh water - and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). All other species are classed as coarse fish, and it used to be coarse fishing was an activity that was the province of the working man; in this egalitarian age, the ‘class’ barriers have broken down, and rightly so.
There are pleasure anglers, who just go out for the day, enjoy the outing and are delighted to catch anything, specimen hunters who are completely dedicated to a single species and sometimes take days pursuing a single fish, and match anglers, who compete for cash or prizes either as a team or individually, the winner taking the greatest weight of fish in a given time. Here we can see a fishing match taking place at Codnor Park Reservoir, Derbyshire, with the anglers fishing at numbered ‘pegs’, each a regular distance apart (anglers draw their peg numbers before the start of the match). Codnor Park Reservoir was built in 1794, to feed water to the adjacent Cromford Canal, now disused, and is still owned by British Waterways. It is available for both pleasure and match anglers, who enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The Reservoir is designated as a Derbyshire Wildlife Site, and is home to the increasingly threatened European Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius) which is one of the National Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species. There are also over 160 plant species in the area; local trees include Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and Goat or Pussy Willow (Salix caprea).
Fish species caught in the Reservoir include the Common or Bronze Bream, Silver Bream, European Perch, Tench, Common Roach, Crucian Carp, Common Carp, and the ferocious Northern Pike (Esox lucius), but match anglers hope to make contact with a shoal of the Common Bream, weighing up to about 5lb, to boost the haul in their keepnets. You can see that pole fishing is popular amongst match anglers. I never really took to the ‘fixed line’ method with its short length of rubber shock absorber at the tip of the lightweight multi-section carbon fibre pole, and partially dismantling the pole to get the fish into the landing net was difficult for me. I prefered the traditional rod and reel combination!
For more details of this delightful fishing spot, their official website is given below.