AM's Richard Holroyd gives you some top tips to ensure you enjoy a great day together - go on, take a friend fishing!

NATIONAL FISHING MONTH is back, running until the end of August. Angler’s Mail is right behind the campaign, along with the Environment Agency, Angling Trades Association and Angling Trust.

If you are planning on introducing a friend or family member to fishing, now during National Fishing Month, or anytime, you’d be wise to follow these few steps below.

If you do, I’m confident your session will go as smoothly as possible…



1 Don’t fish yourself

You’ll need to spend all your time with your friend to help them get to grips with the basics of fishing.

2 Encouragement

Fishing basics takes some time to learn, so don’t be in a hurry to criticise if they make some fundamental errors. We all made the same mistakes when we first started fishing, so make light of any errors and offer lots of encouragement.

3 Plenty of bites in the margins

This is not the time to be fishing tough waters. Go to a commercial fishery that offers plenty of bites, particularly from silver fish, as not only will lots of action keep their interest levels up but it will also enable them to get used to handling and unhooking fish.

4 Use a whip

A whip is all that is required on most commercial fisheries. A simple float rig with light line and small hook completes the set-up and is much more manageable to a newcomer than rod and reel. If you do choose to use a rod and reel, spend some time explaining the mechanics of how they work before fishing.

There are a variety of different floats out there for stillwaters, all inteded for different uses with different baits and with different depths.

Float fish – and kep it simple, either with a rod and line, or often better with a whip or pole to-hand.

5 Float fish

Float fishing is the way to go for newcomers. Use a simply shotting pattern and start off by fishing at dead depth, and be prepared to fish shallower should the fish move up in the water. It’s probably best if you plumb the depth and set the rig up for your friend.

6 Leave them wanting more

There’s no need to fish from dawn to dusk as it may become a bit draining for a newcomer. Fish a short afternoon session and they will, hopefully, want to return again.

7 Have fun

Fishing is supposed to be fun, right? Well, it certainly should be for a newcomer. This is not the time to impress your friend with all the serious angling stealth you’ve learnt over the years.

Always take a disgorger.

Always take a disgorger. And if the person you take fishing is novice, or lapsed angler, show them carefully how to use it to unhook fish.

8 Unhooking

Make sure you show them how to properly unhook fish. It’s not always easy for newcomers to unhook fish using their fingers, so take a disgorger and show them how it’s done for the first few times before letting them have a go.

9 Handling

Handling fish of any size correctly is extremely important. By catching silvers, it gives them a chance to build up their confidence in handling them firmly and carefully. If you do catch a bigger species, like a carp, always show them how to handle and support them first, using an unhooking mat underneath.

10 Take a photo

Take a photo of them holding a fish that they’ve caught so they have something to remember the occasion. Make sure you send it in to Angler’s Mail with details on how they caught it and they may win a prize if it’s published. Email to the magazine’s newsdesk to: – or upload to our online gallery

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