What is Coarse Fishing and Where Can I Do It?
Fishing has existed in some form or other for at least 40,000 years. There has been a real resurgence in fishing in recent times, and the current trend is for coarse fishing. But what is it, where can you do it and why would you want to? Read on for our picks of the best places to go coarse fishing in Wales, and reasons you should give it a go.
What is coarse fishing?
Coarse fishing is named after the coarse scales of the freshwater fish that are caught during the activity. Examples of this type of fish include pike, perch and carp. Unlike game fish, like salmon and trout, these fish aren’t typically eaten.
Instead, coarse fishing is more of a recreational sport and you’ll release the fish you catch back into the water. It’s also the most popular form of fishing in Wales, with barbel and chub in the Severn, Wye, and Taff, as well as carp and bream in many coarse fisheries. Check out our beginner’s guide to fishing in Wales to learn more.
What are the benefits?
Fishing (of any kind) is a great way to relax. The NHS has even recommended it as a form of stress relief! It’s also a great way to exercise. Hiking to a fishing site, casting and catching, all work your heart, lungs and muscles. Meanwhile, catching a particularly heavy fish is a great way to work on your core strength. In fact, Wales is where the biggest pike on UK record was caught, weighing in at 46lb 13oz!
Where can you go coarse fishing in Wales?
Here are our picks of some of the best coarse fisheries in Wales, along with the types of fish they’re best known for.
Caerphilly Castle Moat, South Wales – Carp
We’re starting off with a very exciting location for fishing. After all, nothing quite beats fishing in an actual castle moat! One of the most breathtaking coarse fishing venues in Wales, the 13th century Caerphilly Castle features a 30-acre moat containing over 300 carp of differing varieties, with many weighing around the 20lb mark.
Celtic Lakes, West Wales – Catfish
The New Celtic Lakes is a stillwater fishery, made up of six lakes at a total of 75 acres. They contain a large number of catfish, a species notoriously difficult to find consistently in the UK.
Llandegfedd Reservoir, South Wales – Roach/bream hybrids
Known as one of the best breeder fishing sites in the UK, this is also the site of the record-winning pike catch. But other than pike, this reservoir is best known for bream and hybrids. Standing at a whopping 134 hectares, if you can’t decide where to start, the Rangers will let you know which areas have already been fished.
Pant y Llyn, Mynydd Epynt, Mid Wales – Wild carp
Wales is famous for wild carp. If you’re looking to escape into the solitude of nature, there’s no better place to fish than the beautiful Pant y Llyn 8-acre lake, 1400ft above sea level atop a mountain. The many wild carp there are said to derive from the same ones introduced originally by medieval monks. This is definitely a bucket list location for any coarse fishing trip to Wales!
River Dee, North Wales – Grayling
Grayling can be found across Wales, however many venues only allow fly fishing. The River Dee, known to be one of the purest water rivers in Europe, has plentiful grayling to try your hand at.
River Taff, Brecon Beacons, South Wales – Barbel
The Taff is popular for fly fishing, game fishing and coarse fishing. It may have fewer fish than the River Wye, but the fish here are bigger. In fact, fish frequently weigh in at over 13lbs, with the record size a whopping 18lbs 1oz. In 2019, smaller fish were also introduced to the river to even things out.
River Wye, North and Mid Wales – Chub
The river as a whole is great for chub. It’s not the easiest spot to access, but it’s well worth it! The upper river is also reported to have large shoals of pike and the middle of the river is well known for silvers.
White Springs, South Wales – Perch
This fishery near Swansea is renowned for having many, very large, perch. As of 2019, the record for fish weight stands at Common Carp 43lb and Perch 5lb 3oz. The location is beautiful and they offer onsite accommodation for holiday breaks in Wales complete with all the fishing you could want!
Wales is home to some amazing natural scenery. If you’re done with fishing, why not take in the fresh air on a one-day hiking trail? Or, for something where the wildlife is a little further away, check out this list of the best zoos in Wales.