Coarse fishing is an extremely versatile part of angling and, depending on your target fish, demands a wide variety of gear. Whether it’s fishing for bream in a lake, chub in a river, or tench in a commercial fishery, you will need different types of gear in order to be able to fish for such coarse species. This guide will help you choose the right one!
The traditional types of coarse fishing include both feeder fishing, ledgering, and float fishing. While specialists and feeder rods will cover ledgering and feeder fishing in any type of venue, a match rod is recommended for float fishing in still water. There is also a wide variety of tackle that is necessary for coarse fishing.
Needing a lot of gear and tackle does not mean that you have to spend vast amounts of money on it! On the contrary, if you are buying the right type of coarse fishing equipment, you can actually use it in more than just one way! Here are my best recommendations when it comes to such gear.
Best Coarse Fishing Rods
Feeder rods, or quivertip rods, are also used for bottom fishing, but in a more active way. The rod’s highly sensitive tip will bend very easily and acts as a bite indicator, which means that you will have to constantly watch your rod tip while feeder fishing.
A lot of coarse fishing is done with a feeder rod and feeder fishing is a good choice when the fish are biting more carefully. A feeder tip will indicate even the smallest of nibbles, enabling you to transform a very careful bite into a hooked fish.
Feeder rods are suited for species such as bream, tench, roach, rudd, barbel, chub, or F1 carp.
Such rods are usually equipped with two to three different sizes of feeder tips (quivertips) for fishing in different types of venues:
For my feeder fishing, I am using the TF Gear Compact All-Rounder Rod, which is a great medium rod that will work great for most coarse species.
The big advantage of this rod is that it comes with both a feeder top section for bottom fishing and an Avon top section for float fishing. So, you are getting a duo tip rod for the price of a conventional feeder rod!
This 8-10′ rod allows you to feeder fish for different species, such as heavy bream and tench or smaller roach and rudd in lakes, as well as medium-sized chub or barbel on rivers, thanks to its 3 feeder tips of 2, 3, and 4oz.
But you can also use it to fish with the float instead, perhaps for crucian near the margins or why not with the waggler for bream. It truly is a great all-round rod that has a lot of quality to it, as well as an absolutely amazing fish fighting action!
Take a closer look at the TF Gear Compact All-Rounder Rod on Amazon here
A specialist rod is used for ledgering or float fishing for bigger and more powerful species (such as barbel, tench, perch, or smaller carp) in both lakes and rivers.
It typically has a medium action and a 1.5-1.75lb test curve, which is perfect for most coarse fishing species. It enables you to have full control over the fighting fish, while still being rather flexible and bendy. So, no matter if you are playing an angry 8lb tench o or a powerful 12lb carp, you will manage to land those fish with ease!
I have a beautiful set-up of two specialist rods myself and use it for a lot of my coarse fishing throughout the year. I target the following fish with my specialist rods:
- Tench (ledgering; river and lake)
- Bream (ledgering; river and lake)
- Roach (ledgering; river and lake)
- Perch (float fishing; river and lake)
- Eel (ledgering; river and lake)
- Rudd (ledgering; river and lake)
As you can see, a specialist rod is a truly versatile tool that will help you catch fish in different types of venues and situations.
A long time ago, I fell in love with the Drennan Specialist Twin Tip Duo. Drennan speaks for itself when it comes to quality gear, but this rod is something extraordinary, which is why I feel absolutely comfortable in recommending it to you!
This duo tip rod has a length of 12′ and a test curve of 1.5lb. A 1.5lb is somewhat on the heavy side for a coarse rod, but trust me, if you want to fish with heavier leads, or method feeders (up to 2oz) with extra weight in the form of groundbait on them, you will need a heavier rod in order to be able to smoothly chuck out your rigs.
Its sensitive, yet reliable action is pure perfection, which is something you will notice immediately when playing a fish with this rod. And the production quality is really high as well; I have fished with my Drennan Specialist rods for over 5 years now, and quite intensely at that. There is not so much as a scratch on them! This is a rod that delivers and is built to last a lifetime if you treat it right.
As a bonus, you can also use this specialist rod for feeder fishing, thanks to its set of feeder tips, if you don’t want to use a conventional feeder rod.
If you want to find out more about this amazing rod, you can find the Drennan Specialist Twin Tip Duo on Amazon
If you are fishing for smaller coarse species on the float, you might want to resort to a lighter type of fishing rod; the match rod.
Match rods are light float rods that are perfect for general coarse fishing in ponds or lakes and are a very good choice for course fishing beginners.
They are usually around 10-12′ long, are divided into 3 sections, and fit small to medium-sized reels. Their length and their very light action act as a shock absorber when playing a fish. On the other hand, these features also prevent you from targeting bigger, more powerful species, as you will not be able to control such fish very well with a match rod.
So, if you are rather new to coarse fishing, or if you are targeting smaller coarse species (such as roach, rudd, crucian carp, or silver bream) on the float, the match rod is just the right option for you.
I just love fishing with a match rod for crucians in summer. As this type of fish is most commonly targeted with a float and does fight all that hard or long, the feeling of playing a crucian near a field of lily pads in the summer sun is indescribable! A match rod’s fine action will make you feel every little movement or shake of the fish. That’s coarse fishing!
I’m fishing with the Maver Reality Match Rod. It’s a beautiful and light rod of 12′ and 3 sections. Match fishing is a category of the sport that can get really pricy, and many match rods cost a lot of money, but the Maver Reality is different!
It’s a top-quality rod that comes at a very affordable price, and it’s really all you need when coarse fishing with a float. I especially like the high-quality rod rings on this rod. Rod rings are probably the most important part of any match rod. There are so many of them and most of them are pretty small, which means that they are doing a lot of heavy work when playing a bigger fish.
I have had my match rod for over 8 years now and never even had to replace a ring on it! You can keep such a rod forever and it will bring you immense joy, I can assure you that.
If you want to take a closer look at the Maver Reality Match Rod, you can find it on Amazon
Best Coarse Fishing Reels
When it comes to ledgering and fishing the bolt rig on a method feeder or a lead on the safety clip, baitrunner reels are an absolute must.
Both smaller carp, bigger tench, and sometimes even bream will make a run for it when having been bolted against the weight of your rig. If and when that happens, it’s often a good idea to give them a little line before you enter the fight.
A baitrunner reel allows you to do so, thanks to its two clutch system.
My all-time favorite baitrunner reel and I truly mean that, as it is a real classic, is the Shimano Baitrunner ST 4000 FB. It’s a reel that has been around for a long time, true, but for a very good reason! Shimano is equal to a very high production quality, no matter if we’re talking bikes or fishing equipment.
As such, this reel is top quality for the money you spend on it and it virtually lasts forever. I have had mine (both the 4000 series for coarse fishing and the 6000 series for carp fishing) for many years and they are very easily maintained and won’t stop running smoothly! It’s the ultimate baitrunner, in my opinion. And it comes at a very affordable price.
If you want to take a closer at the Shimano Baitrunner ST 4000 FB, you can find it on Amazon here
Daiwa Ninja Match LT 3000 C
If you want a true match reel to use in combination with your feeder or float rod, the Daiwa Ninja Match Lt 3000 C is your absolute best pick.
For one thing, with a mere 240g, this reel is an absolute lightweight, giving you full control and feel over your rod and the fish. That’s one of the things I like best about this reel, as it really isn’t bulky at all or gets in the way because of its weight.
For another thing, it’s a really small and compact reel that still manages to pack up 150m of 0.23mm mainline, which is brilliant for a match/feeder reel. The design really is top notch on this one!
A third great feature of the Daiwa Ninja Match is its extremely smooth reeling action, thanks to 5 stainless steel ball bearings that just make one’s fishing experience so much nicer.
For what it’s worth, I also really like the visual design of this reel, which manages to combine modern technology and a beautiful reel visualization.
If you are interested in this neat match reel, you can find the Daiwa Ninja Match Lt 3000 C on Amazon
Best Line for Coarse Fishing
I just love the Daiwa Sensor as it is a really strong and qualitative mainline that you can rely on 100%. Once you have found your mainline, you stick with it, you know!
That will definitely be the case if you decide to use this line for your coarse fishing. This line has a subtle colour, an incredible abrasion resistance and you get almost around 1800 yards of it for a very decent price. Use the 6lb test for smaller coarse fish and the 8lb test for larger ones (bream, tench, and carp up to 12-12lb). All in all, the perfect mainline!
You can find the Daiwa Sensor bulk spool on Amazon here
Best Coarse Fishing Tackle
When feeder fishing, cage feeders are an effective way to put groundbait out into your swim with every cast you make. They also act as a lead to keep your hookbait on the bottom.
There are many different types of cage feeders out there, but I prefer using the classic open-ended metal feeders. I use 20-25g cage feeders for smaller coarse fish (roach, rudd, silver bream) and 30-40g feeders for larger coarse fish (bream, tench).
You can buy sets of 5-10 feeders on both Amazon and Ebay for a very good price!
When ledgering, method feeders can help you catch a lot more fish, as they also carry out your groundbait with each cast.
They also act as a weight when fishing with a bolt rig, which makes them super effective.
I use method feeder for my bream, tench and carp fishing and prefer using weights of 40-60g (1.5-2oz), as such feeders are larger and can carry more groundbait.
I used to fish with Fox and Korda method feeders a lot, but they are rather pricey and you can lose quite a few. Now, I am using the method feeder set by Chudian.
They are much cheaper and doing just as fine as the more expensive alternatives! Half of these 8 feeders weigh below 1oz, those you can use for smaller coarse fish on the feeder rod. As a bonus, each set comes with a pair of groundbait molds.
You can find the Chudian Method Feeder Set on Amazon
Sometimes, you may want to fish with normal leads, rather than feeders, both when ledgering or feeder fishing.
The same reasoning applies here; you can buy very expensive leads, or you can buy pretty cheap ones. Both will do exactly the same thing for you: keeping your rig on the bottom.
Insider tip: More and more weights are lead-free, which is better for the environment. Try to buy those, if you can.
You can find very decent and cheap fishing weights primarily on Ebay.
Float fishing is yet another major aspect of coarse fishing, and depending on the type of venue you are fishing in and what type of fish you are targeting, you will need different types of floats.
Most commonly, you will need Avon floats for river fishing, penn floats, or wagglers for fishing in lakes, as well as bigger slider floats for predator fishing.
The size of your float will be determined by a variety of factors, such as:
- wind and waves
- fishing depth
- fish species
- type and size of bait
My best tip is Drennan’s wide range of floats. They have everything from the lightweight waggler for careful crucians, the classic Avon float for river chub and barbel, to big and heavy slider floats for pike fishing with dead or live baitfish. You can find and purchase all of their floats on both Amazon and eBay.
Whenever I can, I skip fishing with a hooklength and instead go for the mainline all the way. But, there are circumstances in which you will need to use a hooklength!
Such circumstances can include float fishing for species such as crucian carp or chub, which can easily shy away from a too thick mainline (thin fluorocarbon). When fishing the method feeder, you will also need a hooklink for your rig (either fluorocarbon or braid).
For thin, close to invisible hooklinks (for those crucians) I love using the Berkley Trilene FC Clear Line (4 or 6lb test). You won’t be able to detect this line underwater, and neither will the fish, it’s brilliant! And for its diameter, it is extremely strong. Tie directly to your mainline with a blood knot, in order to skip using an easily detectable swivel.
You can find the Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon Clear Line on Amazon
For larger species on the method feeder, I prefer using braided hooklink material, as it is much stronger and more durable. I actually don’t shy away from using 20lb braided hooklinks, as they really do a fine job for those big angry tench and barbel. Neither will they let you down, should you get a bigger carp on!
Korda’s Dark Matter (coated or uncoated) is my go-to hooklink material for such species. Top-quality for a decent price and I have yet to lose a fish using these hooklinks!
If you are interested in buying the Korda Dark Matter, you can find it on Amazon
When it comes to hooks, I always prefer fishing with wide gape variants, both on the float and the method feeder. These specimen-type hooks won’t disappoint and catch you far more fish than other hooks will do!
For smaller coarse fish, I exclusively use the Drennan’s Wide Gape Specialist (usually in sizes 8,10,12 and 14, depending on the species I target).
For larger coarse specimens (such as bream, tench and carp), I prefer using a strong and solid carp hook (size 6 for smaller boilies and pop-ups, and size 8 for corn or fake corn). The Korda Wide Gape and Wide Gape X is one of the best hooks on the market! You can’t go wrong with these!
You can find both Drennan’s and Korda’s hook series on eBay and Amazon.
Glow Sticks for Night Fishing
A lot of coarse fishing is done at night, and if you are feeder fishing in the dark, you will need glow sticks in order to see the bend of your feeder tip!
The Drennan Super Specialist Isotopes is a superior type of glow stick that will fit any rod tip and can be seen extremely well in the dark.
I definitely recommend using isotopes, as they can be used indefinitely, and not only once, like conventional glow sticks. Your mainline is also much less likely to tangle around these isotopes when casting out, which can otherwise be really disturbing when fishing at night.
You can take a closer look at the Drennan Super Specialist Isotopes on Amazon
Best Rod Pod for Coarse Fishing
The VGT Carp Coarse Fishing Dual Line 3 Rod Pod is the perfect all-round choice for the coarse angler! It is a lightweight that is easily and quickly mounted and dismounted and can take up to three rods.
This is a very stable rod pod that can also handle bigger fish, such as tench and carp, without any problem.
The fully adjustable legs make it the perfect fit for any ground and any type of bank.
I also really like the included case, which can be stored away easily in your recliner chair or on top of your carryall bag. Really practical!
If you are interested in buying the NGT Carp Coarse Fishing Dual Line 3 Rod Pod, you can find it on Amazon here
Best Coarse Fishing Landing Net
I have used the 16” Drennan Landing Net for many years now and I am very satisfied with this type of net and mesh.
I have tried out plenty of landing nets and many of them did not last very long, due to rather poor material quality. Drennan’s landing net can manage both heavier fish, hooks and swivels and branches that might get tangled up in it without breaking. It’s a really durable net!
Its size of 16” allows you to safely net both small and larger course fish (such as big bream and tench, and smaller carp). Furthermore, the net’s mesh material is extremely fish friendly and will not harm the fish’s scales.
If you want to take a closer look at the Drennan Landing Net, you can find it on Amazon here
Now that you have everything you need for your coarse fishing adventures, I wish you tight lines and lots of big specimens!
Tuesday 31st of January 2023
Hi I am new to course fishing (fly for many years) and found this article wonderfully helpful. One question; I cannot find the TFG rod available anywhere and wonder whether you could suggest an alternative? I have been given an Avanta X5 Float and a Drennan Matchpro Ultralight 12ft which I believe would cover the float side of things so it is the 'rest' I really need to cover. I am particularly interested in Barbel, Tench and Chub if that makes any difference.
Wednesday 1st of February 2023
Hi Adrian, thank you for the nice comment! I love coarse fishing, and so I try to write really helpful and informative content so that others can enjoy it as well! :)
That's a very good question. For heavier and stronger species like tench and barbel, a specialist rod is probably your best choice! You can use those for both float, feeder, and bolt-rig fishing!
I can suggest both the Drennan Duo Tip (from the article) and the Shimano Vengeance Barbel Classic. I have both of them and prefer the 1,50lb versions. If you want to chuck out heavier rigs and baits, a 2lb alternative is probably the better choice, although the 1,5 pounders manage anything up to 2oz quite well!
Pair these with the suggested Shimano baitrunners and you're ready to rock!
Pro Tip: Check out the Strike and Catch YouTube channel as well if you like. While focusing a lot on predator fishing, I do have quite a few videos on specimen/coarse fishing as well! Here is a link to the channel: https://www.youtube.com/@strikeandcatch
Hope that helps, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have more questions!
Tight lines /Max