UK Coarse fish species

UK Coarse fish species

                 What are coarse fish?

The term ‘Coarse’ means all of the freshwater fish found in the British isles excluding trout, sea trout and salmon. The reason in which they were determined as ‘coarse fish’ derives from a term they had prior to coarse which was the ‘rough’ fish, this was mainly due to the tubercles which some of these fish such as bream, dace and roach can develop before they begin to spawn.


Daniel Hughes


Match & Coarse



Within the group of coarse fish, they also fall into different family’s for instance; Carp, tench, roach, dace & bream fall into the cyprinidae family. The perch and the ruffe fall into the percidae family, the pike falls into the esocidae family.

Coarse fishing is the most widespread type of fishing across the UK, it’s easily accessible and all you have to do is get a fishing license and head off to your local lake, canal or river and you can start coarse fishing, with the permission of the lake owner or the club which runs the river or canal of course! Coarse species when caught are returned back to their habitat, they are not the same as game or sea species when in certain circumstances they can be taken home to eat.

We have written out a list below of some of the most common coarse fish which you can go out and start fishing for on fishing venues close to you!

1.Rudd (Scardinius Erythropthalmus)

Are often found in shallow still waters with reeds, sand or silt substrate. They can grow up to nearly 5lbs in weight and have a lovely golden colour to them, large Rudd are a very sought after coarse fish with the current UK record at 4lb 10oz, a very efficient common method for catching Rudd on still waters is float fishing maggots.

2. Roach (Rutilus Rutilus)

Roach are very adaptable, large roach can be caught out of rivers as well as still waters, they are recognised for having red fins, which are more orange when the roach are smaller. They can be caught in varied depths and amongst weed, they also love maggots as well. Trotting maggots down the river or waggler fishing for them on a still water can be a very effective tactic. The current UK British record stands at 4lb 5oz!

3.Dace (Leuciscus Leuciscus)

Are often found in rivers, they are quick moving and can be very elusive. They prefer faster flowing water with a sandy/gravely substrate. River fishing with a trotting tactic can be very effective for Dace, they have also been known as the Dart fish due to how fast they move and take flys. Dace are very similar to chub, but the difference being the size they grow to and the concaved shape of the anal and dorsal fins. The British record Dace stands at 1lb 5oz.

4.Bream (Abramis Brama)

There are two types of bream; the common or bronze bream which grows largest and the silver bream which doesn’t grow large. Bream are most commonly found in lakes in the UK, but are also caught in numbers across rivers and canals. Bream will often hoover up all manner of baits and can sometimes be a nuisance fish to carp anglers as they tend to move in shoals and clean out carp anglers baited spots very quickly. But large bream are very sought after by coarse fishing anglers who will often feeder fish for bream. Feeder fishing with hook baits such as maggots, sweetcorn, worm and pellets can be great to land some dustbin sized bream! The current British record common bream stands at 22lb 11oz & the British record silver bream has been recorded at 3lb 4oz.

5.Tench (Tinca Tinca)

Tench used to be known as the doctor fish, it was believed that if other fish rubbed up against them they could get certain healing properties. Tench are very distinct in shape and have a deep green colour with red eyes. Lakes are the most common venue for catching tench, but they can also be caught in some rivers and canals. Margins, reeds and lily pads are features which are worth considering if you are fishing for tench, you also want to use baits such as large worms, maggots or sweetcorn. Float fishing amongst lily pads is a traditional tench tactic, waiting for the float to lift and make minor movements can often be the tell-tale sign of a tench. The current British record stands at 15lb 3oz.

6.Carp (Cyprinus Carpio)

Carp were actually kept by the medieval monks for food back in 1250AD, they have since been farmed and grown in multiple fish farms in the UK and stocked in numerous lakes. Carp fishing is the most popular type of freshwater fishing, the introduction of the boilie and numerous other carp baits changed the carp fishing scene! Carp can be found in most still water lakes across England and they can also be found in some of the rivers as well. Classic baits such as sweetcorn, bread, luncheon meats, tiger nuts and worms are all great carp baits. But many anglers use pellets and boilies in the current climate whereby carp will feed on the bottom and on the surface. In the summer you can often catch carp which are feeding on the surface on bread flake or dog biscuit. In cooler conditions you may want to ledger a boilie or pellet on the lake bed to catch any carp which could be feeding on the bottom. The British record carp currently stands at 68lb 1oz.

7.Barbel (Barbus Barbus)

The barbel is commonly found in rivers, they cover a lot of water in rivers and have been known to have travelled in excess of one mile in a day on some stretches of river. They are a notoriously hard fighting fish, they predominantly feed on naturals on the bottom of the river. Barbel are often fished for on the bottom, either using a ledger or feeder to fish a likely looking stretch of river. When it comes to bait, pellets can be a great winner, barbel love weed, gravel and fast flowing water and they use this to their advantage when you are playing them. Barbel are very powerful, if you hook one on the feeder you want to be using a relatively tough set up to cope with the power of the Barbel. The British record barbel is currently 21lb 2oz!

8.Chub (Leuciscus Cephalus)

Chub are commonly found in rivers across the UK, they have also been stocked into some coarse fishing venues and have been caught at large weights in lakes. The most common place for coarse anglers to target chub is on the river, baits such as lob worm, cheese, bread flake, maggots are all great chub baits. Chub can be caught all through the river season, and they can be caught in the winter on trotting tactics or ledger and also on the surface in the summer, with breadflake. Chub will also take lures! They are naturally very slow growers, and it can take a chub 6-10 years to grow 1lb in weight, meaning that large chub are often very old fish! The current British record is 9lbs 5oz.

9.Perch (Perca Fluviaitlis)

Perch are a predator fish and are known for their 5-black stripes along their flank, they are found in lakes and rivers across the UK, large perch are very sought after in rivers and canals. Smaller Perch will often shoal up, the larger perch tend to move away from the shoals and spend a lot of time on their own. Perch love structures, features and weed beds, they can be caught on large worms, maggots and lure fished for with spinners and lures. Perch are also strong winter feeders, a lot of coarse anglers target perch in the winter months. The current British record is 6lb 3oz.

10.Pike (Esox Lucius)

Pike are the most common predator fish in the UK, they can be found in rivers, lakes, canals, and lochs. Some pike have grown to large wights in some trout venues, where they have fed on the trout in the lake and put on size fast! They are commonly fished for throughout the colder months, anglers will target them with dead baits such as smelt, mackerel and lamprey to name a few. In the warmer months, the pike can become a lot more active and pike anglers will fish for them with lures and spinners. They can often be found lurking near snags, features, weed and the margins of the lake, laying in wait of their prey. Pike haven’t evolved in over 60 million years; they are a prehistoric predator! The current British record is 46lb 13oz.

11.Zander (Stizostedion Lucioperca)

The Zander has a large spikey dorsal fin, very similar to that of the perch, they are fished for in a very similar manner as pike, a lot of dead bait fishing in the winter months and more lure and jig fishing in the warmer months when the Zander become more active. They are also frequently caught at night as they are very good night predators, they descended from a stocking of 97 Zander in 1963 in the Great Ouse Relief channel. The current British record is 21lb 5oz. The most common location to fish for Zander tends to be the East Anglian region in some of the large reservoirs.

12.Wels Catfish (Silurus Glanis)

The Wels catfish are the largest of the predators in UK waters, with the true British record weighing in at 62lb! Catfish are notorious night feeders, they have very small beady eyes, but large whiskers which they sense with to find their prey. They have been caught on numerous baits over the years, half a tin of luncheon meat, large halibut pellets, squid, mackerel and carp anglers boilies! They will eat near enough anything meaty or fishy, They have been known to have eaten ducklings, frogs and rats. They usually hold in safe areas such as lily pads, margins, deep holes etc until they venture out and hunt for their prey at night.

13.Eel (Anguilla anguilla)

Eels are found in rivers, lakes, canals, and most water ways across the U.K, when the rivers are in flood, eels can actually survive on land and have been known to travel across land to lakes from rivers. Eels enter the UK through sea estuaries, and into freshwater rivers. They are usually caught at early dawn, dusk and at night, they are predators which will get caught all year round. Eels are usually caught off the bottom, worms, maggots, deadbait sections and casters will catch eels, they can be fished for on the float with a hookbait on the lakebed or ledger fished. They can be a bit troublesome on the bank and cause tangles in the line so you may want to fish a certain type of eel specific rig to avoid this. The British record currently stands at 11lb 2oz.


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About The Author

Daniel Hughes Dangler

Daniel Hughes

CEO & Co-Founder

Being out on the bank and catching a fish is just a bonus for me, what I really love about angling is it provides us with the ability to be at one with nature and appreciate what most do not get to see. I discovered my passion for angling at the age of 9 and it has never left me, carp fishing has always been the core of my angling but I will never turn down the opportunity to target other species and enjoy what our waters have to offer.

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2020-06-19T14:06:44+01:00June 18th, 2020|Match & Coarse|