Numbers nationally: 7.2 per cent of the population over 12 years old (2,296,000) are coarse fishermen; there are 843,000 game fishermen; and 88 per cent of all anglers are male.
Favourite haunts: the Spey, Tweed, Tay or Dee rivers (salmon); the Test or Itchen (trout); anywhere with water (coarse).
Hazards: drowning, wind (the weather variety), pollution, being fined pounds 2,500 by a "bankside bobby" for not holding a pounds 15-a-year National Rivers Authority licence, "sky liners" (passers-by who stand behind fishermen offering unsolicited advice), unfunny double-entendres based on the word "tackle", power lines, boats and barges.
The kit: "balanced tackle" - matching the right reel with the right rod and the right fish - is the key to fishing, or so the manufacturers say. As the UK's fishing-equipment industry has sales of nearly pounds 40m a year, they should know. Each species requires specific conditions, methods, rods, bait, clothes and accessories. Bass magazine has 500 pages of accessories dedicated to catching bass, or rather to catching bass fishermen. Similarly, French partridge-, peacock eye-, woodcock- and guinea fowl-feathered flies from the House of Hardy excite the salmon and trout specialist. For the carp angler, for whom getting a bite can take weeks or months, "bivvies' (tents), televisions and any state of-the art gadget to help pass the time are essential.
The gear: coarse fisherman - Iso-Dry Zip Out Jacket with breathable Membratex outer layer, pounds 44.99; Ambience Bib and Brace Trousers with lower kidney area Iso-Dry lining, pounds 109.99; Neoprene fingerless gloves, pounds 9.99; Skeetecs Hot Foot thermal boots, pounds 39.95. Fly fisherman - Hardy Wading life-jacket with automatic trigger, manual override back-up mechanism and safety whistle, pounds 199.95; Hardy multi-purpose hunting, fishing and shooting moleskin plus-fours, pounds 56.95; Barbour Tattersall check shirt, pounds 39.95; Barbour Neoprene chest waders with Vibram studded sole, pounds 225.
Accessories: carp fishing - King Crono 11-metre carp pole (rod), pounds 340; Solar Sodpod multi-rod holder with swing-out fully articulating legs, pounds 94.50; Uncle Josh Little Stinker Blood soft carp paste bait, pounds 4.99. Salmon fishing - Hardy Classic Deluxe 12ft 6in salmon fly rod, pounds 404; Hardy fly reel, pounds 150; "Foxboxed" Ally's Shrimps salmon fly, including orange, red, purple and deadly "crystal tailed" version, pounds 22; Bob Church Marrowspoon Priest (weighted stick that administers the last rites), pounds 9.95.
Optional extras: carp fishing - Steadfast carp sack made from dark fine mesh to minimise carp distress, pounds 12.99; Whiteheat inflatable carp pillow, pounds 19.99; JRC Cocoon three-bed chair pounds 245. Fly-fishing - Midge Head Net for protection against mosquitoes, midges, etc, pounds 5.50; Sotheby's guide to Fly Fishing, pounds 20.
Ultimate gadget: Daiwa Sensitron electronic bite-indication alarm system, pounds 109. This battery-powered bite-indicator rod attachment has windproof "ears" (the inability to distinguish between fish and wind movement is a common flaw in inferior systems), and an "accumulation latch" that sets off the bleep even at a twitch bite.
Bare essentials: rod, pounds 30-pounds 50; reel, pounds 15-pounds 30; line; a few floats, weights and hooks, pounds 20; landing net, pounds 25; flies or bait.
Ultimate experience: catching a fish; catching a record fish; making Trout and Salmon's Fly of the Month.Reuse content