There are few sports more dear to the British heart than river fishing. For hundreds of years, rich and poor alike have found productive and entertaining angling at the hundreds of rivers and streams found throughout the British Isles. Both fast and slow rivers are home to a multitude of different species that are equally at home in both moving and still waters.
The use of "ground-baits" to encourage feeding is a common tactic, with home-made baits being a very popular type that has been used by carp and coarse fishers for decades. These tend to have a relatively high protein and fat content. They are generally more effective when used in the spring and summer months when fish are hungrier and more active.
One of the most alluring things about river fishing is the ability to get away from it all. Most true in the off-season months, river banks are usually less likely to be crowded than most lakes in the same area. The exception to this is when the salmon or trout are running, often resulting in anglers practically standing on top of one another to get the best spot. Being considerate and getting there early is the best way to ensure success and a good time.
River fishing differs from lake fishing, in that; your casting space will be severely limited when compared to a lake or loch. As a result, both fixed line and rod and reel anglers will want to make adjustments for this smaller space. This highly-personal approach to angling appeals to many anglers of both sport and coarse fish, as the ultimate in angling experiences.
As for technique, the chaotic nature of many rivers and streams in the wet season means you'll have to put more weight on your lead, especially for bottom-dwellers such as eel and carp. Shorter leads are often best at accomplishing this and allowing you to more easily cast. Creating motion in the water by "jigging" your bait is also less necessary when river fishing since choppy water will do this for you.
Many experienced river anglers recommend you spend your time casting from the opposite bank. While this may increase your chances of catching on a snag, it also makes the fish below somewhat less suspicious. This is most true when performing a lot of casting, as is very often the case when fly fishing on UK Rivers.
Choosing a good river to fish from is often more a matter of personal taste and location, since there are good rivers to be found in every single UK County. Clean-running rivers with gravel bottoms are the most prized, as this allows you to actually see the fish in their habitat. From these observations, you can get an idea as to how they're behaving on any given day and adjust your strategy accordingly.