The four basic methods of angling are bait fishing, fly fishing, bait casting or spinning, and trolling. All are used in both freshwater and saltwater angling, but the first and last are most commonly used in saltwater.
Bait fishing, commonly called still fishing in North America and bottom fishing in England, is certainly the oldest and most universally used method. In English freshwater fishing it is used to catch what are called coarse fish: bream, barbel, tench, dace, and grayling (i.e., all fish but game fish, those that provide the angler with sport by the way they fight capture).
A bait is impaled on the hook, which is set by the angler when the fish swallows it. Common baits are worms, the maggots of certain flies, small fish, bread paste, and cheese. The bait may be fished on the bottom, weighted down with what is called a ledger in England and a sinker in the United States, usually of lead, or it may be fished at any desired depth. A buoyant object, called a float in England and a bobber in the United States, made of quill, cork, wood, plastic, or a combination, suspends the bait at the desired depth.
In order to attract fish, what is called ground bait by the British and chum by Americans may be thrown in the water. Chum is commonly soaked bread or meal, to which some of the bait being used on the hook may be added.
Rods used are usually 10 to 15 feet long, with a fixed-spool reel and monofilament line of 1- to 6-pound (450- to 2,700-gram) strength.
In North America, where most of the fish are predatory, still fishing is practiced with less specialized tackle, the traditional rod being a long cane pole. Freshwater fish taken by this method include bluegills, crappies, perch, and catfish, as well as bass and walleyes.
Ice fishing through holes cut in frozen lakes is particularly popular in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Valley region of the U.S. and Canada. Equipment is commonly a...