How I Started Fishing – with Amanda Hook

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How I Started Fishing – with Amanda Hook

In this blog, Angling Direct’s photographer; Amanda Hook, reveals her experiences with starting out in fishing, discussing the benefits of being a beginner angler when working in the angling industry.

I’ve always had an interest in fish and creatures alike but it was usually just to watch them and snorkel with them on holidays! I recall that when I was growing up, my dad had a pond full of different fish that I remember one day I put a little Koi fish of my own into. I could sit and watch the fish for hours, but I never really thought about going to catch them… until I got a job at Angling Direct.


Working in the Angling Industry

Initially, I wasn’t interested in the fishing aspect of my job so much, just solely the creative photography side, but that has certainly all changed. Now, I’m looking for the days I can go fishing when I’m not working.

Being a photographer at Angling Direct, I’ve had the opportunity to watch a lot of fishing with the Angling Direct Youtube team (Phil, Stephen and Chris) whilst they have been out filming. It was during these photography sessions that the subject of my photography; Stephen and Phil would occasionally start handing over the fishing rod to me, so I could feel what it would be like the reel in a fish.


The First Fishing Session

The very first fishing rod I held in my hand was one of Steve’s, whilst he was out filming doing some match fishing on Wroxham broads. On this occasion, I managed to catch just a small fish but it was still very exciting as it was my very first fish! In all honestly, after that, I would not say it was ‘love at first catch’.

As time went on, I was starting to go out to the bankside a lot more to get lifestyle imagery and I naturally started showing more interest in fishing. A particular noteworthy occasion was after a boat fishing session on Wroxham broads, where the AD Youtube team were targeting perch. I was handed a rod to have a little go, and I loved it!


My First Pike Capture

The most memorable moment of fishing for me probably must be going to catch my first Pike. On this photo shoot, the AD team had plenty of predator products to shoot, so Phil and I took the opportunity for a day on the boat, along the Norfolk broads.

In between doing some photography, I tossed a few lures around and caught what felt like a really big pike! This is probably the moment I knew I loved fishing. Being out in calm open water, surrounded by nature. Predator fishing to date is my favourite type of angling and I look forward to the winter to target my first perch.

“It is something I think you will find hard not to enjoy!” - Amanda on Pike Fishing


Carp Fishing for the Beginner Angler

I have also had some experience and lots of enjoyment when surface fishing for carp.  To see carp taking the bait from the top certainly makes this type of fishing really addictive to any newcomers.

On a day off from work during the summer, I arranged to meet Phil at Homersfield Lake for some carp fishing. This carp fishing session was a great opportunity to practice my casting skills which paid off with me landing a 36.10oz beautiful mirror carp.

As a beginner I was very lucky I had an experienced angler like Phil to help and talk me through the thick bed of weed my carp kept diving into. Phil stressed that in a deep weed scenario that it is wise to keep the rod up nice and high and keep steady pressure on.

“What’s great is, I’m constantly learning each time I go.” - Amanda on Carp Fishing


The Importance of a Fishing Guide

Not all beginners will have an angling oracle at their side when learning, however, I strongly recommend that when starting out that you fish with someone with some fishing knowledge. They can guide you and help you get more out of the pastime. I have been lucky that I have been able to learn from Phil Spinks, who is just a fountain full of knowledge about every kind of fishing discipline! As a new angler, I am grateful that he takes the time to continually teach me about the sport, even outside of work.

Check out Phil Spink’s Specimen Series here.



Fishing Video Tutorials for Beginner’s & Keeping it Simple

As I’ve been getting more into carp fishing, I also watched a fair amount of tutorials on YouTube. I got a bit sucked in by all the different types of rigs you can make, and it did get a bit daunting at one point. When using Youtube for learning more about fishing be sure not to overcomplicate it for yourself. If it starts getting confusing, just get to the bank and give some videos you watched a go. For example, on a recent day spent at the bankside for some photography, I tried to tie some Ronnie Rigs but I must be honest, they did not come out too well which ended up in me losing some carp.

Luckily, on this occasion, I had Phil guiding me, telling me to make my rigs more simple until my confidence and rig tying had improved. I decided to simplify things down to a hair rig and a Palomar knot which Phil taught me. The Palomar knot is a much more secure and easy knot to learn for new anglers and it is what I have been using to tie rigs to this day.



Palomar Knot

Since simplifying my rigs and knot tying, I have caught plenty, such as a lovely 20lb common carp. It certainly goes to show the simple rigs do catch and when you are starting out, you really don’t need fancy rigs to get you some results.

As I conclude my first blog entry on my fishing journey thus far, I can say that every day I spend fishing is a day of learning and education. For my upcoming fishing sessions, I am looking forward to spending time to put in the practice and continue to learn ways to develop my newfound love for angling.


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