Top tips for commercial fisheries

commercial fisheries
Commercial fishery action (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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Fishing is a hobby that you never stop learning from, no matter how experienced you are, but for anyone starting out then it is best to keep things nice and simple on a commercial fishery. Stick to the basics without overcomplicating things unnecessarily, for example using a fancy rig without properly understanding the mechanics of it. In fact, some of the most successful rigs  are some of the most basic ones in angling. The simple message is to keep things simple and do the basics well and you’ll catch plenty.

pellet waggler

Float fishing is the best way to tackle commercials. (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Fish fine

You don’t need to fish with powerful rods and strong terminal tackle on commercials. A match rod and a small fixed spool reel, 4 to 5 lb main line, a slightly weaker hook link and a size 16 hook is perfect. This tackle will easily handle double-figure carp as well as being sensitive enough for smaller species such as roach and rudd.

Float fish

Float fishing is a great method to use during the summer months on commercials. Feed two swims – one in open water and another in the margins – and alternate fishing between the two to keep the fish coming.

Simple shotting

Wagglers are great for commercial fisheries. There’s usually no need for shot down the line – simply use it to lock the float on the line. You only really need to add a dropper shot (to get the bait down through the water quickly) if you are getting too many small fish on the drop.

Beat undertow

On windy days, you may encounter undertow and find that your float is always on the move. This makes it difficult to feed your swim accurately and to leave your hook bait in one place long enough to induce a bite. If you find this happening, place a large shot a few inches from your hook bait, as it will stabilise your float in an instant.

Mixed bags

Commercial fisheries are great for catching a variety of species, although many are stocked with too many carp. Don’t become obsessed with just catching carp but enjoy catching all kinds of fish.

silver bream

Don't be obsessed with just catching carp. You never know what you are going to catch next, like this silver bream (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Firm up meat

Bits of luncheon meat or Spam are great baits for a mixed bag of fish on commercials. Used straight out of the tin the meat can be a bit soft and doesn’t always stay on the hook when casting it out. Leaving the meat out in the elements for an hour or so before fishing firms it up so it stays on the hook a lot better.

Beautiful bread

Sliced white bread is a great economical bait to use on commercials and is incredibly effective too. Use a bread punch to produce easily hookable discs.

Size doesn’t matter

Too many anglers are obsessed with size and are quick to discard small fish as being a nuisance. No fish should ever be a nuisance. When I asked Louis what fish he most enjoyed catching on his latest session he told me it was a carp of a few ounces, more so than any of the bigger fish he landed that day. A refreshing outlook.

Treat all fish with care

An unhooking mat and disgorger is an absolute must to ensure all fish are unhooked correctly and returned safely.


Always make sure to take a disgorger with you.

Always make sure to take a disgorger with you. (Image credit: Angler's Mail)
Angler's Mail

Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.