If commercials never existed

rayner

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Ok, I've accepted that commercials are not wanted, if so and commercials never existed how would river or should I say natural venue anglers get their bait.
Surely if commercial venues floated away in the midst of time then there would be no use for tackle shops without bait sales. On the other hand, all anglers would revert back to natural venues leaving no spare pegs with a definite shortage of room like there was in the 60s and 70s when pegs were hard to come by if we were not fishing a match.
I' be interested to hear from the folk who have rivers to themselves.
 

john step

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Nothing wrong with the idea of commercials. I fish them now and again. I fish club lakes a lot that have been artificially stocked at some past point so not a lot of difference sometimes. Up here even those are never crowded.

As to the rivers, I doubt they would get more crowded if commercials never existed. My reasoning is that those who are fit enough and interested in rivers do so already. Its an age thing. All those white heads you see on easy access waters would not be able to get to a lot of river stretches.

As to bait availability, I agree that tackle shops/bait outlets would get very thin on the ground. I think that as most anglers as a whole use commercials I think it is them that keep the tackle industry and bait production afloat.
 

peter crabtree

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Tackle shops would still need to supply bait to the thousands of river and canal anglers across the country, so wouldn’t necessarily have to close. In fact there would be fewer shops if commies didn’t exist as a lot of them have shops on site. Therefore there would be a bigger market for the in town shops.
 

rayner

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So all anglers would turn to natural venues, interesting. You believe anglers who are used to fishing on their doorstep as it were would travel miles to rivers or canals for their angling fix. Folk are used to virtually home comforts with toilets, cafe and tackle shop on site. Gone are the day of cr*pping in the grass and wiping your arris on a slice of bread.
 

bullet

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They're not for me, but I'm very glad there are commercials, they're good for angling generally, imo, allowing people who may not go fishing otherwise easy access, and as you say probably do keep some tackle shops going.
The main reason, though, is that I hardly see anyone on the Club stretches of river I fish!
 

Keith M

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When we had 3 million Anglers and no commercials at all we had no problems with buying bait or tackle and most towns had their flourishing tackle shops which all sold bait, rods and rod kits and everything else to do with fishing.
We may not have had pellet wagglers but we had a great many other types of float for different types of water and weather conditions.

We had lots of matches both big and small, and plenty of waters that non match Anglers could fish without being crowded and which had good fishing.

Theres a big misconception that commercials saved angling. This might have happened in the odd out of the way village that was cut off from civilisation but that was quite rare and I was definitely not aware of any.

Yes there were various rivers that held very few fish and were polluted but they were in the minority and little fished, but the majority of rivers and canals held good stocks of fish allbiet not as densely stocked as modern day commercials.

Commercial fisheries do provide facilities which makes life easier for Anglers that need or appreciate the extra comfort and extra facilities they provide, plus give the matchman a lot more chance of bagging up but don't be fooled into believing that they were the saviors of angling because they were not.

There were a lot more Anglers and a much larger number of tackle shops back in the days before commercials came onto the scene; in the areas of the UK that I have lived and fished over the years anyway.

Keith
 
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peter crabtree

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I think that as well, the first lock down relaxation which was about 4 weeks ago has just prolonged the first wave and the latest lifting will prolong it further and the inability of a lot of people to act with common sense will prolong it even further. The R number remains between 7-9 and the death rate is still 150+. I said to myself that when the death rate number fell below 100 I would wait for two weeks after that and go fishing. I was expecting that after that date it would continue falling and remain below 100; I would wait for two weeks to see if there was a spike. That was on the 8th June; 3 weeks later it is at 150-180, that's a spike in my opinion.
It also bothers me that my town that had the second lowest covid rate in England and was very quiet when all the day trippers etc stayed away has gone nuts. The council put a notice on their website for them to stay away and a few posters around the town, as if anyone was going to look and what was the point of the posters, by the time the day trippers saw them they were already here, lack of common is not exclusive to the herd or maybe that's where they do not learn it from!!
It is the same with small birds and kites they seem to know that kites are no threat to them. But if a sparrowhawk appears they it's panic stations.
So all anglers would turn to natural venues, interesting. You believe anglers who are used to fishing on their doorstep as it were would travel miles to rivers or canals for their angling fix.
Depends where you live? There’s miles of canals and rivers around the country.
My nearest commie is miles further away than 6 different rivers and 3 different canals.
 

rob48

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Tackle shop numbers have certainly reduced since commercial fisheries increased, whether there's a direct correlation is difficult to say, there's fewer shops generally now, mainly due to consumer habits.
One thing commercials do seem to have implemented is the rise of "venue experts" and small (circa 20 pegs or less) matches. The biggest match I ever fished had about 5,000 entrants and most river opens were over 100 peggers with 60+ on canals. The same anglers fished pretty much all different venues, although there were always dedicated river, canal, bream, anglers etc. This level of interest would undoubtedly have helped sustain town centre tackle shops.
 

rayner

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My state of health is the main reason I stopped match fishing even though I never had time to do anything other than the odd club match.
That wouldn't alter the fact there's no way I would fancy fishing a 10 to 20 pegger, the main problem with commercial fisheries for me is there are far too many. Anglers are far too spread across different venues to achieve decent matches of around 100 pegs, the local turn out is anything from single figures to high doubles.
My old club matches were 40 plus anglers which were OK but not a patch on the old Sheffield works matches or the Tetleys which were like an exodus from Sheffield.
Tackle shops have taken a big hit with many smaller shops not being able to grab enough custom, both Bennets and Calcotts closed their shops in Sheffield after the flood I can't remember the year but it's not that long ago.
If commercials had to close or never existed I doubt shops would reopen, folk would not risk their hard earned again.
 

sam vimes

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I'm not sure that the tackle shop theory holds that much water. There are fewer in town tackle shops since the rise of commercials and the attached tackle shops. The tackle shops associated with commies are certainly better than nothing, but they are invariably a waste of time for an angler fishing rivers and more natural stillwaters. Those in my neck of the woods don't even seem to be capable of keeping decent quality maggots, let alone turning quality casters that the river lads demand. When it comes to terminal tackle and rods more suited to a river, you can pretty much forget it. As far as I'm concerned, the in town tackle shops are fewer largely because of a change in shopping habits. However, the on site fishery tackle shops and the reduction in anglers using maggots and caster have also impacted on them.

Fortunately, the few local in town shops left still cater for the relatively healthy numbers of river (and river match) anglers that are still active. They carry rods and terminal tackle that would be all but useless on a commie. Most importantly, they haven't forgotten how to keep fresh bait. It's perhaps not surprising that newer shops, or those associated with commie fisheries, tend not to stock quality fresh baits. When the bulk of your bait sales consist of pellets and you have little or no experience of keeping quality maggots, they probably don't care.

Commies have their place and there's patently a demand for them. However, I'm not remotely convinced that they are the saviour of the tackle trade, and angling in general, that some claim them to be. That's similar to claiming McDonalds as being the saviour of the restaurant trade.

As far as travel goes, I have to drive further than two decent rivers (Swale and Tees) and my stillwater syndicate to get to anything particularly worthy of the "commie" name. Whilst I'd not be particularly keen for the rivers to get too busy, I actually wish that they were a lot busier than they are now. The clubs concerned would be in a far better position and the rivers actually fished better with more anglers putting bait in. In most instances, the busy stretches of river are caught in a self fulfilling prophecy. Until a certain tipping point, the more anglers that visit, the better the results are. It's vice versa for the deathly quiet stretches. Whatever fish that are present get harder to catch because they see so little bait. It's also worth noting that the busiest stretches of river I know locally are those that are little more than a fifty yard walk or where a vehicle can be parked behind the peg. It's also interesting that these places invariably end up being considered as the most prolific stretches on the river.

Sadly, it seems that many anglers that frequent commies tend to fish them exclusively. The prospect of walking any distance, not having a level peg, or having to work too hard for a minimal number, often of smaller fish, doesn't appeal. Even for those that aren't past such exertions, I can understand why, especially when they are only occasional anglers. I wouldn't turn my nose up at the prospect of being able to walk no more than fifty yards on a river, to a nice level spot with a swim pretty much the same as all the rest and a pretty good chance that I'd catch a few, including something half decent size, wherever I chose to stop. It's a lot better prospect than getting to know the stretch intimately over a long period of time, watching weather conditions, river levels, temperatures etc, and picking your times accordingly. Even then, the only thing I can almost guarantee to catch is a load of minnows. Believe me, I understand.

Far from being the saviour of angling and the tackle trade, I'm of the belief that commies have been pretty dismal for the wider tackle trade and general coarse angling. The only thing that they've been especially good for is themselves and the anglers that choose to fish them ahead of any other type of venue. If and when angler numbers rise significantly (Covid upturn notwithstanding) and tackle shops stop closing at a rate of knots, I may start to believe that commies genuinely are to the greater benefit of anything but themselves.
 

john step

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I have read the previous posts and think there is validity in the pro and con arguments. We will never know about the tackle shop question.
However, the question of who fishes where.......

I may well be wrong but over the last few years I have thought that the vast majority of todays anglers fish commercials. Maybe not exclusively but angler days on the bank would outnumber angler days on rivers and canals many times over?
I include in the commercial scene those fisheries that are club ponds that are heavily stocked and fish like commercials.
Judging by the results often on HDYGO there are many club waters ( including some of my own) that are like commercials albeit not quite as heavy stocked.

Anyone with thoughts on the ratio of the different types of waters fished.
 

peterjg

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I think that Sam Vines has it right. Commercials usually offer safe parking, convenient nearby swims, usually easier fishing and usually lots more fish and sometimes a tackle shop, a cafe and a toilet. Where as on natural (some would say "substandard") venues parking can be decidedly dodgy, they often involve long walks, back to nature conveniences and naturally fewer fish. Some people don't like commercials, I just don't understand that reaction. They fail to see the enjoyment in sitting around an overstocked muddy puddle catching mainly half starved carp or F1s with damaged mouths. Seriously though, if that's your thing and you enjoy it then why not? We are all different and enjoy our fishing in different ways. Some anglers enjoy places which are normally quieter and probably more natural but of course catches are usually much less.
 

Philip

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I think the demise of the local tackle shop has more to do with the rise of on line shopping than commies.

To me 99% of waters are.commercial. no ones proving fishing just for the love of anglers. Everyone will have thier own definition or vison about what a commie is.

If we take the extreme example..the hopelessly overstocked moon crator..are there really THAT many ? I dont know.

Its interesting when people talk about natural waters that are naturally stocked. I would think literally any water would have undergone artificial stocking of some sort.

As is often the case and probably why there is sometimes friction on the subject..people tend to try and compare the extreme examples from each end of the spectrum to make a point without consideration of the 1001 other possibilites inbetween. ...
 
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sam vimes

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I think the demise of the local tackle shop has more to do with the rise of on line shopping than commies.
As I said in my post, the demise of local tackle shops is largely down to a change in shopping habits. Internet shopping and out of town/trading estate shops is the more significant factor. However, I believe that commies have had some impact. The mere fact that live bait sales have taken a battering has meant that many anglers have no significant need to visit a local shop regularly. Internet shopping and fishery shops are perfectly adequate for many, but often not for the dwindling number of maggot, caster and (bought) worm users.

To me 99% of waters are.commercial. no ones proving fishing just for the love of anglers. Everyone will have thier own definition or vison about what a commie is.
They do indeed, but this is the problem when talking about commies. I can't fathom how you might believe that 99% of waters are genuinely commercial though. Angling clubs and societies still operate the majority of UK fisheries. Only a tiny fraction of those clubs and societies are making money. In fact, the majority are not for profit entities. The fact that a landowner might be making a few quid renting the riparian rights to a club doesn't really make for it being a commercial fishery.

If we take the extreme example..the hopelessly overstocked moon crator..are there really THAT many ? I dont know.
There are loads that have started out that way. However, nature has a nasty habit of taking over. It's very unusual for even the most barren muddy hole to remain that way for long. I know of a local fishery that was dug out of a boggy corner of a field. It was the archetypal muddy hole. The owner then put hardcore all around the edges of the water and installed platforms. The combination of poor ground and extensive hardcore meant that not much grew well, still doesn't. However, twenty years down the line, whilst still not desperately attractive, it's better than the barren muddy hole it once was. Most former moonscape fisheries I've seen over the years haven't stayed that way very long. Some are even fairly attractive, at least in a visual sense.

Its interesting when people talk about natural waters that are naturally stocked. I would think literally any water would have undergone artificial stocking of some sort.
There's barely a water in the UK that's entirely natural, especially with regards to never having had fish stocked. However, you can try to stock any water to have a more naturalistic stock density and variety. It can also be achieved almost by accident. Plenty of gravel pits get an initial (very minimal) stocking and never get (legally) fished. Whilst the initial stocking is anything but natural, whatever the stock levels end up being years down the line can at least be considered as a natural stock level. Either way, it's very unlikely that they'll ever get to the stocking densities of even the average commercial fishery.
 

mikench

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My first experience of fishing when I resumed from aged 13 was at a commercial in late 2015. The commercial in question was Partridge Lakes near Warrington. I did not enjoy the experience so never went back. I had never seen as many anglers sitting cheek by jowl with poles like a great line of garden gnomes. The few I spoke to were too ignorant to respond and I couldn't understand the attraction of long poles, rollers and the space they occupied. I still can't.

I disliked the artificiality of it and still do. I have access to 2 commercials on one club card but only visit one occasionally. The other didn't look like a commercial being in a picturesque spot with 3 natural looking lakes but it had a pollution inspcident and has never been the same.

I might blank but a natural water is infinitely preferable in my view even if stocked. Let's face it fish cannot travel overland to a depression filled with water.
 

rubio

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I'm mostly very happy to catch nothing much, in numbers or size particularly. There are places to visit when I feel a conference boost is appropriate. If I'm organised enough I turn up ready to have a go for carp in the margins just after a match ends.
There are often overconfident lumps sitting waiting.
If I'm there all day I'll usually feed very little and hope F1s and even proper carp don't notice. Usually results in more tench and quality silvers. Wouldn't be much use in a match but I'm content.
I still remember being impressed when some hotshot turned up on my local stretch with a whole pint of maggots for just one session. No wonder none of us could catch with that much bait going in!
 

markg

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I think without commercials fishing would have declined a lot further than it has. Match fishing was declining anyway and the advent of all the other entertainments for kids would have still gone on and there would be far fewer tackle shops and manufactures to support that dwindling clientele. A lot of anglers these days start on commercials, best place for them, a lot better than what I had as a kid.
 

xenon

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I think without commercials fishing would have declined a lot further than it has. Match fishing was declining anyway and the advent of all the other entertainments for kids would have still gone on and there would be far fewer tackle shops and manufactures to support that dwindling clientele. A lot of anglers these days start on commercials, best place for them, a lot better than what I had as a kid.
I'm sure that is true. Fishing at any level will need a fair investment of time, money and effort. The idea of serving an apprenticeship starting off with gudgeon on the canals would be met with an old fashioned sideways look from kids starting out these days, especially when instant results can be gained on commercials.
 

rob48

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I think the lack of "apprenticeship" when fishing can be difficult and slow and the instant results that are gained on commercials is one of the reasons for the number of commercial fish with deformed lips and mouths.
 

sam vimes

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If even a fraction of modern anglers share a similar mindset to my own, then commies (and full on carping) may actually be a reason why so many take up angling then stop after a while. I struggle to maintain a long term interest if I go down a one track route in my angling. Since my school years, I've exclusively match fished, carp fished and barbel fished for decent periods. It took me a while to figure out that such single mindedness was a recipe for personal dissatisfaction.

If I didn't mix things up by either regularly chopping and changing target species, venues or changing targets depending on the time of year, I'd have given up years ago. From all I've seen over the years, if you want to find a lapsed angler, look for one that has only ever fished for a single species, only fishes the same type of venue, or only fishes matches. Some can maintain such single mindedness over a lifetime. I don't believe that the majority of us really can.
 
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