Commercial fishing is not always about catching carp. A lot of commercials, especially the more established ones, contain a large head of silvers and so skimmers or bream can play a major role in your final weight.
20lb of skimmers on top of the carp is like catching an extra four or five carp on many venues. Add that with, say 60lb of carp, and this will give you 80lb. Now look at it a different way – you have just added a third of your weight by catching those skimmers!
So if I were to tell you that by using thinner line diameter’s you will catch more skimmers AND more carp you would probably think I was mad. By fishing lighter it will give you a better presentation of your bait, giving you more bites, equalling more fish. This is where catching the skimmers comes into it. By fishing lighter these finicky feeders are more likely to take your hook bait resulting in more fish.
So how light can you go? Well, if I told you I won a match at Moorlands Farm recently with 65lb 5oz, winning by just a pound, you might think I was lucky. If I then told you 25lb of that was skimmers and my largest carp was 9lb it might open your eyes.
I used a light 0.12mm Browning Hybrid hooklength to 0.14mm main line. This was coupled with Browning yellow Cenex hollow elastic, which is around a No10 but stretches for miles, and creates a well-balanced setup. This is the key really, as it would be no good fishing a stronger No14 elastic, for instance. This would only result in bumping the skimmers and causing breakages on the carp.
It is a case of just playing carp a minute or so longer – but you have done the hard work in hooking it in the first place. Unless you are looking to catch weights in excess of 100lb where you might be catching solely carp then I feel there is no need to step up.
So, next time you are on a commercial fishery, try using fine, balanced gear that gives you a chance with both the carp and the silvers. In my experience, it's a winning combination!
Jason Evans fishes for Browning Spa Match Group and is a past winner of the BAA Champs and the Sports Argus Champs as well as holding the River Stour record with 69lb.