Waggler fishing tips for your local commercial

We all know how deadly the pole is for catching, offering unrivalled accuracy in feeding and hookbait presentation. 

For more great tips from top anglers head to this year’s The Big One Show

But, as the water on commercial fisheries begins to clear a little, waving carbon over the heads of the fish can be the worst thing you can possibly do!

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Although you’ll still catch on the pole, having a waggler line up your sleeve can keep the bites coming. Such is its effectiveness in November and beyond that you may not even need to pick the pole up at all.

Rod and line allows you to cast around the peg to find the fish and present the bait at a range of depths, yet it’s a criminally under-used approach.

Norfolk matchman Robert Walton knows the value of the ‘wag’, however, and it plays a key part in the Matrix Wensum Valley Angling man’s cold-weather approach on his local Reepham Fisheries. Here’s how he fishes his float-and-maggot approach...

Why use the waggler?

“Fish will back off from the pole line so it is important to have a second line on the go. The waggler offers more versatility in terms of how far out you can fish. 

“My pole line would typically be around 13m out. I then have my waggler line at around twice this distance so that I’m keeping both lines well apart. Fishing at this time of year – especially for F1s – is about getting bites regularly.

“Because of the size of the fish, you need to keep something going in the net throughout the day.”

Multiple swims

“I’ll begin on the waggler because this gives me time to prime my pole line and let things settle down. I’ll have two areas to cast to, roughly at angles of 10 o’clock and two o’clock in the swim. 

“I’d give this between 45 minutes and an hour before picking a top kit up. Two lines also lets me experiment with my feed.”

Come off bottom

“Don’t think that the fish will always be on the bottom – especially F1s. These fish can come off bottom to get at the loosefeed or sometimes because they simply prefer to be here, and this will be shown by knocks as the bait falls, or by line bites. 

“Fishing 1ft off the deck can result in a smaller stamp of fish, but it will keep you catching. The colder the weather is, the more productive fishing off bottom is, so it’s worth bearing that in mind.”.

Waggler rig

“The float is a 4g loaded Matrix insert waggler to a 5lb mainline and an 0.11m hooklink to a size 20 Matrix Carp Bagger hook to fish double maggot (one red and one white). This is set around 2ins overdepth with shotting down the line made up of four No9s set 4ins apart in the bottom half of the rig.”


“Around 20 maggots every couple of minutes are catapulted in. By having two lines to go at, I can feed more on one of them to see how fish will react. To give them a bit of a kick, I spray the feed with Marukyu’s Scopex Amino Spray to give them a lovely bit of scent.”

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Casting around

“Although I try to land the waggler in the same spot, it does no harm to cast beyond the feed or to either side to see if the fish have backed away. I do this if I’ve waited a while for a bite. My plan is to cast past the feed and wind the float back into the target area. This is where in that opening hour I’d expect to pick up a few carp and F1s. If the response is slow, cast past the feed and leave the float there.”