Almost every angler dreams of opening their own fishery at some stage. You can just picture it: owning your own lake, choosing your ideal fish stocks, watching your business grow and fishing to your heart’s content.
It sounds so simple in theory. In practice, running a fishery is all of those things, but it’s also a lot of hard work. You’ll need to think about how much space you’ll need (three acres is workable, five acres is ideal), how much it will cost to set up (around £12,000 per acre) and consider things like planning permission and getting the right commercial fisheries insurance
so you and your fish stocks are protected.
Starting your own fishing lake from scratch needs proper thought and planning, as well as a steady stream of members to make it a good commercial opportunity. If you want to attract new members to your fishing club, you’ve got your work cut out.
Here are five tips to help you recruit more members and keep your fishery a commercial success.
1 Make yourself easy to find
Your number one priority when setting up a fishery business (or any business) is making yourself visible online. People like to do a bit of research before they commit to buying something – and the same applies if they’re thinking about becoming a member of a fishing club.
To make sure people can find your fishing lake, you need to set up a website and business page on Facebook to give potential members details about how to get involved and insights into the daily comings and goings at your fishing club. Make sure the content is informative, relevant, promotional and easy to navigate. And make sure it is really easy for a user to find out how to become a member or renew a membership.
Once you’re up and running, you could ask some of your customers to rate and review your fishery on websites such as the Fishery Network
. And don’t forget to check out what your nearest competitors are doing, and try to offer something unique that will help you stand out.
2 Get your local community involved
Opening your fishing club up to members can really help strengthen the local community. You can invite local schools, scout/brownie clubs and other local community groups to visit your fishing club for taster sessions. You might also want to team up with other sports clubs to offer their members free day passes to your lake. It is important to have the right fisheries insurance in place
when inviting people to visit your business, so make sure your cover include public liability.
3 Make year-round membership an option
In 2016, the rules were changed so that rod licences last for 365 days from the date they were purchased, rather than just running until the end of March, regardless of when they were bought. This change came after mounting pressure from anglers and the Angling Trust. Anglers clearly want to get a full year’s worth of fishing out of their licence, so you should make that an option at your fishing club too. Memberships that run for just a few weeks of the year are not going to appeal to the majority of anglers.
4 Be inclusive and spread your appeal
If you’re passionate about fishing, you’ll want to get as many people enjoying the activity as possible. That means you’ll want to make your fishing lake as attractive to as many potential members as possible – young or old, male or female, beginner or pro. To create an inclusive environment you’ll need to work out what different people prefer – for example, some might prefer a digital newsletter while others would much rather get a printed one through the post.
Another way to make your fishing club more inclusive and appealing is to combine it with another income stream. This might be an on-site campsite, a tea room or a fishing shop. This can help you expand the appeal of your fishing lake and attract more members in the process, making it a real destination for the whole family.
5 Maintain good quality stock
Finally, if you want to attract as many members as possible to your fishing lake you’ll need to ensure it provides good quality stock. You’ll want a good mix of fish to keep things interesting for your visitors - think Carp, Tench, Pike, Perch and Bream for starters. The better the quality of fish, the more people will want to become a member. Make sure you take out fisheries insurance that will protect your fish against disease
Here are a few key pointers to look out for to ensure you maintain good quality fish stock:
· Nitrogen levels
: Keep an eye on the nitrogen levels in your fishing lake. Too high and your fish will die. High levels of nitrogen can cause excessive growth of weeds and algae. Weeds are required to oxygenate the water, but too many will affect the quality of fishing.
· Cheap stock
: Buying cheap stock is always going to be a false economy. The main risk is that the low-cost fish could bring disease to your lake – something that could threaten your entire business.
· Maintain proper oxygenation
: To maintain the circulation of oxygen in your lake, you need to keep it properly aerated. You can do this through surface aeration, natural aeration and submerged aeration.
· Don’t overstock
: Look after your fish, feed them well and don’t overstock the water, otherwise the fish simply won’t grow.
· Act quickly
: If you do have a problem with your lake, you’ll need to act fast. You can often prevent small issues escalating into larger ones, so time is of the essence. It is also worth seeking professional advice when any issues do arise. If a problem does occur, having fisheries insurance can ensure you are protected against any business interruption
At Insurance Choice, our fisheries insurance
can protect your on-site assets and provide cover for fish stock, including disease. When it launched, our commercial waters fisheries insurance
closed a gap in the market and is dedicated to protecting your livelihood.
Commercial waters fisheries insurance through Insurance Choice can include cover for:
- Material damage - including portable equipment, computers and boats
- Business interruption
- Employer’s liability - cover up to £10,000,000
- Public liability - cover up to £5,000,000
- Professional indemnity - cover up to £200,000
- Hired-in plant
So if you run a fishery, fish farm or angling club, get in touch with our team of specialists today and find the right fisheries insurance
cover for your business.