Session 23 – On The River (Worcester Stour)!

A few times I’ve mentioned the Worcester Stour, a fairly local small river, and my intentions to fish it which at the end of the day seem to have not come to fruition recently. Indeed, looking back in my notes, the actual last visit I made to this venue was 9th August 2016! But yesterday I did eventually return … and will certainly return again despite having to battle 400 yards through literally chin high grass, an arduous enough task even burden free but with a rod quiver and seat box catching in the grasses too plus their actual bulk and weight it was a task for the determined! There was a path from the field’s gateway to the river lightly trampled down by previous passages of others but obviously not many had ventured that way – something that delighted me as it showed a lack of pressure on the water at least. Also a few swims had been trampled down and I made use of one of these for my session.

So, I arrived at the roadside laybye where one parks for this water – and which is also used for access to the adjoining Staffs-Worcs Canal, both waters being under control of the Birmingham Anglers’ Association (BAA) – at around 0700 on a fine sunny morning.

A ramble/slog down the roadside edge of the field to the road bridge over the river took a few wearing minutes…

Pictures from 2016

… and then the path wended itself upstream to the river’s weir…

Weir as on the day…

A nice looking and also a very enticing weir pool it unfortunately is quite snaggy as I knew from previous visits albeit they were 5 years ago but snags in the form of branches rising to the surface still indicated that remained the same and so I passed on to a favoured swim of mine just above the weir…

Facing downstream to the weir sill                                                                                              Facing upstream

You may notice the upstream view’s farside bank looks quite denuded and work has been done to put in bank shoring in place … not sure if this work has been done EA or by the landowner who lives directly across the river (you can see part of the brickwork of Stourton Hall in the downstream view) but its a shame really compared to previously when there was a lot of overhanging vegetation to provide fish cover.

The far bank as it was in 2016

However, there are signs that the vegetation is naturally making a comeback (Himalayan Balsam mainly) and there seems to be a few willow saplings sprouting there too, possibly planted, so looks like nature will heal itself in time…

I suspect the landowner is the culprit as the once inaccessible far bank now has a pathway created down from the Hall’s lawns along the river…

Also on the nearside bank, but further upstream, is a  bic clump of Giant Hogweed – noted by the BAA – who in their notes advise it be avoided… https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/stour/stourton-castle/

2021-07-08 Giant Hogweed 01

Giant Hogweed

OK … descriptions over … and ready to fish…

Tackle in use: Grandeslam ‘Des Taylor’ System 3 Avon rod with quiver tip top attached… 6lb mainline … 6lb braid hooklength … maggot feeder on a sliding 6” link stopped about 30” above the size 12, maggot baited, hook.

I didn’t start off well … just out of shot to the upstream side on the downstream picture is what looks like a fallen willow branch … in actual fact it’s probably more ‘tree’ and mostly under water as on my first cast of the day to just below the visible part I got caught/snagged and ended up snapping off and losing the best, and only one of its type I’d got with me, feeder, the rest of my feeders being far too small for my liking on the day.

So, the feeder was replaced by a 3/8oz ‘flat penny’ weight… and I decided to fish down my nearside bank, hand/catapult feeding to create a flow of food down the line…

0815 – after a couple of missed nudges a firm connection is made and a bream of 4lb is landed…

2021-07-08 Steve - 4lb 0oz Bream 01

4lb 0oz Bream

… bream returned to the water, next cast the line had barely settled before the tip bent again… and a common carp of about 4lb or so was brought towards the waiting net but as just about to net it the line went slack, the line having broken directly at the knot of the hook…

For the next hour and a half I tried, fed and changed between various baits – worm, cheesepaste, prawn as well as maggot – getting fast and short tugs on all except prawn. However, the bites were too fast to connect in the main despite leaving the bait in the water and awaiting better longer takes and also ‘touch ledgering’ in order to increase reaction time.

1000 – a chub of about 6oz-8oz…

2021-07-08 Steve - 6oz Chub 01

6oz Chub

The bites continued throughout the session until 1500 – and I’d intended to fish to 1430 but with bites coming virtually every cast I went into ‘ok, just one more cast’ mode… and ended with one further fish, a small perch of 2-3oz to add to the tally.

So the long slog back to the car was made with a determination of ‘I’ll be back!’… yes, I really enjoyed the ‘flowing water’ day and want more!

On the way home there is a pub I pass on the banks of the Staffs-Worcs canal called ‘The Navigation’ and although I extremely rarely (as in I can’t remember the last time) stop off for a drink when not fishing with Liz, after the long slog on a hot sunny day I was certainly in need … and a pint of Wye Valley HPA filled my needs!

THOUGHTS:

OK … I need to sort my ‘small river’ tackle out … I tried to carry as little as possible but still carried far too much especially with the terrain. Some of the reason for the excess being that some things I needed to transfer from my main tackle bag – and rather than just take, say, the disgorger from the bag I took the box that it was in, and so included items that I didn’t need – small and fairly light still but all adds up.

Probably the main things to look into are my coffee flask – probably take the 800ml flask in future instead of the usual 1.2 litre one as at the end of the day I generally pour away about a 1/3 of the flask anyway – my leads, I took a small compartmented box of leads (3g-20g) which is actually quite weighty and I don’t really need as I can cover all my lead needs with SSG, 2SSG and 3SSG shot – added to a link line. Also ditch my seat box in favour of a rucksack or bag and take a light camping seat – the box actually isn’t that heavy in itself but is bulky and cumbersome…

So, today, I’ll look into that…. and hopefully will lead to improvements in my ‘big river’ loads too… 🙂

PLANS:

Not sure re: Monday/Tuesday next week – forecast a bit wet and Liz has not decided if she’ll fish or not so that leaves a number of factors to be considered inc venue – pool? Warks Avon?.

Thursday I’m thinking of visiting the River Alne in Alcester, another BAA controlled small river… https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/alne/ … or possibly the River Anker … https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/anker/bolehall/ … but who knows, not me certainly!! LOL!

5 comments on “Session 23 – On The River (Worcester Stour)!

  1. Good to see you are enjoying running water Steve. Love the nonchalant, throwaway reference to the 4lb bream (yeah, two a penny aren’t they … not for me they’ll not).
    Fast constant bites, could that possibly have been minnows or fry?
    Clive

    Liked by 1 person

  2. manwithrod says:

    Bream was a BIG surprise … as was the lost carp… think my previous biggest fish for there was 8oz perch…

    Liked by 1 person

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