The Warwickshire Stour

The Warwickshire Stour is a tributary of the Warwickshire Avon. I first fished it when I was about 12 years old with my father and brother. We fished a stretch of the river controlled by the Birmingham Angler’s Association at Atherstone near Stratford upon Avon.

Up to then I’d not really fished a ‘proper’ river, although compared to the Avon that it runs into, and the Severn that I later fished for Barbel, it’s still pretty small.

I remember that first fishing trip to the Stour really well. I was fishing with an old cane rod that my uncle had given me, and I’d set it up to leger maggots in the middle of the river. Because I didn’t know better, I had positioned the rod to point up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees.

It was a little windy that day, and the rod was wobbling a bit each time I cast in. I’d been fishing for about half an hour when I cast in again, and couldn’t get the rod tip to keep still. Eventually I realised it was a fish!

I picked up the rod, and I could feel a fish on the end tugging away. After about 30 seconds I had landed it, a stripy Perch of about 4 ounces! I was so excited I couldn’t stop my hands shaking to remove the hook and had to call my father for help.

Not a giant by any means, but my first proper fish and I’ve had a soft spot for Perch ever since.

That was over 30 years ago.  I fished the Stour many times on and off over the next 15 years before moving away. I caught a lot more than Perch – there were some good Roach in the river, and some decent chub too. It was on the Stour that I learned how to trot a stick float, and also how to build a swim by constant loose feeding. I once had a nice bag of roach including 5 over 1lb and I won a couple of club matches on it too. Those were the days!

As I write this, the new season is two weeks away. I wont be fishing the Stour as I now live in Devon, but the River Culm is a good substitute, if a little smaller, and I’ve booked the day off on opening day, so I’ll be there full of anticipation when the sun comes up.

I do fish in the ‘close season’ on lakes and canals, and I do some fly fishing now too, but its nice to be able to anticipate the opening of the river season. Roll on the glorious 16th!

If you’re thinking of having a go on your own local river this season I can definitely recommend fellow midlander Dave Harrell’s On The Bank River Fishing Tactics DVD.

As Dave says, float fishing on moving water is a style that many anglers struggle to cope with. Get it wrong and you’ll end up catching very little, but do it right and it’s one of the most satisfying and rewarding forms of fishing there is.

Argos have a special deal on it at the moment, and you can get over 20% off the asking price. Click here if you’d like to find out more.

Photograph of the River Stour at Atherstone © Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under this Creative
Commons Licence
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