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01/07/23 - Junior Coaching - River Stour - Nutford

A coaching session made more sense for our first visit to the river at Nutford instead of a match. Sadly, I am not going to get a chance to have a practice before Saturday either so, I will be taking my gear with me so we can figure it out together. On the subject of equipment, I though I would talk you through the reduction in fishing tackle that I would make for river fishing. We are not blessed with hard level paths on our local rivers and the older anglers (like me) would say that this is how it used to be and that it was 'proper' fishing. Whatever your view of it is, I can assure you of one thing. There will be a walk to the water. Below is a photo showing my tackle trolley loaded for a normal trip to a lake. It includes a full seat box, side tray with a lid, full bait bag, pole roller bag with pole roost, large tackle bag, 4 rods and reels in a holdall, and a pole holdall with multiple top kits. A typical matchmans set up for a commercial fishery.

More than most people would carry but fine for nice hard pathways. I am NOT pushing that lot across a field! I will only take what I feel that I will need, particularly for a practice session like this. So, I have removed the following items. My pole, and therefore, my rollers and large roost. My large carryall. My huge net bag with three nets and two landing nets. My large side tray with a lid. All the commercial rigs from my seat box (2 layers) Emptied out everything from my bait bag and the commercial rods from my rod holdall.

The picture of the same trolley is below is what I will have with me on Saturday. Seat box with only one layer of (river) rigs instead of two layers of Commercial rigs. Rod holdall now contains two waggler rods, a whip, and a landing net handle. Bait bag now contains one bait box for maggots, some river ground bait, a small tin of sweet corn, two catapults, a towel, some light river hook links, and some materials for making rigs should I need to. A small pole roost for my whip and rods. One Keep net. A small landing net (16"). A small side tray, and that's pretty much it...

The trolley is so much lighter and will be much easier to push across the field.

On Saturday morning, we will all assemble at the gate and walk across the field together. Be warned, the farmer has told me that there are six Bulls in the field and the electric fence will be live! So don't go touching it please! If we stay away for the cattle, they shouldn't bother us. Even so, we need to be aware. We will enter over the electric fence together at a point we will decide on the day. The path is narrow along by the river and close to the fence.

As I have previously mentioned, I haven't fished this stretch of the Stour before, so I will learning the same as most of you. But I have fished lots of rivers before and other sections of the Stour.

Bait is going to be very simple. Maggots. The target will be small silverfish, so pint of red maggots is pretty much all you will need for the whole day. I will take some sweetcorn to try and some ground bait just in case. I may throw some Hemp in too.

From the advice that I have gained so far, a whip will be very handy, particularly a longer 5 metre whip. The river is deep and I'm not sure a 3-metre whip will be long enough. The river should be slow. Almost stationary like a lake because of the lack of rainfall. I am hoping that the weed will not be too bad either. You may need to fish your bait off of the bottom to avoid bottom weed. Depending on the depth, a 0.5g to 1.0g pole float will be best. I prefer the pear shaped bodies with wire or carbon stems, but pencil shaped floats will be ok. See below. (Picture for illustration purposes only and to show the shape of the floats, not the size.)

Light lines, 2lb to 4lb because the fish may be very small. Light hook links with small size 18 or 20 silverfish hooks.

For the Waggler, a 4lb main line will be ok. Same hooks as for the whip. For floats I would recommend an inserted loaded waggler float taking 1.5g to 2.0g. It is not a long cast across, and you may find you will end up fishing down the middle of the river. But you might need to extra weight for dropper shots in the deeper parts.

I will go through rigs and feeding on the morning. Unlike lakes, the fish on rivers may not always be on the bottom. So we may have to find the fish in various depths.

Do not expect too much from the river. It is not an over stocked commercial venue that makes you look like a rockstar. These are wild fish that need to caught with skill and finesse. This is no place for a method feeder and pellets!

At the end of the session we will have the measure of the place and know what to expect for future visits.

Remember. Travel light. Take only what you think you will need, and enjoy the experience. Juniors Sec...

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