The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle fell into place this afternoon after a meeting with Craig Whelan from Blandford & District Angling Club. I can officially confirm that we will be using the river Stour at Nutford near Blandford.
This is a big step forward for DDAS Juniors because, despite having our own stretches of the river, they are not totally junior friendly fisheries (at the time of writing anyway). So to be able to take our juniors to a stretch of river like this is very exciting.
Access to the river is via a field that you will have to walk across. It is about 200 metres to the river over a field that could be a bit soft and muddy. YOU WILL NEED WELLIES!
If you can, reduce the amount of tackle you need to carry by leaving out everything you don’t need. That can be a bit tricky because you could leave something out that you may need. But, the less you bring, the less you will need to carry. You can bring your usual gear with a trolley and there will be plenty of help on hand.
There is not long to go now before the start of our season in 2023, and I will be giving you some ideas and tackle suggestions for this first river session on Saturday the 11th of March. You can get a head start on your river knowledge by taking a look at the River Booklet on the DDAS Juniors website.
This is a coaching session so we are all there to learn about river fishing together, so don’t get too hung up on what big tackle items you will need. But you will need to get the smaller tackle items sorted before then.
Very few of the regular tackle items will be of any use on the river. This no place for Method Feeders or ultra shallow pole rigs. Nor will you need heavy line or big hooks. The river is between 4 and 9 feet deep and you will be fishing for Gudgeon, Roach, and Perch.
When we visited the river, it was still carrying a good bit of extra water. Despite this, the flow was not that strong. In the summertime there will be almost no flow at all.
WHIP The whip will be a good option for many juniors because it will be more familiar to them. However, because of the depth and the need to fish further out, you may need to go for a longer whip than those used on lakes. I would suggest a whip of 5 meters is best which will not set you back too much.
RODS For the first session you will be ok with your regular float rods. At 11 or 12 feet, they will be a little shorter than the ideal length of 13 to 14 feet, but they will do. It just means that you might find it a little tricky to fish in any of the deeper swims.
REELS Your usual reels will do just fine.
LINE 2 to 4lb line is ideal. If you do not have spare spools for your float reels, use the 4lb line that used for your waggler fishing.
Lignum Stick Floats Recommended sizes are, 4 No.4
If there is a bit of flow you will need a few stick floats. Stick floats are attached to the line by using small rubber bands. One at the top, one in the middle, and a smaller one at the base of the stem. Like everything in fishing the choices of floats is mind blowing, and I won’t go into how to use them here. We will discuss that at the coaching session or you can read about them in the River booklet.
Loaded Inserted Waggler Floats.
A good rule to remember for calculating the size of float you will need is as follows. Medium to fast flows – 1x No.4 shot/foot of depth Slower flows – 1x No.6 shot/foot of depth
To work out which shots you will need to use on the line, you will need to KNOW YOUR SHOTTING TABLE! At every session this year we will run through the shotting conversion table BEFORE EVERY EVENT STARTS. The Shotting Conversion is as follows…
Starting with the largest size of shot to the smallest.
1x SSG = 2x AA 1x AA = 2x BB 1x BB = 2x No.4 1x No.4 = 2x No.6 1x No.6 = 2x No.8 1x No.8 = 2x No.10
One way or another, you will all know this mantra by the end of the year! In all seriousness, it really does pay off to learn these in your fishing. (You will need lots of No.6 shots and lots of No.8 shots)
Floats for the whip or pole need to be 1g to 1.5g in weight. You will be able to get away with a slim, almost pencil shaped float like the ones below left if the flow is slow. A slightly more bodied float for a more brisk current.
Pencil Float for the whip or pole in a slow flow.
Narrow bodied float for the pole in a steady flow
Shotting diagrams for river pole rigs are shown in the River booklet.
Hooks need to balanced to the size of the bait you are using and the fish you are catching. The average size of fish at Nutford is on the small side, although there are some bigger fish lurking too. Hooks from 16 down to a 20 is recommended. These hooks need to be of a 'Silverfish' type. That is with a narrow gape and a long shank. (See the booklets).
I will talk a bit more about bait on another blog because I think this is enough information for now.
Feel free to ask questions if you have them...