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Preliminary Pre-match Report, River Stour, Town Bridge, Sturminster Newton.

After an informative chat with our guest coach for our first event of the season, I can bring you the first event report of the year too…

I would like to first underline the added dangers of fishing on the river. From a safety point of view, modern fishing has become substantially safer due to the popularity of commercial venues. The nice safe, level banks with their nice flat fishing positions have reduced risks compared to a wilder environment of a river. Therefore, extra care will be need when fishing.

The river Stour at the town bridge in Sturminster Newton offers some excellent fishing, particularly during the winter according to local expert, Ian Paulley.

Species will range from small Roach, Perch, Dace and Minnows, right up to some Tench, some hefty Bream and even Pike. But your target species will probably be Roach and Perch.

Despite being shallower than the surrounding stretches of the Stour, the Town Bridge section is still anywhere between 6 and 9 feet deep. Much deeper than our juniors are used to for a majority of their fishing.

This will impact on the equipment that you will use.

Whips…Although not a favoured method by Ian, a whip can be a good way of catching a few fish for some. But we must think about the depth here because, unless you have a whip of a minimum of 5-metres, it’s going to be useless otherwise. 5-meters is really the shortest pole you can get away with on most of the pegs.

The size and shape of the float you will need is dependent on the conditions. I will be speaking to Ian both next week and the week after to check on the state of the river so I can update you accordingly.

At a guess, if the river is good, then some kind of pencil type of pole float of around 0.8g will be handy. If it’s not so good, then a pear-shaped float between 0.8g and 1.0g will be needed.

More on that to follow.

Poles…For those who do have a pole to use, then this is a more usual method of fishing on the river. The increased control of a long pole will give the best chance of catching a few and would be Ian’s method of attack.

Floats will be a similar shape and weight to those used with a whip. Again, I will update you nearer the time.Minimum elastic would be a No.6 solid elastic. I would also take a heavier Hollow/Hybrid elastic of around a No.14 in case you find some hard mouthed Perch.

Rod and Line…If the weather behaves itself, the river should be good for a Waggler float of between 1.0g to 1.5g in weight. I would use an Inserted Waggler where I could unless it was pushing through a bit with rainwater. Then I would opt for a Straight Waggler of a similar weight instead.

Like a whip, rods need to be of a minimum length. I would recommend rods of 12 to 13 feet, and longer if you have them. If not, don’t panic. There should be rods there for you to borrow if need be.

Because it is a new season, you should have at least considered changing the line on all your reels.

I’m guessing that most won’t, so there will be facilities at the venue for you to be able to replenish your reels for a small charge (£2.00). See either myself or Jerry.

Baits…Ian has very kindly arranged for some ground bait to be provided for you for this event curtesy of Sonubaits. So that is one thing you will not have to worry about. Ian has asked for you make sure that you have either a bucket or a ground bait mixing bowl with you please. If you do not have one, get one…Any round bowl or bucket will do to be honest. Just don’t pinch the washing up bowl or dad’s car washing bucket! It won’t be good for the river or for you when they find out! You will not need a lot of bait. ½ a pint of Maggots.½ a pint of Pinkies.

Some worms, preferably Dendrobenas.

Not a lot of bait at all, but you WILL NEED TO ORDER YOUR PINKIES NOW to have them ready for the session day. Either Alan’s Angling or Revels with be able to get them for you. I would ask that if the event should be cancelled for any reason that you still go and purchase your bait. Because it would have been ordered for YOU and only YOU, it is a curtesy to still get your ordered bait.


There will be a lot of small fish around. Where there are small fish in rivers, there will usually be some Pike. In this case, some very large Pike! 15 to 20lbs Pike are not unusual here. I will check the rules if you want to bring some tackle to try and catch one later in the session if you wish. But I will expect you to fish to the demonstration methods for a while first.

Before anyone asks, no Pike do not count in matches!

If any of you fancy a little preview of how to fish the river before the coaching day, Sturminster have a match there this coming Sunday (4th Feb) if you wish to go and watch. If you do go, please remember to be quiet and show respect to the competing anglers.

That’s all for now. I will post updates as I get them.

Just pray for this dryer spell to continue, and for the rain to stay way for the next two weeks…

Juniors Sec…

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