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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


21/01/2015 - London Anglersí Association Britford Fishery

Roach of this quality can be caught from the LAA Britford fishery


London Anglers’ Association Britford Fishery Hampshire Avon Salisbury, without doubt the acquisition of the Britford Fishery at auction by the London Anglers Association in the 1960’s was a great coup for its members. Situated downstream of Salisbury this magnificent chalk stream river offers good trout and coarse fishing for its member costing around £50-00 for a season permit. The fishery is extremely well run by River Keeper Stuart Wilson who in my book is one of the top river keepers in the business today Tel 07847-109153 This famous chalk stream is visited by anglers from all over the UK, many in search of its quality roach Rutilus rutilus is its Latin name, where many 2lb plus roach are caught with the occasional 3lb fish, it’s certainly a place where dreams come true for the roach fisher. Walk slowly and quietly upstream wearing polaroid glasses,you will no doubt see under the swaying water crowfoot, a shoal of perch from tiddler size fish and other perch that might weight 4lbs. If you’re very lucky you might spot two or three 2lb plus roach, under the overhanging cracked willow alder stunted oaks hawthorns and various bushes, you will find the chub, but not if they see your first as they will fade away ghost Like.

Some of these fish will make you gasp at their size, with the chance of a 7lb fish 6lb 14 oz’s is the best I’ve heard of, without doubtthe chub is the most River wiseof all the fish that swim in our fresh waters, Isaac Walton said “ the fearfullest of fishes” The Avon has always had a great record for producing good pike, the Britford Fishery is no exception. Every season pike of 20lbs plus are caught. Britford has barbel, but not in numbers as in venues such as the Royalty, Fordingbridge, Ringwood and Ibsley but there is agood chance of double figure fish. John Plummer of Downton Wiltshire caught a brace of 14lb 4oz’s and 13lb 6 Oz’s last season.

A Mixed Bag

Recently Gavin Hurst of Wigan joined me for a trip south to fish the Avon it was Gavin’s first visit to this famous river. Leaving Lancashire early in the day,we arrived at Clearway Diner for breakfast just outside Salisbury on the A30 about 8 o’clock, Gavin chose a full English, I had scrambled eggs on toast, with large mugs of strong tea. An hour later we pulled onto the bottom car park of the fishery to meet River Keeper Stuart Wilson and one angler Steve Jones from Dorset who was on a week’s holiday, his target fish were the chub, his best fish being a 5 lb. 10 oz’s caught on lobworm. After a chat with Stuart and Steve, Gavin and myself pulled on our chest waders picked up our tackle bags and rods then set off for the long walk downstream to the Island swim whereGavin would float fish for Chub, perch, dace, roach, grayling and no doubt sometrout. He set upa 13 rod, centre pin reel with 4lb line, a chubber float taking 4 AA shot bunched together about 15 inches from asize 16 barbless hook Gavin was ready to go. Wading well out into the stream he run the float through several times until he was happy with the float setting, with the bait a few inches off The bottom. Baiting with 2 red gentles (maggots) he fed a few in above the swim followed by the baited hook. On his third cast the float buried, the answering strike connected with a good fish. A trout about 4lbs which was unhooked in the water, I left Gavin to his fishing, then made my way upstream looking formy favourite fish the chub.

Two Rivers

After crossing over the weir pool that separates the old original river from the New River which was built to alleviate flooding in Salisbury, I made my way up The Old River, where the opposite bank was over hung with alder, cracked willow, ash, oak and hawthorn, in some places the branches of some trees were trailing in the water or inches off the surface. There were dark deep looking pools which no doubt hold some big pike, chub, perhaps a barbel. Two hundred yards upstream I come across a bay on the far bank over hung with trees making it dark and secretive, inthe far corner was a large raft of weeds, branches and other rubbish with a covering of thick creamy white scum. It screamed chub, I thought I’d won the lottery catapulting a few pieces of crust across the stream I watched their progress noting where the water flowed under the raft. I then catapulted a few pieces Lone Angler sausage sizzle flavoured bread flake upstream of the raft, then moved on further upstream looking for other swims. Having baited two more likely spots, I returned to my first swim, tackle was a 12 foot soft action Avon rod, fixed spool reel 6lb line, to which I attached a size 6 barbless hook finally pinching 3 LG shot fifteen inches from the hook, Baiting with a piece of sausage sizzle flavoured bread flake the size of a fifty pence piece. With an underhand cast I dropped the bait several feet upstream of the scum; the river flow would then carry the bait well under the raft where no doubt the chub would be waiting.

The Chub Were At Home

Within minutes I felt the line tighten on my index finger as the soft tip pulled round, striking I hooked my first chub of the session, after hauling the fish across the river and through the water crowfoot I had the fish close to the net, 4lbs “I thought” as I netted my first fish of the session the scales giving a weight of 4lb 12 oz’s. In the next hour I had six more fish all over 4lbs the swim then died. It was time to move. My next choice swim was gravel run between the water crowfoot and the far bank, I planned to bounce a bit of sausage sizzle flavoured crust down the gap, taking off the LG shot I replaced it with a BB shot wrapped in plasticine six inches from the hook. On my first cast I hooked a good chub which weeded me for about five minutes eventually the pressure told the fish was mine. It weighed 4lb 10 oz’son my next cast I got another chub, and then lost the next

fish. Time for a brew and sandwich then move on. My next swim was a large willow bush that over hung the water many of its branches trailing in the water, another ideal spot for chub. Baiting with crustI made an underhand cast dropping the bait at the upstream edge of the willow, as the bait went under the bush the tip pulled round savagely soon another good chub was netted. Quickly followed by two more fish, of 4lbs plus before I moved on to another swim.

During my daylong session I had a total of 13 chub, it was time to make my way back to Gavin to hear about his fishing day, he excitedly told me he had caught chub, perch, dace, grayling, roach including several trout, also losing a salmon. On the way home he had a grin a mile wide. A great day on a top chalk stream river for just £45-00 a season. The cost of membership for the season commencing 1st April 2015 is as follows: Seniors £45 Partners £67-00 Juniors £25-00 OAP £27-00 Reg Disabled - £27-00 Companion £7-00 (non-fishing) Britford Coarse Tickets (available to those purchasing any of the above excluding Companion): Senior Coarse Tickets £15-00 Jnr, OAP or Reg Dis£7-50 available from. Izaac Walton House 2A Hervey Park Road London E17 6L J Telephone 020 8520 7477 E-mail [email protected]







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Martin James Fishing
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