Yesterday I headed out for my first ever river fishing session on the River Sow in Stafford. Until this, I’d only ever fished lakes and canals (I did a lot of canal fishing when I was younger and occasionally go with a lure in the winter these days.
After some research, I settled on the Sow as I’d seen it flowing through the park when I’ve been in Stafford. I’d read that it was free to fish so thought that would be a good place to start my river adventures. I’d watched endless youtube videos of lure fishing in river tips so felt prepared and ready to go.
If you know the area I parked down at the Windmill chippy end and walked through the town along the river to Asda and back for my fishing. Here is a video I did of the session, read on for more information on the river and my session.
Fishing the Sow
I started at the windmill end going over the bridge by Sainbury’s and then along the park section. Here is the first section I tried –
Having never fished a river I was surprised by the number of lilies in the water. I had a range of lures with me including –
- Mayfly nymph
- Small crayfish
- Large crayfish
- Micro lures (Small fish types)
- Spikey shads
- A range of spinners
I started off with the mayfly nymph as this one made the most sense to me to use. It looked natural and was around the right time of year. My first cast was just at the top end of the picture above around an overhanging tree and boom I felt a bite straight off! It was only small and came off quickly but this filled me with confidence for my trip knowing I’d had a take. At this spot, I swapped around with lures but couldn’t find any other bites happening so I carried on along the bank.
My first ever river fish
A little further along I found a deeper section where the deep part was right under my feet. This was just behind the car park before the park starts. After dropping the lure into the deeper water and having a jig for 30 seconds my fish ever river fish was landed. It was only a smallish perch but it was very welcome!
It had nailed the nymph lure and large hook. I have a trace on this setup as I had been told there was a few pike in this section – I’ll come to that later….
This spot did me well with another perch coming quickly after the first. I also returned to it on my way back up the river and caught another 2 in quick succession before heading home again.
Victoria Park fishing
I was soon into Victoria park and I was amazed at the amount of fish I could see in the Sow. I’d read about the fishing on some forums and most people were moaning about the lack of fish and how pollution and the otters mean “it’s not like it was 20 years ago”. I always take these with a pinch of salt!
Through the park section, I found it was packed with roach and quite a few at a decent size that I’ll have a crack at next time I go down. There was lots of perch in sections and after a while, I spotted a pike hiding in the grass waiting to pounce. I’d estimate it was in the 8-10lb range. I had a go with a lure but with it being surrounded by weeds it was impossible to get it close enough to catch it.
As I walked around this section I noticed numerous pikes in the weeds and swimming around. These were mostly jacks with the first one I saw clearly the biggest compared to the others.
The town section
There are some parts of the town section (Where you have to go into town to keep on the river path down to Asda) where you cannot fish. I’d find a good spot, again with plenty of roach and perch just after the cinema and Nandos –
Here I caught 2 more perch with the biggest of the day coming to a mayfly nymph again. This perch shot straight across a clear spot to take the lure as soon as I made the splash dropping it in.
Still not a massive perch but it was the best of the day and a new river PB (joking, I didn’t weigh it!).
After this, I strolled back along with pike lures on but never managed to get any takes. I’ll be back to try and catch the pike again soon, probably when there has been some rain and the river isn’t crystal clear.
I took 2 more perch from the spot mentioned above and then headed back to the car. I caught 6 perch in total in 3 hours and I’m happy with that for my first river session. I’ll be heading back down again soon to try and catch some bigger perch, some pike, and some of the larger roach. I think it will be a good spot for river piking in the winter looking at the number of jacks there were.
If you are thinking of going down to the Sow give the town center a go, with some practice and experience I’m sure 6 perch will be easily beatable! I also have a ticket for Doxley marshes where they have a section of the sow, I’ll do another blog when I’ve been there looking for more pike and some chub.
Any questions use the comments section below or search casual carper on social media.
Thanks for reading!