How would you fish this river?


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My brother has just moved into a new flat and has the Medway at the bottom of the garden, to which he has private fishing rights to. We have had a dabble down there, but this Saturday we are going to have a good session (and listen to the footie - Can't watch it - the penalty shoot out nearly done for me!)

Neither of us have done any serious river fishing. As you can see from the photograph, the rive is a good size and has a steady flow, but not what I would call fast-water.

We will talk to the very nice bloke who owns the local fishing tackle shop but before that, any advice on tackle and technique would be helpful. I was contemplating stick-float fishing (?) but I don't really know what I am doing. The videos I have watched show how to rig the float but not how to determine the depth to fish at or what weight of line to use etc. Some basics to get us started would be much appreciated. Clicking on the photograph will take you to my blog post about the venue and show some of the other features. The first thing we need to do is trim the willow!

Alternatively I was thinking of just chucking out a block end feeder and seeing what happened, but again some basics of doing this on the river would be helpful.

Nothing is too basic here, we are complete beginners at this.


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john step

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I doubt there is much flow on it at the moment. Almost stationary I suspect until lock gates are opened and closed. You have seen the stick float videos how to tackle up. With low flow fish light and plumb the depth. Judge the flow if any and decide where any light loose feed such as maggot and hemp would get to the bottom.
Hold back against the float depending on the flow and ease it down the swim. You will soon get the hang of it.

If there is virtually no flow you could use your pole with a longer line than usual, a top and bottom pole float and ease that along or just lay on a few inches. With a pole you can fish just over the shelf.

There used to be good roach in the Medway. I hope there still is. Tight lines.


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Ralph just give it a go! You haven't had to trek across fields and nobody will be watching and you can literally try every method! I would trot a float , stick or waggler and see what happens! Suggest your brother try a feeder and then swap tactics fine tuning as you go! I would be out there every day !


Just buy a pint of maggots and go chuck a float about. Finding the depth to fish at is easy! for simplicity just go over depth and adjust until your float doesnt drag on the bottom (although overdepth can be a killer tactic at times). Im sure everyone here could tell you in depth how to tackle a river and new venue but honestly just go on youtube and do some research into stick float fishing. YouTube really does have a wealth of information.. just be careful of misinformation ;)


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Trot a float during the day for the Roach then bolt rig buzzer and bolie at night for the Carp

Throwing some bait in regularly for a few days in advance could make a big difference.


Given the current temperatures combined with low flow I would be tempted to spray maggots and fish a waggler in the upper layer of water, all the better if you can do that up to some cover and/or shade.

Good luck with it, I hope you let us know what you tried and how you fared.


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Can't quite see if there are trees on the opposite bank except one but it looks like it might be worth catapulting/spraying some baits up near them and just legering with a weight there. Or chuck some balls of ground bait and the same. Probably a swim-feeder would be best however, I am not always fond of lobbing swim-feeders about and a gentler approach is nicer and I would like to just ordinary leger a bait myself; a bit more civilized. I would just put a link swivel on the end of the line and an arsely bomb clipped on which you can change as suits the flow on any given day. A loop in the line a foot above the weight and a hook link about 2/3 foot long tied to the loop and a bit of gentle casting and watch the rod tip, a quiver tip would be useful or some sort of bobbin on the line.
If boats around maybe only a late or early in the day option.
I would also as your going to fish the one spot a lot, give it a good plumbing first all round, see if any holes around although probably uniform, deep in the middle and shelving but you never know and getting an idea of the lay of the bottom is never a bad thing. You would only have to do this the once and the information gleaned would be useful.
Parts of rivers can be notoriously devoid of fish but this looks quite fishy, even so I would keep any household scraps and feed the area all year round just as and when as its at the bottom of the garden so it might become a good fish holding spot, old bread, left overs from tins of sweetcorn, peas, bits of potato etc, doesn't cost anything. Some I believe tie an old mesh bag to a bankstick which is left in the water close to the bank and just top it up as and when.
I have fished the Medway at Tonbridge but it was only a few times and on hot days as I remember rightly and not a lot about, a few roach but there are some very good fish in it by all reports. It was slow moving on those days as well but it must change with heavy rainfalls, I remember reports of flooding at Yalding last floods we had I think. Whether your brother wants to stock some sand bags maybe, just a thought but local council advice might be an idea and they might give them away free..
This looks like it could be good chub (ledger or float a lump of cheese) might be an option worth trying.
I have always wanted to live on a river, great chance to do some fishing and experimenting at leisure, good luck with it.
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Hemp and tare on the waggler,with fairly light shotting,as close as depth and flow allow,in this weather it is one of the few bankers I would have.


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Thanks for all the sound advice guys. This is what happened...

We spent a good few hours fishing the river yesterday afternoon, while listening to the Footie. There was hardly any flow on the water and at times it was like a mill pond. Lots of fish were showing and several jumped clear of the water. We started off dropshotting but had nothing so we though we would leave that until later and have a go with the slider float. I was playing with that while my brother opted to try the waggler in a spot he found that was only 6ft deep. The slider float was a bit strange and did not sink as I thought it should. Thinking about it, maybe I should have used a heavier ledger weight. Tim was catching fish, I was not...

I tried catching them high in the water using a float and a slow sinking bait - single maggot. I could see the fish bit they were just looking at it. Tim was happy waggler fishing. Tim was catching fish, I was not...

I then thought I might as well have a go at feeder fishing using a swim-feeder stuffed with maggots. I have never tried this before. I perceived with this for most of the afternoon, changing my hook length and I discovered that if I dunked the feeder in a tub of water before casting, the maggots quieten down a bit and fewer were skydiving in a bid for freedom on the way to their destination. Tim was still waggler fishing. Tim was catching fish, I was not...

It was so hot, even in the shade, that the magic was wearing a bit thin as Tim was continually announcing "Got another one!" It is hard to smile and congratulate while grinding one's teeth. And still Tim was catching fish, I was not...

Around 19:00 we wandered in doors where Tim's better half had cooked us some dinner. Fish and chips! I am wondering if she thought this was funny :eek:mg:

After dinner we wondered back out into the garden (as you can when you have a river at the bottom of it - jammy beggar!) and decided we would try a spot of dropshotting This time neither of us caught anything except a really nice snag that broke my hood and kept my wriggly plastic worm.

It was so hot out there that we did not get around to fishing off the concrete jetty and to be honest, the footie was distracting us somewhat. At the end of the day, I tried several different techniques and while Tim was catching fish, I was not...

Plenty of time to get this sorted. In the meantime, Tim will be feeding the swim regularly to encourage the fish to come and play. Next time, I hope it is a bit cooler as it was very warm there yesterday. So much so I was not feeling 100% at one point and went back to the garage for a cool off! Roll on next time.



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Hemp and tare on the waggler,with fairly light shotting,as close as depth and flow allow,in this weather it is one of the few bankers I would have.
That was what the guy in the tackle shop recommended, but on Saturday we did not have either. We will give it a go next time.



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Hi Ralph,
Where you are in the photo looks very similar to a stretch of Medway I fished a while back. You're getting lots of advice but try to also think what the fish want. If you are opposite the bank to what is usually fished don't fish across the that side during the day, you'll be the envy of all the anglers that side on your own private bank and the chances are they would all be casting your side anyway.

Pre bait too, I'm not talking gallons of shop bought bait but your mate can just lob out a cheap loaf of mashed bread every now and then (on the quiet) it will draw in all the species who'll see it as a regular feeding area, especially at night if there's boat traffic You don't have to fish bread but a bit of bread late on could catch you something very big indeed and could also be a killer bait come Autumn

Don't get drawn to fishing on the bottom, most fish are up in the water this time of year even bream and barbel can be caught really shallow, If you can see the fish you can learn so much from them. Drip feed them maggots quietly for ten mins without fishing and they'll tell you a lot

Also a river like that can be seasonal, your area could be a holding spot in winter or visa versa and early season is best and winter is hard, even one swim takes years of learning.

Lastly if your mate is catching and you're not, tell him to share the love and help you out, swap spots and look at the differences in your set up etc Its much more rewarding as a pair when you both catch.