Hawford Bridge Fishery
Attractive four pool fishery with a stretch of the River Salwarpe offering self-catering accommodation near Worcester.
Facts and features of Hawford Bridge Fishery
Little publicised and rarely advertised, this delightful venue with its one mile stretch of the River Salwarpe is just a few yards from the busy dual carriageway between Worcester and Ombersley – and yet could be in the middle of nowhere. If visiting the fishery for the first time you have to keep an eye open for the fishery signs and wooden five-bar gate which marks the entrance to the fishery off the dual carriageway. Go through the gates and follow the track which weaves its way through the trees and bushes to the top lake and then around the fishery, guiding anglers to several areas where they can park near the lakes.
Loved by local anglers for the Ghost Carp
Speak to the regulars who fish there and they freely tell you they love the place – and in hot weather, with the ghost, common and mirror carp cruising just under the surface, you can see why. Indeed, Hawford Bridge has become renowned locally for its large head of ghosties which provide anglers with plenty of sport. And whilst the carp are no record breakers, a 20lb ghostie, common or mirror will give any angler a test of skill and nerve when on lighter tackle or underweight pole elastic – particularly when there are ample reedbeds or lily pads to make a bolt for.
A good head of other fish too
The lakes also hold some impressive perch which top 4lbs, chub to a similar size, a good dosing of roach, rudd and bream – and for those so enlightened, eels to 5lb and gudgeon to a full-fighting 2ozs! Only coarse fish pellets should be used as halibut and trout pellets are not allowed and anglers should purchase their feeder pellets from the fishery. As with most venues these days, keepnets are only allowed in matches and neither surface baits nor groundbait should be used.
With plenty of vegetation both on the bankside and in the water, the fishery’s maturity belies the fact that it was only completed in 1992. Covering 40 acres, the latter stages of its development have been carried out by Trevor Smith, a lifelong angler who has lived in the area all his life and who still takes time out to go fishing and remains a regular on the Worcester match circle.
Well spaced out fishing pegs
With plenty of space between pegs, some of which form hideaways between the bushes and shrubs, Hawford Bridge is a very lush and pleasant fishery which also offers a one mile of single and double bank fishing on the River Salwarpe, which joins the River Severn a short distance away.
Varying in width from a few metres to about 12 metres wide and up to two metres deep, the river (pictured left) is a popular match venue and holds some decent fish including barbel between seven and 8lbs. Open from June 16th, it offers pegs which are 22 yards apart and provide some interesting runs and features for both pleasure and match anglers. It all adds up to making a fishery which will appeal to anglers who want to fish a venue where they feel they could be miles from anywhere and to match anglers who enjoy a bit of friendly competition.
Six feet deep in the centre with a flat and even bottom, the lake has a three metre wide shelf running about a metre deep all around the sides, providing opportunities for fishing shallow close in or deeper further out. Built over two years ago and allowed to establish its own natural environment, the pool was heavily stocked predominantly with carp between 8oz and 2lbs with the 2lb fish now topping the 4lb mark and expected to provide exciting sport during matches.
It is again typical of the Hawford Bridge lakes in that, whilst not as surrounded by trees and shrubs as the other two, Penlake has distinct reed beds and a central island giving plenty of features and interest. Holding 25 pegs, this is the fishery’s main match venue with the average size of fish being between 2lbs 8oz and 3lbs, although there are a fair number of bigger fish, mainly ghost carp, to 10lbs and a handful of specimens to 17lbs.
Although there are no bream in Penlake, there are a large number of silver fish, particularly roach to just over 2lbs, rudd to about 10oz, perch to 1lb 8oz and chub to just under 3lbs. The large head of silver fish ensurers that Penlake fishes well all year round.
Reeds and open water to chooose fromAbout five feet deep around the sides and dropping off to eight feet in the centre at the road end, Penlake fishes much the same as the other two Hawford waters. Pellet, sweetcorn and small pieces of luncheon meat work well as do casters, maggots and worms.
Because of the island and reed beds, precision is best obtained on the pole, although you do not need to fish far out as the margins again also hold the fish. If fishing the waggler it will pay to clip off the line once you have the distance to prevent snagging the island bank or reeds. When pleasure fishing the water, it again pays to fish tight in the margins and to feed little and often when you have attracted the fish to your swim.
Car parking for Penlake can be found to the right by the caravan next to the pool and by driving around the perimeter road to the far side of the water.
Again about two acres in size, Broomhill is similar in character to The Bridge with its central island and beds of margin and open water reeds providing plenty of features for both fish and angler. There are 20 varied pegs to choose from. For the most part Broomhill is again about six feet deep throughout, shallowing towards the islands but still being about four feet deep around the beds of reeds.
A good mix of fish including ghosties
Again holding ghosties, mirrors and commons to about 20lbs, Broomhill has much the same spread of fish as The Bridge, although there are a lot more rudd which can be great fun running as they do to between 12ozs and 1lb. For the most part these are caught up in the water.
Great for stalking carp
Broomhill also holds more chub than The Bridge, although at between 2lbs 8oz and 3lbs these are not quite as big although they can prove interesting to catch. These fall predominantly to sweetcorn, casters, maggots, pellet and luncheon meat. The overhandging willow trees around Broomhill make it a great stalking water, enabling anglers to keep in the shade of the trees and either fish into a selected swim or pick off individual fish just under the surface.
Alternatively you can pick pegs which fish out into open water and up to the island. Once again, fishing in the margins or up against the island or reeds is the local’s favourite technique although plenty of fish are also caught in open water. Already showing are the large number of small carp to about 1lb which were stocked in the lake in October 2005. These are providing great sport.
Bream and perch
Once more Broomhill has a good head of bream and perch, although the perch are not as big as in The Bridge running to only 1lb 8oz, although the bream can run slightly bigger, up to 3lbs. The bream tend to fall more to pellet and sweetcorn and again maggots and caster are prime baits for the perch.
The fish in Broomhill can be caught all over and at any depths, although fishing on the bottom is generally good for all species. In warmer weather the carp come to the surface and can be taken fishing just a few inches deep on pole or waggler.
Whilst anglers can generally get away fishing fairly light with 3lbs to 5lbs line, if targeting the double-figure carp they need to fish slightly heavier as overhanging bushes and reeds can be very unforgiving to light tackle when a determined double is on the other end.
In addition to sweetcorn and pellets, luncheon meat is also a good bait for the carp and bream whilst caster, maggots, pellets, worm and sweetcorn are good all round baits for carp of all sizes and the silver fish.
The furthest water from the entrance, the 15-peg Bridge is typical of the Hawford Bridge waters in that the trees and bushes form a nice backdrop whilst there is plenty of bankside cover and the island, open water or beds of reeds to fish to.
As with all the fishery’s waters, this holds a good head of ghost carp which, along with the mirrors and commons, run to 20lbs, with the bonus of Leather Carp to 12lbs. Well stocked with roach and rudd about 8ozs and bream to 2lbs, it also holds some good perch which have been caught to over 4lbs and which are well worth catching, particularly in the winter months when they fall to maggots or worm.
The chub run to a similar size as the perch and there are some eels to 5lbs, plus a plentiful supply of gudgeon, a good number of which weigh 2oz or more and which can provide great sport in their own right if you set out to catch them.
About an acre in size, Bridge’s main feature is the central island with most pegs offering plenty of open water or beds of reeds to fish to. Down at the far dam end overlooking the caravan park about six feet of water can be found whilst about nine feet can usually be found mid way to the the island.
Pole and pellets very popular
The most popular method for anglers after the carp is the pole with pellets, caster or sweetcorn fished up in the water only six inches to a foot deep. If the bites aren’t forthcoming, move to the bottom. Whether fishing the pole or waggler, it usually pays either to fish very close in or towards the reeds, with fish usually being able to be taken at virtually any depth.
Fishing the bays against the island with the long pole feeding little and often can produce good results and is how the fishery match record of 212lbs was set in July 2010. When you get the fish feeding it can become one after another.
Fishing really close into the bank
With no particular hot pegs on any of the lakes, matches can be won from anywhere whilst decent pleasure catches can be had from wherever you can get a float in.
And when the locals tell you to fish close in, they mean close in. Because the banks are cut straight down, your float can be only six inches from your feet and the fish still take it. The cut banks also mean you can fish close in to the reeds in the margins, although if you want to get out to the reeds by the island the pole can probably get closer than the waggler.
16-18 elastic on the pole recommended
When pole fishing for the carp, a 16-18 elastic is recommended by Trevor Smith who suggests 0.16 to 0.21 lines and a 14’s hook. Waggler anglers should go for line strengths between 4lbs and 6lbs if going for the smaller carp and silver fish, although even the bigger carp can be landed on a soft rod if you play it on the clutch.
As with all waters, it pays to plumb the depth because up to four feet of water can be found round the rushes. The car parking areas for Bridge can be found by driving down the perimeter road around the fishery.
The River Salwarpe
A tributary of the River Severn which joins the main river about half a mile downstream, the River Salwarpe is typical of many small rivers in that, although not large and wide, it offers a variety of pegs and swims and holds some decent fish – not least amongst them the barbel and carp which at 7lbs to 8lbs give a good account of themselves in the narrow river and need holding to keep them out of trouble.
20lb Pike caught
A large number of pike, several of them 20lbs in weight, have come out of the river, fish believed to have come from the nearby derelict Droitwich-Worcester Canal which flooded in 2000. The river is mainly 1.5 to 2.0 metres deep throughout the match length, where the banks and access path are strimmed in time for the opening of the rivers on June 16.
With 40 match pegs 25 yards apart and plenty of bankside vegetation, trees and bushes, the river offers different challanges and opportunities depending on the peg you draw or choose. In addition to the 40 match pegs there are a further 60 pleasure pegs on the near bank running downstream to the A449 bridge.
Good barbel, roach, chub and dace
As well as the barbel and good numbers of roach, chub and dace, the stretch is home to some good river perch which can top the 3lb mark and even go to nearly 4lbs. Trotting a nice worm downstream or along the sides accounts for many a nice fish when pleasure angling, whilst match anglers will probably want to fish the pole for the roach, dace and chub, hoping to pick up one or two of the bigger fish along the way. This technique lends itself to fishing caster or maggots and feeding with hemp.
In parts the river is worth ledgering with an Arlesey Bomb fished on 6lb or 7lb line tied to a Size 8 to 12 hook and baited with 10 to 12mm halibut pellet or piece of luncheon meat. In addition to the chub and carp, this is a good way of landing a nice barbel as well.
Anglers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult over 18.
|Adults||Juniors / OAP||Day (7.30am to 5.00pm)|
Juniors / OAP
|Day (7.30am to 5.00pm)||8.00||5.00||Second rod|
Juniors / OAP
|Second rod||4.00||4.00||River Salwarpe|
Juniors / OAP
How to get there
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If you’re interested in Fisheries within Worcestershire, then why not check out some of our other fishing lakes in Worcestershire including, Lower Broadheath Fishery, Willow Farm Fishery, Broad Acres Fishery, Anchor Meadow Fishery on the Avon and Astwood Fishery.