Friday, 23 February 2018

A Week On The Wandle

Saturday 24th February: HACKBRIDGE

Good morning World reached that grand old age of half a century yesterday. Life at 50 now the new 30. What better way to enjoy a week long spell of daily visits to The River Wandle.


Over slept having little or hardly any rest at all due to my excitement tossing and turning, with thoughts of the week ahead starting my journey on public transport as one of today's new terms The Urban Angler. Going to take some getting used to this new angling lifestyle no longer having a car which sadly is now in the crushed after engine failure. First and foremost splash face with cold water get some coffee on the go... back shortly πŸ‘πŸŽ£


@Old Woolwich Officers Education Corps

Fished many rivers/lakes over the years. Always an added bonus when you can have a crack and a chat with local anglers. My early impressions The Wandle experience was enhanced  meeting these fine Gentleman of The Wandle Piscators Club

Ade Saunders "thats me and him saunders and John Leary, lee is trying to catch fish.. " πŸ‘πŸ€£πŸŽ£

Memory Lane Hackbridge, 24/02/2018. All ready all set got some good bait. Sausages make Great Barbel Bait got 4 of them 😲🎣 now you see them now you don't could have sworn had 4 sausages a moment ago. LOL That Damn Dog just ate me sausages 🐢 Cheek 🎣🀣


A Week on The Wandle 

7 days Officially Begins Monday Morning πŸ‘

The serious week of Fishing now begins first thing Monday morning. Taken Saturday's late start late finish middle of the night. And yesterday's walking river looking at swims as just research. In all honesty pictures of monster barbel coming out the Wandle have left me feeling like a kid in a candy store wanting but with no change in pocket. Sad in the freezing cold with the wind blowing on face till late night, early hours of the morning hoping for a pull round. At least one would have been nice. Apart from a few knocks two lost fish straight into snags blanked. Yes ! Blanked ! Hate that word it's a rarity because even if the big fish don't bite always try to catch just one before packing up even if it's a minnow. So after freezing to the point of not feeling fingers, finally gave up and left disheartened but knowing big fish lurk in this river and there is always another day.

So cut the kit down even more for the following week ahead. The fish just where not having a stationary static bait on the ledger rods, no matter how much tweaked end terminal tackle. Even putting on supposedly invisible ghost line hook lengths. The secret is a change of tactics. To forget the big Chub and Barbel for now possibly in the warmer months when can fall asleep on the backside in nothing but a sleeping bag. Not saying a bonus barbel or chub wouldn't go a miss this week but that's simply all can hope a bonus dream fish.

So with the bigger rods, reels and heavier line left at home opted for just the one rod a Chapman Split Cane Amstel SP with a centrepin freshly loaded with light 2.5 main line. Traveling light on public transport.

My bait for the whole week purchased 4 pints of natural white maggots, 2 pints of casters, some freshly cooked hemp, and some bread. That's it. Some might look and think my o my that's a lot of bait for winter, bare in mind this is for the whole quest ahead. A week on The Wandle. Take into account many years ago would think nothing turning up on a match with a gallon (8 pints) of maggots, half gallon of casters, and masses of groundbait, even a few pints of squats, and pinkies. Really did go mad back then. So without further ado. Lets get go catch some fish on The Wandle, at least no longer a Wandle Virgin πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸŽ£ Time to get some sleep. Up at 3.30am in the morning Zzz Zzz


Monday 26th February: RAVENSBURY PARK

Thanks to John O'Brian for sending this incredible Guide for my 50th Birthday
The River Wandle is a true chalk stream flowing north from the Downs around Croydon and Carshalton to join the Thames at Wandsworth. Before the industrial revolution it was one of the finest trout rivers in England. It was reduced to an open sewer in the mid 20th century but is now recovering strongly. It has a good head of coarse fish plus a newly established, self sustaining population of Brown Trout. This 50 page booklet, with many photos and a fold out map, is written by anglers for anglers. As well as a full exploration of the river, it contains fishing tips for both the fly fisherman and the coarse angler. All proceeds go to the Wandle Piscators Club to be used for updating and re-printing the book as necessary. The Author is happy to sign copies if you request it.

Derek and Malcolm local River Wandle Anglers Thanks Gentleman

Yes ! A fish ! A small Dace at least broke My Wandle Duck :)

Make no mistake this is just A baby came well prepared with digital scales for the monster gudgeon in The Wandle. British Record broken but sadly never claimed. Note there are also record minnows in The Wandle waiting to be captured.

Local Magic Wandle Angler Courtney Sewitt aka The Bush Man

Courtney with a nice barbel

Tuesday 27th February: Colliers Wood

Due to train delays travelling back from Mitcham Monday night not arriving home till nearly midnight. Severe weather conditions and train cancellations today had no choice but to miss today's fishing on The Magic Wandle and opt fishing local River Shuttle for a few hours. This in no way effects my 7 day quest on The Wandle, will once again be wanderling down the river again Wednesday, adding another day to this mission.


Wednesday 28th February: Colliers Wood

First sight of The River Wandle today

John Leary and Ade Saunders

Two great guys John is a diamond one of many so far to have made my week a little bit special. Ade thanks for sausage roll today much needed on a freezing day.

Back to John's for a coffee a very interesting and knowledgeable Gentleman.

vintage book/fish finder courtesy John... John Cheeks - Anglers Instruction 1859 πŸ‘

The full write up never came, in all honesty was just to busy as such this became more a pictorial

Plenty of fish today despite extreme arctic weather conditions.

Thursday 1st March: Watermead Lane

Plenty of fish today despite extreme arctic weather conditions.

many more dace and small chub

gladly catch these roach all day come a lot bigger

many more dace and small chub today


Another one bites the bait could do with a bigger one but not complaining.

Walking back to Ravensbury Park


Thanks everyone who has commented and liked posts. Fishing should be about having fun managed 5 days fishing out of 6 and made a conscious decision to abort mission. Got to the stage was spending half the time travelling waiting for buses and cancelled trains. The fishing considering the weather was excellent. However got to the stage could not feel fingers or toes, fishing for 15 -30 minutes before having to warm up to commence again. Not my idea of fun. Rod rings where heavily freezing up. Even to the point first cast today a fish smashed my 20 year old Normark, to say gutted is beyond comprehendible. On a good note did get to meet some great new fishing buddies.

Lookout for my next week on the Wandle entitled 'A WARMER WEEK ON THE WANDLE' Hope to meet more of You then. Take Care Guys and enjoy your fishing on The Magic Wandle πŸ‘πŸ˜ŽπŸŽ£

Friday 2nd March: Walking River from Wandsworth Creek to Merton Mills


Bell Lane Creek

Walking up river now reached Bell Lane Creek. Will be giving this a go later in the year eels and pike possible here very deep so take extra care. Most of The River Wandle is inaccessible at this point due to houses and industrialized buildings.


Moving up river now reached Earlsfield, spotted some nice runs and potential future fishing spots. Looks like much tree work has been cut back. Not uploaded all pictures here many more of weeks outing can be found on my Twitter account

Still at Earlsfield seeing such sad sites like this is heartbreaking. After many years of effort by The Wandle Trust and Thames 21 with much work from volunteers to clean up the river after pollution dumping if waste rubbish still exists. So very sad indeed. Taking into account not more than half a mile away there is a dump for waste. But sadly lazy inconsiderate individuals still insist on dumping rubbish not just in The River Wandle but many rivers across the country.

Pleasant walk in the snow up river

moving up river towards Wimbledon Park
some nice deep fishy runs here

some lovely deep runs here but wouldn't recommend fishing beware of overhead power cables !!!


Not sure there are many different numbers along the river ?

Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Merton Abbey Mills

Proof they are in there Congratulations to local Angler Ramon for catching this quality Chub in freezing conditions. One of few who was out braving the cold weather. Certainly coming back in the hope of catching one of these lumps.

The River Wandle Summary:

Had a surprising amount of emails and Facebook messages asking how I got on this past week even as far as Scotland which is a surprise. In conclusion, anyone who thinks they can just turn up on this river and expect a red letter day is in for a bit of a shock. Firstly picked the wrong week the elements where against me. Tired and cold waiting for delayed and cancelled trains meant little actual fishing time. 

Note to many who lurk around facebook in an attempt to find out secrets asking locations, tips, advice. The Truth is to actually get out there. Most anglers you see on Facebook are locals who have built up a knowledge having spent months if not years studying this river. So don't expect them to give to many secrets away. Most of their sessions are for a few hours at most daily. However speaking to locals they are more than willing to give advice even recommend swims for you to catch a few fish. All they ask is for a little effort not to be pestered from a complete unknown stranger never met on Facebook. Bare in mind if your willing to put the effort in and turn up on the bank most locals are only to keen to help and offer friendly advice. It's about making that effort showing respect for the time, love and dedication they have committed. It's rude almost criminal to never meet such anglers face to face and hound them on Facebook. Yes ! The days of the secret squirrel are long over, but bare in mind when you see such impressive catches most of the time these local boys have spent weeks on the bank and many many countless hours waiting for such prized catches.

Ravensbury Park early morning session 6rh March, 2018

plenty of small chub

In conclusion spent far to much time travelling. Freezing cold before arrival. No excuses but picked an awful week with arctic weather conditions against me. However did catch many fine Roach, Dace, small Chub, and Gudgeon. Largely thanks to two gentleman who kindly helped with local knowledge and advice. For which forever grateful for my two guides of this past week.

I have certainly got the Wandle bug and although never completed a full week fishing did spend a full week walking taking pictures and making an attempt to follow the whole length of river.

These secrets and knowledge shared will remain with me and hope to add a few more unannounced days to make up for lost time next week to add and complete blog post.

Take Care Guys Tight Lines see you soon.

New bait apron finally arrived a week late essential piece of kit for anyone fishing The Wandle along with waders a must.

further essential reading

Ade Saunders
"One thats harder to find..1st edition 1924"

thanks for picture Ade Saunders

March 7th: In conclusion a nice finish to 7 days fishing The River Wandle Barbel 13.3Ibs. Chuffed to bits. Postponed due to adverse weather conditions last week.


  1. A terrific initiative, Shaun (a bit like mine - see below)...I wish for your sake that the weather was more stay warm, and if you decide to rearrange...!!
    Good luck

    1. Thanks Tony have had chance to read you excellent blog. Still got more pictures and a write up to conclude this blog which will add over the next couple of days. Thanks for dropping by