|The Anker is a fast-flowing, scenic venue which offers exciting float fishing in winter.|
AN excellent winter venue for match and pleasure anglers, this stretch of water, controlled by the Belgrave WMC Angling section, has been fishing really well.
It runs from the Nineteen Arches in a westerly direction for approximately half a mile to its confluence with the Tame.
A survey on the river in 1988 showed up 11 different species and with average depths of around two and a half to three feet, it has a fairly even, steady pace and can provide thrilling, stick-float sport.
Under normal conditions a 3No4 stick will do the job, and an alternative is to fish close to the far bank’s overhanging trees with a waggler.
At the top of the fishery, on Pegs 1a, 1 and 2, the current speeds up a shade as the river is channelled down through the Arches.
This is an excellent area for lovers of centrepin fishing, and you can wade almost to centre stream. Also, the prevailing winds are upstream here, and that helps hold the tackle back, aiding good presentation.
Peg 1a above the Arches won the match fished when we visited; Ray Symes from Birmingham bagging a mixed catch for 5lb 2oz, a low winning weight here.
Further downstream we come to the first road bridge. It can be good on its day, but might be a bit cold as it’s shaded and strong winds are funnelled straight at you.
Peg 10 further down is noted for big fish. This has recently produced barbel to over 9lb, chub to over 5lb, and four perch for just under 10lb.
The summer months see prolific reed, lily and weed growth, which can make float fishing difficult. However, in winter it all dies back and now is the time to fish it. You will see ‘dead’ reed stalks poking up from the riverbed and this is where the big fish lie. It’s also where you will find the better pike, and Johnny Stevens, who conducts the weigh-ins at the matches, told us that he’s had several doubles to 17lb.
Another area to note is opposite the cinema, where big hauls of roach and chub can be taken from beneath the trees. The match anglers tell us they are happy if they draw Peg 17, just above the second road bridge, or Pegs 26 and 27 facing the bandstand. Regular ‘framer’ Mick Maher weighed in 5lb here for second spot on our Wednesday visit.
The Laurels is the next swim down, a good winter roach area. The remaining pegs lie just below the old footbridge down to where the Anker slides gracefully into the Tame. These last few swims are sometimes pegged in matches, depending on wind conditions, and can’t be fished at weekends on a day ticket due to council restrictions.
They are well worth a visit at other times, though, and we’re told ‘The Bomb Hole’, just below the footbridge, holds one or two surprises in the form of bream, carp and big tench, which tend to be caught in the warmer months.
Jeff Eardley has been on the open circuit for more years than he cares to remember and runs all the winter midweek matches on the Anker, as he does in the warmer months on the Trent and Tame.
“I’d be hard pressed to name the winning peg on any of these matches,” he said. “Some 80 per cent of the 32 pegs on this length are potential winners.”
He keeps a reliable record of past scores and says you can expect 15lb to 25lb to be required to frame on a good day.
“The main tip is to fish as light as you dare,” he added. “I fish size 20 hooks to 1lb hooklengths. Arm yourself with casters, bronze maggots, pinkies and squatts and be prepared to fish them singly. Hemp can also produce and one regular is still catching on it at the moment.”
Our visit followed an outflow problem from the nearby Snowdome, and everyone we spoke to said the average winning weight is normally twice that recorded on the match we watched.
Quality roach are the main objective, and the river is never visited by the specialist boys, so is an ideal place to consider for those last few weeks of the season or if your club can fit another match in.
Venue Fact File
River Anker, Tamworth, Staffs
Tickets: Available on the bank at £2
Matches: Opens are held every Wednesday, tel Jeff Eardley on 01283 762584. For club match bookings, contact Ian Nicholls on 01827 283331
Restrictions: Bloodworm and joker are banned in matches
Tackle shop: Tamworth Fishing Tackle, Lichfield St, Tamworth, tel 01827 66701
Facilities: There is sufficient parking in all nearby council car parks. On the lower pegs, opt for the castle car park. Park under the Nineteen Arches for the higher-numbered pegs
How to get there: Exit the M42 at Junction 9 or 10 and follow the signs for Tamworth town centre. When you get to The Egg roundabout, the castle, Snowdome and the Nineteen Arches are landmarks, which are easily spotted