|The Bourne may be little more than a stream but it holds more
than its fair share of specimen fish.
LOOSELY termed a ‘river’, the Bourne is little more than a stream measuring between two and five metres wide. It would present most Olympic long jumpers with little or no trouble in leaping across its narrow banks.
However, this little gem of a river, hidden away in the M3 corridor is stuffed with fish and is popular with all living in the locality.
It rises to the west, in the royal grounds of Windsor Great Park, and flows from Virginia Water Lake via a cascading waterfall at the eastern end. It flows past the edge of Wentworth’s golf course and continues to meander as a mini-river through the Surrey landscape. In some places it passes right alongside the motorway until it reaches the Thames at Hamm Court, Weybridge, near to the River Wey.
For most of its length it is unfishable due to flowing through private land or is just plainly inaccessible. However, easy access is assured around the Chertsey area.
The Bourne is a stalking angler’s delight that offers a number of likely looking swims capable of holding chub or barbel. The chub can reach 5lb, with barbel reported to touch 6lb.
It’s also a river that is capable of throwing up the odd surprise and there’s always a chance of bagging a stray bream to 3lb or even carp to 10lb, along with roach, dace, perch and pike.
The Bourne is, ostensibly, an autumn and winter venue. The best time to catch is when there is extra water running through as this improves the fishing and increases the number of fishable swims.
When fishing the venue it’s best to keep your methods really simple. A stick float or a small bomb is all you need and there’s no need to go berserk on the bait either.
Maggot is the favourite bait if you’re trotting a stick float, as just about everything will take it. Stalking tactics with bread on a small bomb set-up will give you a good day’s sport from just about any fishable swim, with chub the prime target but some decent roach also coming to the method if conditions are right.
One particular stretch with very easy access is Abbey Park, on Free Prae Roadand near to the centre of Chertsey, where you can park the motor on the roadside, stroll into the park and pick your peg.
The river meanders, twisting its way through the area and offering a variety of slow and pacey swims, although there are some very narrow and fast sections.
One special feature of the park is the addition of two specially constructed platforms for the disabled. With a smooth footpath following the course of the river, wheelchair users have no difficulty with access.
The Meads is close by and requires a bit of a hike after you’ve parked, but those taking the trouble to fish it will be rewarded by some cracking roach, chub and barbel action.
Access is gained by driving down Mead Lane, off Fordwater Road towards the marina, and going under a height barrier. There are two car parks offering free parking. If you park in the first, walk to the right (do not walk left as you’ll head for the Thames), and go across the fields until you come to the Bourne which, just further upstream, meanders and twists its way across the Meads.
The furthest car park, nearer the Thames, is the one you want when the main river is in flood. This section can heave with fish escaping the raging Thames and contains in particular some superb barbel. You’ll need to take some worms or meat with you, and travel light!
If you want easy access to the river then try Mill House Lane, which runs parallel to the motorway and is accessed by a public footpath near the large road sign before a mini-roundabout. Walk to the bottom of the track where you will meet the Bourne coming out from under the M3 motorway. Anywhere along to the left is good chub territory, so don’t be afraid to rove!
• Dave Johnson
“The venue holds some exceptionally big chub for such a small river,” Perry Stone, Davies Angling.
Venue Fact File
River Bourne, Chertsey, Surrey
Contact details: Local tackle dealers can direct you to the best spots
Day tickets: Fishing on this section of the river is free
Nearby tackle shop: Davies Angling, Staines, 01784 461831
Facilities: Free car parking
Nearby pub: Twynersh House, Thorpe Road, Chertsey, Surrey, tel: 01932 568231
How to get there: Leave the M25 at Junction 11 and follow the signs for Chertsey on the A317. Turn left at the first roundabout. At the end of Chertsey Road, take the right-hand fork into Fordwater Road. At the next crossroads turn right into Mead Lane and follow it down to the marina car park. To get to the Mill House Lane stretch, which is on the B388 heading towards Thorpe, take the A317 through Chertsey. At the top of the town, take the second exit at the roundabout and follow the road over the M3. Park on left-hand verge near to a large road sign