ORGINALLY used for transporting barge loads of timber, coal, flour and sometimes gunpowder from the surrounding area to London via the Thames in the 1600s, the River Wey and Godalming Navigation has since become a more peaceful and tranquil waterway.
Its 20-mile course takes it from Godalming to the Thames at Weybridge, creating the most southerly part of the inland waterway network. It was donated to the National Trust in 1964 and has now become a favourite place for boaters, walkers and anglers alike, oh yes… and cyclists!
One of the more popular angling stretches is Parvis Bridge to Blackboys Bridge and offers some great winter fishing.
It’s best known for its excellent winter fishing, it usually plays host to several leagues each year, as its constant flowing water providing respite and variation to the hardened Œleaguer¹ from the mundane of the commercial.
When snow and ice have taken hold of most venues in the area, the ‘Navvy’ usually provides good fishing to the pleasure angler, especially when bread punch is used.
The best fishing usually comes after heavy rainstorms and once heavy winds and frosts have stripped the trees of their summer cargo. That said, there are some who swear by its summer form, that offers some fishing for chub, roach and skimmers along with the odd 3lb-plus bream.
The recent dredging carried out by the Trust has resulted in greater depths along this stretch and the resulting cleared channels can only improve the fishing.
Either anchor the bait dead still with a small lollipop float or ease a 0.3gr to 0.5gr pole float down the track, a couple of inches over depth, control is a most important part of fishing the ‘cut’.
Best baits range from maggot, pinkie, caster and bread punch, as well as bloodworm and joker in the depths of winter.
While the winter leaguers have a limited choice of swims due to the draw bag, there are no such restrictions for the visiting pleasure angler.
Favoured areas are the outflow at White Hart, Coxes Lock Mill pool, but perhaps the most popular and consistent section is Blackboy¹s, especially opposite the Pelican Pub.
Several pegs below the outflow hold scores of gudgeon and these are usually found in the main flow. A small whip and pinkie usually keeps bites coming all day.
The prime peg here is just to the right of the flow as it leaves the tiny stream and you need to place your float just where the eddy forms. If the skimmers are around you¹ll have a good day with bags up to 20lb possible.
Chopped worm or bread punch are likely to be your best options but you¹ll need at least a 12-metre pole to reach the spot.
Coxes Lock Mill pool ‘reeks’ of fish and is only usually fished by the odd angler. Just about anything lurks here from barbel through to carp and pike.
Remember not to go too close to the lock area, especially in the hectic summer months.
Blackboy¹s has several noted areas, namely the first peg upstream of the bridge and directly opposite the Pelican pub.
Roach, skimmers and some big perch are the mainstay of this length and there¹s also the chance of some decent tench opposite the marina¹s moored boats, but again traffic could play havoc with your day¹s sport.
In general small amounts of punch crumb and groundbait can be used on all reaches, but try to restrict the feed to a minimum. It¹s very easy to overfeed the residents and sometimes loose feeding is the best option.
Working on the ‘little and often’ principal will usually guarantee a good day¹s sport. As with all public towpaths dog mess and cyclists can be a problem – watch out for both of them!
The ‘Navvy’ can provide a great day¹s fishing, if you pick your spot carefully. It has relatively good access to most of its hot areas and it provides comfortable and rewarding sport to those seeking something a little bit different.
Venue Fact File
River Wey and Godalming Navigations, Addlestone, Surrey
Contact: Wey Navigation Angling Amalgamation bailiff Les Southam tel: 01932 859252
Day tickets: Adult permits cost £3 per day. Concessionary tickets cost £1 per day. All permits are available on the bank
Matches: Contact Les Southam
Restrictions: Bloodworm is banned except on the Parvis to Blackboys sections. No night fishing allowed. A maximum of two rods only. No fishing within 50 metres of locks
Nearby tackle shop: Apollo Angling, call 01932 340000 Nearby pub: The White Hart, New Haw Road, Addlestone, call 01932 842927
Facilities: There is plenty Parking at Parvis Bridge, White Hart and Blackboy¹s Bridge How to get there: For Blackboy¹s take the A317 from Addlestone to Weybridge and take right filter lane into the industrial estate. Bear round to left until you come to bridge on right hand side. For White Hart take A318 from Addlestone to West Byfleet until you come to roundabout at White Hart, cross bridge and park in car park. For Parvis cross M25 on the A245, heading towards West Byfleet. Turn into Dartnell Park Road and turn first right and park on bridge over canal.