The first section of the River Tone leased by the Club starts at Firepool Lock to Bridgwater Road at Bathpool, this is known as the “Fast Stretch”. This is a fantastic stretch of trotting water especially in the winter months for chub, dace, roach, trout and even the odd salmon and pike.
The next section below Bridgwater Road (Bathpool) to the M5 motorway is Hankridge. This is a slower and deeper section of river but very also very good for roach and chub in the winter. Also a good summer section for stalking large chub and trout. With a number of specimen pike having been caught from this section it’s a good all rounder.
The normal methods of spinning / lure fishing for the pike in the slack water around the weirs can tempt a few fish. The pike prefer deep, calm, or slow-moving water where there is cover for them to lay in wait to ambush their prey. They usually hide in the weeds away from the main current.
Trotting in these two upper section of the Tone is second to none in the West Country. Using a stick float with maggots or bread is the best approach, fishing below one of the many small stone weirs trotting down to the tail of the run as it goes over into the next weir. However, sometimes the chub may prefer to sit right below a weir in the oxygenated water in the summer months. Conditions on the day will dictate the best locations and methods.
Another good method on the Fast Stretch is to travel light with just a feeder or float rod, bait, landing net. Pre-bait any areas you think may be hold chub, Just walk along the river and throw in some mashed bread then go back to where you started and fish some bread flake with a simple ledger or trot your bait over the area you’ve pre-baited. If you don’t get anything in 20 minutes move onto the next baited area.
This is the next section of the River Tone. This section is known as Bull Street given that the section starts at the Bull Street slipway. This is around 300 yards down stream of the main road bridge crossing the Tone in Creech St Michael.
This section is single bank fishing (left hand bank down stream) and goes down as far as the weir at Ham.
This section can be quite weedy during the summer depending on the spring we’ve had. This can be used to your advantage giving you the cover you need to catch some of the large bream and carp in this section over the summer months when the river can run very clear.
The best chub sport in this part of the Tone is in the winter months once there is some colour back in the water.
The section holds carp, bream chub and some large pike also with the other coarse fish such as roach and dace.
The water is slower moving here and pole or waggler tactics can be very productive for the roach, chub and bream.
The best baits are maggots, worm, hemp and pellets fished over a bed of ground bait with lure fishing for Pike and Perch being very productive in the winter months.
Tone on the Levels
Below Ham we arrive at Taunton’s first section on the Somerset levels at Knapp. Knapp is predominately a winter venue due to the thick weed growth in the summer months but it can produce some large bream catches in the early part of the season with weights over 100 lbs not uncommon. With some fish in this section approaching 8 lbs.
Methods include fishing the pole over ground-bait using corn or worm or even feeder fishing if the weed isn’t to thick.
This area can also be prolific for Pike fishing during the winter months when the weed starts to die back. Depths within this section can vary from 4′ to 10′. This section leads down to Newbridge located a mile of the A361 to North Curry. The Environment Agency have their tidal gates located at Newbridge which stops the tide pushing any further up stream depositing tidal silt.
This means in the summer months the water is held back to almost stationary with depths to 12′ behind the tidal gates. The extra water will push up as far back as Knapp in the summer. This can be another fantastic spot for specimen pike, perch and big shoals of bream as the weed is less dense due to the depth of water. Lure fishing in the summer months for pike and perch and deadbaiting can prove deadly throughout the winter months.
Below the bridge most coarse fish can be caught with popular methods including pole fishing, for the Bream over large beds of ground bait including pellets. Feeder fishing is also is proven method for the large bream.
Moving onto the last sections of the River Tone from Hookbridge to Athelney. This part of the river is tidal with high banks winding their way through the low lying fields. Just up stream of Hookbridge is the spillway that allows the water to overflow into Currymoor.
In the winter these fields are liable to flood in high water to allow the pressure to be taken off the main system. At the upper end of the Athelney section there is Currymoor pumping Station. This is an Environmental Agency pumping station that evacuates the water from the Moor back into the river once the river level have dropped.
Both of the sections can be prolific Roach venues from late autumn through to the end of the season with weights of 25 lbs of prime roach, dace and small chub on the stick float or whip in a session.
With this amount of fish moving up and down the river with the tides it’s also very good for pike and perch and the odd big chub.
- Brown Trout
- Common Carp
- Mirror Carp
- Sea Trout