Bluebell Pool at Astwood Fishery near BromsgroveAstwood Fishery

Astwood Lane
Stoke Prior
B60 4BB

Tel: 07773 347072 (mobile)
      01905 770092 (with answer machine)

Leave your 'Stink Bag' in the car!

In a bid to reduce the risk of spreading disease, Astwood Fishery has become the latest in a growing number of venues which insist that anglers leave net bags in their vehicles before starting to fish.

Although most fisheries require anglers to dip their nets before fishing, there is a growing body of evidence that it takes up to half an hour's immersion for this to be effective and that the best way to prevent the spread of diseases such as KHV is for anglers to use only dry nets.

This is why fishery owner Frank Keen asks match anglers to stretch out their keepnets behind their pegs before tackling up and for all anglers to use dry or aired landing nets.

One of the corners on BuddleiaAlthough we had known of the existence of Astwood Fishery for several years, it was only when owner Frank Kean erected brown tourist signs showing the way that we were able to find it - and we weren't disappointed!

A short drive from Junction 5 of the M5 motorway leads you through the Worcestershire countryside to the fishery entrance and on to a choice of two car parks. A few yards further on the fishery opens up with lush and tended green banks giving way to Smokie Joe's, one of Astwood's three waters and a favourite with pleasure anglers.

Bluebell Pool at Astwood FisheryThere is a patio area which overlooks Smokey Joe's pool. With shrubs and trees surrounding the banks, Smokey Joe's looks inviting enough - but at the far end there is the hint of another lake. This is Bluebell Pool where some of the bigger fish can be found. Look to the left and a grass bank hides Astwood's third water - Buddleia - a canal-type lake with three islands which started life as a silver fish and tench lake but now offers all-round sport for match and pleasure anglers alike.

Smokey Joe's at Astwood FisheryAstwood is a great all-round fishery where the emphasis is on enjoying angling in relaxed and unspoilt surroundings. Indeed, to give anglers plenty of space, none of the pegs are less than nine or 10 metres apart. But that shouldn't be surprising when you consider that Astwood Fishery was developed by Frank as something of an anglers retreat.

Frank was head chef at the Chateau Impney Hotel in Droitwich before working for several years in the Middle East and North African where he developed accommodation 'towns' for employees in the oil and petrochemical industries. A keen angler since he was a boy, it had always been his dream to own a fishery, so after returning to Droitwich from the Middle East he decided to turn his dream into reality.

Looking back towards the snack bar from Smokey Joe'sHe bought the site of the current fishery in 1990 and by the end of 1991 had completed work on Smokie Joe's and Bluebell lakes. In 1999 he started work on Buddleia which opened to anglers in March 2000.

Whilst there are few rules, only the fishery's own feeder pellets should be used although anglers can use their own hooker pellets. Permitted baits are sweetcorn, luncheon meat, maggots, casters, worms, sinking bread and hooker pellets. Keepnets are not allowed and both hooker and feeder pellets are available from the office.

Dave Smith with a 28lb 6oz mirror from Smokey Joe'sDave again - this time with a 23lb 4oz ghostie from Smokey Joe'sEven youngsters can catch nice fish at Astwood

2021 ticket costs and opening times

Ticket type
Day (7.30am - 6.00pm)
£8.00 (one rod)
£12.00 (two rods)
£7.00 (one rod)
Half-day (2.00pm - 6.00pm)
£7.00 (one rod)
£12.00 (two rods)
£7.00 (one rod)

Please purchase your ticket before fishing
Children under 15 must be accompanied
There are no concessionary rates at weekends and Bank Holidays
Although the fishery does not hold Open Matches, small club match bookings are taken at £9.00 per peg.

A quiet corner peg at the deep endSmokie Joe's

The pool nearest to the entrance, Smokey Joe's is named after a former bailiff who used to love his ciggies. At an acre in size, it offers 20 well-spaced pegs - which means there is plenty of room for anglers.

Deepest at the end nearest the caravan where 12 feet of water can be found, Smokey Joe's gradually shallows to about seven feet deep at the far end, although it has a three-feet deep ledge which runs down the left hand side of the pool as you look at it from the entrance. This ledge runs out about seven feet from the bank and can provide great fishing in summer once the water has warmed up.

Plenty of open waterAs with the other Astwood Fishery waters, Smokey Joe's holds a nice mix of fish which include Mirror Carp to just over 30lbs with several fish now over 20lbs, Commons to 20lbs and Ghost Carp to over 24lbs.

With roach to 2lbs, rudd to half-a-pound, perch to 3lbs, skimmer bream to 1lb, tench and ide to 3lbs and a few chub to 1lb, this is a nice mixed fish water where you can go for decent nets of silver fish with a decent chance of picking up some of the better carp along the way.

The match record for Smokey Joe's was set in 2007 by Astwood regular Ashley Walker who pole fished feeder pellets and corn up in the water for a predominantly carp bag which weighed in at 138lbs. Pleasure catches in excess of 100lbs are regular, particularly in the warmer months.

looking back up Smokey Joe's towards the caravanAlthough the deeper water is most productive in winter when a slider float or feeder are useful additions to the tackle box and catches of 30lbs to 40lbs are not uncommon, there are no particular hot spots in summer.

Then, fishing in the margins, to the island or fairly close in where the banks shelve at about 45 degrees to the bottom are usually best. However, wherever you fish, sweetcorn, luncheon meat, Astwood's own hook pellets, sinking bread flake, maggots and worms are all good baits.

Because groundbait is not permitted it pays to feed with hook samples and feeder pellets, varying the depth until you find the fish and then keeping them going with loose feed. In summer you can usually afford to be fairly generous with the feed and it is not unusual for anglers to use three or four tins of sweetcorn in a match.

Astwood is a great place to relax!In winter the bottom is the place to catch fish, and although many anglers regard sweetcorn as a predominantly summer bait it seems equally effective all year round at Astwood. Maggots are another good winter bait, and again anglers should feed little and often - although not as much as in summer when the fish tend to feed more freely.

Most anglers fishing the Astwood pools tend to fish a 4lb line straight through to a 10, 12 or 14s hook. Fish any lighter and you will undoubtedly be broken if one of the medium to larger sized carp comes along.

Bluebell - the place to go for the bigger fishBluebell Pool

Anglers looking for the bigger fish at Astwood are probably best advised to head for Bluebell Pool, indeed, the attractiveness of this water and its head of Mirror Carp - which now run to just over 30lbs - are starting to attract the interest of a small number of specimen carp anglers.

Similar in size to Smokey Joe's at about an acre, Bluebell Pool has 24 pegs and an island at the far end which usually attracts the 'early birds' as the carp are often to be found cruising round the island and in the margins. The match record here was set by Peter Bailey who beat the previous match record of 143lbs which he set with a net-busting 156lbs.

A pretty, open water with plenty of roomThe commons and ghosties can also give good sport, although at up to 20lbs and 24lbs respectively, they do not run as large as the mirror carp which were introduced when the fishery was first developed and now come in at just over 30lbs.

For the silver fish angler there are bream to between 4lbs and 5lbs; roach to 1lb; rudd between 14oz and 1lb; and plenty of hybrid crucians/goldfish to about 1lb which can be quite prolific when they are on the feed. In addition, there are some Common Carp hybrids which generally range in size from 2lbs 8oz to 4lbs 8oz. These fish, which have spawned naturally in the pool, look like Common Carp but have no barbels.

Bluebell holds bream over 8lbs - but they can be hard to findAn added attraction is that there are known to be a good head of large bream to over 8lbs but for some reason these have not shown over the last couple of years.

One reason for this may be that the pool was orginally 12 feet deep throughout much of its length with a deeper hole of about 15 feet. However, over the past few seasons a large amount of silt has built up on the bottom and this is known to contain large amounts of bloodworm which may have become the larger breams' predominant food source.

Fishing up against the island at the far endThe result of the silting is that much of Bluebell Pool now runs between five-and-a-half feet deep around the island and about 10 feet deep everywhere. Shallower water can also be found around the sides of the pool which, like Smokey Joe's, shelve at an angle of about 45 degrees to the bottom.

Those going after the carp - a great many of which are over 20lbs - are advised to use more traditional baits and techniques with good old fashioned float fishing on the bottom in the margins being as successful as anything.

Another peg at the far end of BluebellInterestingly enough, big fish don't tend to be caught using big baits and although anglers can use up to two rods equally good results are achieved using just one. Packing a selection of feeder pellets and hook samples in a pva bag should help to keep feed concentrated in a small area.

By and large, the techniques and baits which work well on Smokey Joe's do well on Bluebell with a 12 to 14s elastic and a 12 or 14s hook to a minimum 4lb line being recommended.

Again, sweetcorn, luncheon meat, maggots and, especially in winter, worm are all goo baits although floating baits are discouraged.

There's plenty of cover on BuddleiaBuddleia Pool

Rectangular in shape with three central islands, you may be forgiven for thinking that Buddleia Pool is Astwood's out-and-out match water, but you would be mistaken.

This two-acre, 44-peg water was originally stocked with silver fish and tench, but in 2002 a large number of carp were introduced transforming it into a general all-round water. However, the large stock of silver fish make it an ideal venue for winter anglers.

Popular with club match anglers...Six-feet deep all over, the islands are between 14 and 16 metres from the bank and the ground cover, high islands and bankside vegetation means that anglers usually cannot see anyone fishing the opposite side of the pool. Once again the sides drop at a 45 degree angle to the bottom.

Buddleia holds mirrors and commons to about 14lbs, roach to 2lbs with a lot around the 1lb mark, ide to 1lb, perch to 3lbs, bream to 5lbs and Old English Crucian Carp to 12oz with the occasional fish to 1lb plus a good head of crucian hybrids to about 12oz. In addition, there are a good number of tench which now run to 7lbs and 8lbs with plenty of fish in the 4lb to 5lb range.

...and waggler anglers alikeThe match record on Buddleia currently stands at 236lbs, a weight set in 2010 by Peter Bailey fishing corn on a 16 metre pole to the island in one foot of water with an all carp bag comprising mainly fish weighing between 4lbs and 8lbs.

Again the most popular baits tend to be sweetcorn and luncheon meat for those anglers after the carp with maggots, bread, worm and hooker pellets popular for general fishing. Feeding hook samples with feeder pellets is a good means of attracting the fish and the most popular technique is to fish either close in to the site, against the islands or in the channels which run between the islands.

How to get there...

Click on the map for more detailAstwood Fishery is a few minutes drive through country lanes from Junction 5 of the M5 Motorway. After leaving the M5 take the road off the roundabout signed for Stoke Works and the first left where you will see the brown tourist sign for Astwood Fishery.

Follow this road past the big church on the left, under the railway bridge and past the Bowling Green Inn on the right. Take the next right signed Hanbury B4091 into Astwood Lane, over the canal and take the right hand fork at the grass triangle. Follow this road for two-tenths of a mile and the entrance to the fishery is on the left.

Please note that the fishery can be found just to the south east of the red circle.

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