Woods Farm Fishery
Haslucks Green Road and
Telephone: 07866 735562 (general enquiries)
or 0121 430 4000 (match bookings)
Known locally as Woods Farm Christmas Trees and as Bills Lane Pools, this expanding fishery is set on the outskirts of Shirley in Solihull where town meets countryside. Lying on the fringes of a residential area, it is convenient for local anglers who are looking either for a full day's fishing or a quick couple of hours snatched here or there.
Four pools are now currently available for pleasure fishing on a day-ticket basis whilst a fifth, Flight Match Pool (see below), is reached by a different entrance and is reserved exclusively for matches or for private hire at £150.00 a day at weekends and at £7.00 per peg for groups of anglers mid-week.
Opened for angling about 15 years ago, Woods Farm is popular with local anglers and the pools owners have carried out a lot of work on the site to provide convenient car parking near the new entrance opposite the Drawbridge pub and at other points around the fishery.
Because the pools are set on a large farm which specialises in growing Christmas Trees, much of the site is surrounded by a variety of spruce trees making it probably the most festive place in the country to fish in December!
As with many fisheries these days, keepnets are only allowed in matches. Barbless hooks should also be used and there is a maximum size limit of a Size 10 due to the number of fish which have been damaged by inexperienced anglers using larger hooks.
Permits are available on the bank from the patrolling bailiff.
|All year round||7.30am until dusk or 9.00pm whichever is the earlier||Anglers are warned that the gates lock automatically at closing time|
(concessions mid-week only)
|Half day ticket (From 3.00pm summer/1.00pm winter)|
Juniors under 16 must be accompanied by an angling adult
Second rods are charged at £2.00
Bills Lane Pool
The second largest of the Woods Farm waters, Bills Lane Pool holds 32 pegs and ranges from seven feet deep near the former Bills Lane entrance to four feet at the end of the dog-leg at the far end of the pool.
One of the main features of this water is the good head of Irish Black Bream which run to 8lbs together with the stock of traditional bronze bream which weigh up to 5lbs and silver bream to 4lbs.
However, this is a good general mixed fishery with mirror carp averaging about 4lbs but which go to 25lbs, commons to 14lbs and averaging 4lbs, grass carp between 5lbs and 9lbs and a head of young leathers which were introduced some three years ago and which are now running well over 3lbs. With tench to 5lbs, recently-introduced crucian carp to about 1lb and golden orfe to 2lbs, there's plenty to go for.
Popular pegs include one to four near the former Bills Lane car park where there is between seven feet of water; 11 to 15 where the depth is between six and seven feet; and 22-28 where the water is shallower at about 4ft 6ins but which is good in warm weather when basking carp can be caught on floating baits. The pegs are easy to find as they are all numbered.
As with the other Woods Farm pools, float fishing usually proves the best technique with most anglers using 3lb to 5lb line and size 18 hooks for the bream, roach, tench and crucians and 9lb line to 10 or 12 hooks for the carp. Best floating baits for the carp tend to be bread and crust, although those fishing on the bottom for the carp should note that boilies are banned although expander pellets, pastes, bread and worm are all equally effective with bread punch being particularly good for the roach and crucians.
Naturally, maggot and caster are good general baits, particularly for the bream, crucians, roach and tench, but as with every other water it is advisable to take a selection of baits plus a can of sweetcorn and a tin opener so that you are equipped to meet every eventuality.
Bills Lane Pool is one of those waters where good catches can be taken high in the water, but if the fish are not near the surface and you are not getting bites after feeding for about 20 minutes to half an hour, it pays to fish over-depth laying-on or fish just off the bottom.
Smaller than Bills Lane Pool, Bridge Pool is a charming little water which is especially popular with younger and older anglers and those looking for a bit of seclusion. Set amid trees, it offers about a dozen pegs but, despite its size is deeper than Bills Lane Pool at about eight feet round the edges and 10 feet in the centre.
Although all pegs offer an equal chance of catching, the peg between the two trees on the far bank from the former Bills Lane car park (pictured below) is popular because it holds a 12ft hole about a rod length out which is a favourite haunt for fish, particularly in colder weather.
Bridge Pool holds mirror carp to 25lbs, commons to 16lbs and ghost carp to 12lbs, although the average size for all three is generally between 2lbs-5lbs. In addition there are crucian carp to 3lbs but averaging about 12oz, roach to 12oz, perch to 2lbs and bream to 5lbs with the average between 3lbs and 4lbs.
Although you can never be sure what you are going to catch in Bridge Pool, the most predoiminantly caught species tend to be the carp and bream and techniques for fishing the water are much the same as Bills Lane Pool.
Pine Pool is a mixed water holding carp, roach,tench, bream, rudd, perch, chub and barbel. It is deeper at the entrance end of the fishery and tapers in width and depth towards the far end, running from about five feet up to just a couple of feet near the wooden bridge at the far end.
In common with many other waters, the majority of anglers fish for the carp, which can often be seen pushing their way through the bankside vegetation or scooping food off the surface.
When they are doing this it obviously pays to present a floating bait of breadcrust or floating pellet accompanied by samples near to where they are breaking the surface.
Floating baits also do well in the margins and against the island, but once the fish are hooked they bolt for cover and can often be lost if you are not ready to strike and then hold the fish until it turns from the weeds.
When float fishing - ledgering or swimfeeder fishing is unnecessary - it normally pays to present your bait on or just off the bottom. As with most carp waters, luncheon meat, sweetcorn and paste all work well although fishing maggots can result in nuisance bites from smaller fish.
By and large boilies do not tend to be particularly popular, although whatever bait you are using it pays to throw in a handful of bait samples to attract the fish and keep them interested.
It is also worth exploring the far end of the pool (right). Although the water narrows considerably and becomes shallow, it is a favourite haunt for many decent sized carp, particularly if the entrance end of the lake is busy. Here again, stalking fish or dropping a bait right next to the reeds works well.
When fishing for species other than carp it pays to experiment with both techniques and baits, but again fishing in the margins or to the island pays dividends. Keep feeding with small but regular amounts of hookbait and if you do not catch on the botttom, vary the float depth until you find the fish.
However, be warned. Because of the head of carp in the pool, a minimum line strength of about 4lbs is recommended - if not slightly stronger.
The latest of the Woods Farm Fishery waters, the spring-fed Drawbridge Pool is named after the pub which is just a short walk from the bankside where lunches, snacks and drinks are available for anglers wanting to take a break from fishing.
Opened at the beginning of 2014, Drawbridge Pool is currently being allowed to mature and has about 50 sturdy purpose-built pegs.
Developed primarily for match anglers but equally appealing to pleasure fishermen, Drawbridge Pool has been stocked since being dug with a mix of common, mirror and F1 carp and silver fish which have been left to grow on. Already a popular match venue with nets of between 50lbs and 60lbs being regularly taken in winter, anglers are reporting catches of carp around the 6lb to 7lb mark with some anglers saying they have been broken by much bigger fish.
Drawbridge is a large water by Woods Farm standards and has a total of six islands and a penninsula, which gives plenty of features to fish to. With bowl shaped sides, it has a fairly even bottom which runs between five and six feet deep.
Flight Match Pool
Reached by walking down the Grand Union Canal towpath to the side of the Haslucks Green Road car park, the Flight Match Pool has to be one of the most picturesque, secluded and diverse match fisheries around.
Forget any ideas about regular shaped waters with even depths and a carefully balanced mix of species and sizes, this pool is partially surrounded by trees and only a few of the 34 pegs are visible from any one point. Indeed, it looks more like a carp and tench haunt than a match fishery and is absolutely delightful.
Because it is not on the main Woods Farm Fishery site, the entrance to the pool is kept locked, although the water can be booked by groups of anglers who either want to hold their own private matches and scrambles or who simply want the joy of hiring a delightful and productive water for the day and having it all to themselves.
Indeed, even the extravagant, eccentric and wealthy individual can hire Flight Pool for the day if they are prepared to pay the £150 at weekend to have the pool to themselves whilst the mid-week price for club matches or groups of anglers is £7.00 a peg. To book Flight Match Pool please contact Marie Gilbert on 0121 430 4000.
More heavily stocked than the other two pools at Woods Farm but containing the same species and sizes, Flight Pool varies in depth throughout although it mainly runs from about 10ft deep in the bowl where you enter the water to seven feet throughout much of its length and down to four feet at the far end. However, with holes and pockets it is always worth plumbing the depth before fishing.
Although Flight Pool is away from the other two pools at Woods Farm, the techniques for fishing it are much the same as for Bills Lane and Bridge pools. However, boilies and trout pellets are not allowed although trout pellet paste can be used whilst a particularly effective 'groundbait' is liquidised bread.