The History of the Club
Around the late 1920s a few local mill workers got together to fish a few matches on the local canal. This was the start of the Sowerby Bridge Angling Club, later to become Ryburn A.S.
The club grew with new members joining all the time and started to gather a portfolio of waters that they could rent from mill owners, landowners and the local councils. The club was having regular meetings and a heated debate during one of these meetings in the ’30s saw a breakaway of the committee. Some of the men decided to split ownership of the clubs waters between them and the birth of the Hebden Bridge club was formed.
The Ryburn club was given all the still water dams and the river whilst Hebden took control of the Rochdale Canal. Dean Clough Carpet Mills in Halifax took control of the Calder and Hebble navigation and ran it until the mill closed in the late 1980s when Ryburn took over control of it. The dead arm of the canal at Salterhebble was taken over by the club in 2009 from Nestle, the former Macintoshes Sweet Factory’s sports club.
In the late 1990s, Halifax A.C. decided to merge with the Ryburn club, thus giving the club its present name. The Halifax club is still a strong name in the angling world match fishing and the Matrix sponsored team remains a force within the division one championships.
Tim Plews, John Hoyle, Paul Manchip, Craig Sykes, Nick Ginga, Brian Percival, Craig Smalley, Jamie Bradley, and Gabor Horvarth
Andy Smith, Chris Eastwood, Phillipa Hake
Steve Warriner, Steve Baldwin, Darren Kershaw, Dave Pilgrim (Spokesman / Press)
Our water runs from the bridge opposite the Navigation public house near the marina entrance at Sowerby Bridge and runs the full length of Wakefield road through Copley to the dead arm and lock pools at Salterhebble nr. West Vale Halifax. There are plenty of entrances to the towpath, good parking and easy access for disabled and wheelchair anglers.
Below the lock pools then belongs to Brighouse Angling Club on the Stainland Road area.
Up stream now is the Salterhebble stretch. This continues up over the weir and runs behind the new sewerage works at Copley. The church at Copley is next and a road through the village gives easy access to one of the nicest tree-lined parts of the Calder. Trout measuring up to 6lbs and Grayling up to 3lbs make the Calder at present time one of the best in England.
From the church upwards to Standard Wire mills (now demolished) is the most popular area on the river. The big weir gives fast water below and deep, slow water above (big pike weighing in at 18 lbs live here!). This area has had a new development and is now complete. This area at Hollas Lane (Old Standard Wire Works) has a pathway to connect it to the Mile Run section and the old weir, formerly called Stern Mills Weir.
We have installed a new gate behind the cricket clubhouse in Swoerby Bridge/Pullmans Steel warehouse. A key for the lock is available from the Secretary or AJ Jewsons. £8 each.
You can wade the river up to the next weir at Mearclough (mile run) as known locally just outside the town of Sowerby Bridge is now free fishing and is part of the canoe slalom course which begins behind the cricket club and Pulmans steel stockholders. This is the area for some chub and the odd barbel as well. Dixon Wood is the next stop and is more open around this area, taking you into Luddenden Foot, the weir and Tenterfields Industrial Park length ending at Brearley, the top end of our waters on the Calder.
Travelling up into Hebden Bridge, take a right-hand fork to Hardcastle Craggs and our beautiful stretch of the river Hebden is a true brown trout and grayling fishery. You also have the smallest Working Men’s Club in England at the side of it with picnic tables and true Yorkshire ale on tap (PARADISE!).
Our waters are stocked on a yearly rotation. The stocks are now re-seeding themselves and a present we have a very healthy river.
But the river can also be very vulnerable to pollution; a total wipe out 20 years ago caused by aqua-spersion in Hebden brought it to its knees with a bang with all fish killed for 10 miles into Brighouse. The E.A. restocked but the river took approximately 5 years to recover. In the last two years we have been very lucky. Pollution at Copley sewage works killed hundreds of fish down stream but our high stock helped to right the balance within 12 months. A mine water leak at Todmorden turned the river bright orange for two days, and a 2000 gallon diesel spillage, again in Todmorden, put a slick on the river, running all the way down to Elland Bridge. A heavy rainfall on both occasions helped to flush the pollution out quickly with very few levels of dead fish.
Its correct name is Finkle Street dam, an old mill dam that can accommodate 20 pegs. It was purchased from the then owners British Rail who used it as a feed for the steam locomotives on the way into Lancashire up the gradient, so as to allow water to be taken on the tenders without the need for stopping. The club bought the dam outright in the late 1970s.
The dam contains all coarse fish and some big Ide. There are no pike or trout in the dam. On some mornings the local deer herd can put in a visit and you may have to blink at the size of them. “Harriet the Heron” also visits twice a day for you “Twitchers”!
During the summer months the club along with Hebden Bridge run a joint league series of matches on the Calder and Hebble and Rochdale canals on alternate Thursday evenings, draw is at 6.15pm and run till 9 pm. The entrance fee is £10 per match. There are 10 dates and you may miss a maximum of 3 dates as you need 7 dates to count toward your league placing. All monies are paid back to the anglers and the top 12 go through to a final.
So if you fancy it pop along. You only need to be a member of either club to take part. Books will be checked so make sure you hold one.
SWAMP RESERVOIR IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
THREE SETS OF HIGH VOLTAGE CABLES OVERSAIL THE DAM, ALONG WITH A SET OF STREET LIGHTING CABLES THAT RUN DOWN THE SIDE ROAD, HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN A RISK ASSESMENT AS A POTENTIAL LETHAL THREAT TO ANGLERS.
THE CLUB AND ITS INSURERS REQUEST THE FOLLOWING RULES WILL APPLY TO THE FISHERY AT ALL TIMES:
- ALL ANGLERS MUST FISH WITH ROD AND REEL ONLY.
- THE MAXIMUM ROD LENGTH MUST NOT EXCEED 13FT OR 3.9M LONG. ALL POLES ARE BANNED.
- NO BRAIDED LINES TO BE USED; MONOFILAMENT ONLY
- ACCESS THROUGH THE GATE ONLY. TO BE CLOSED AT ALL TIMES.
- NO SWIMMING IN THE DAM
THESE RULES ARE NECESSARY FOR THE SAFETY OF ANGLERS, AND ANYONE FOUND IN BREACH OF THEM WILL CEASE TO BE A MEMBER.
GATE KEY CODE WILL BE CHANGED ANNUALLY – CONTACT SECRETARY FOR CODE.
Cormorants can be a nuisance to the match waters and deplete stocks rapidly. Any sightings of cormorants should be logged at the following website as soon as possible: www.cormorantwatch.org