A two day trip to the Wye had been planned a month or two ago and I was due to take an old mate up for some autumnal barbel and chub fishing. Sadly he had to cancel but I decided I’d go anyway, albeit alone. The Wye really does look fabulous at this time of the year and this particular beat is spectacular anyway. It’s also in the middle of nowhere and you can often feel like you the last man alive, such is the solitariness and remoteness of the stretch. This of course makes it all the more special and when you’re taking in the beautiful scenery alone, it often seems more acute and one’s senses seem more attuned with nature.
I had decided to go back to some more simple fishing over the two days. I’d stopped off at Woody’s and picked up some lob worms, maggots, groundbait and a few feeders. The idea was to have a dabble with the float and therefore have an opportunity to test out the new reel; a Daiwa 125m with rear drag. I was looking forward to this. I’ve owned a few close faced reels but have never really taken to them. I like to play fish off of a drag and I have found the ABU’s wanting in that department in all honesty. I love a centrepin and if the fishing is close to you, they are superb. However when casting a bit father I find a centrepin more restrictive. So this should be fun to test out the reel. I also intended to link leger with lob worms, hoping to tempt a few chub and maybe a perch or two. With so many great spots to target on this stretch I was confident of a fish or two.
So I came armed with a float rod, a 12ft 1lb TC Avon and the usual barbel rods. First up was the float rod. Fishing the Ocean Pride squabs directly on a size 12 ‘the hook’ unusually didn’t produce a bite. Unfortunately the wind had sprung up and was a very breezy downstream affair, which made presentation extremely difficult. Normally this method scores exceptionally well here and big bags of good quality chub and barbel can be taken. So a change of plan was in order. Out came the Avon rod, close faced reel and a simple triple swan shot link leger, size 6 ‘the hook’ and a big, fat juicy lob worm. The idea was to simply cast around the pools and runs, allowing the bait to bounce around with a small lift of the rod top. I was hoping it would entice a big stripey but it seemed the barbel had other ideas!
The first three casts produced 3 lovely, golden barbel and oh boy did they fight! On the light Avon rod and close faced reel the fish fought well but I was never under gunned I can assure you. After that the chub put in an appearance. I started to move around and I was picking up seriously good chub in pristine condition. They were all 4lb plus fish and weighing a few put them close to 5lbs. By the end of the day I’d taken 15 chub and 8 barbel. As the afternoon wore on I decided a rest was needed and so swapped to the more familiar feeder tactics. As always this season I opted for the Caviar Pellets and some of the LA groundbait. They seem to be a pretty deadly combination and as ever produced the goods with 5 barbel to almost 9lbs being taken.
It had been a wonderful first day back on the Wye. We’d had quite a bit of overnight rain on the Tuesday and maybe this had helped a little. The nighttime temperature was up and the rain had maybe breathed some life back into the river. The following day was another story though. I was joined by Danny Collins and Pete Robinson for the day. Having had such a productive day yesterday, I was hopeful they would have a few fish. Sadly the fish didn’t comply. We tried a number of swims and numerous methods and baits. I took a number of big chub to worm again, including three fish on the bounce going 4lb 10oz, 4lb 12oz and 5lb 1oz. However there was no sign of any barbel. However I did tempt a couple of nice perch with the biggest touching 1lb 8oz. Meanwhile Danny and Pete were struggling.
They moved swims after lunch and feeder fished a deep run with lots of bankside cover opposite. Eventually their perseverance paid off and they had a barbel each plus a chub or two. I ended up with 5 good chub all on worms. I’d had a lovely couple of days on this wonderful river and in all honesty its a privilege to be able to fish here in these amazing surroundings. I think the two guys enjoyed the visit albeit in one of it’s less productive moods. Still I’m sure we’ll be back at some point over the winter for the quality of the chub fishing if nothing else.