Archive for November 26th, 2012

Wow, this year just seems to have flown by.  It didn’t seem that long ago that I was in Wales in those Arctic conditions back in February, battling snow in the south east and incredible sub zero conditions in Wales.

This time around we wasn’t so lucky.  I wish it had of been -8c again but instead it was the wet stuff that proved to be our downfall.  On arrival at the river on our first day in Wales, conditions looked pretty good.  The river was in good sorts with a nice level and colour.  The fishing was a little slow for me but I managed a few nice fish to about 1lb 8oz.  We hadn’t been there very long when the rain started.  It wasn’t particularly heavy, more of an irritation really and quite windy.

I was having one of those very impatient days and this really is one of my biggest faults.  There are days where if I don’t catch within 10 or 15 minutes or at least get a few bites, I start to loose interest.  I find it hard to settle into a swim and find myself quite restless.  This often proves detrimental to my fishing, rarely giving the swim a chance to produce.  This was borne out by my poor performance in one swim, only for Geoff to go in 30 minutes latter and take a shed load of grayling.  I think where grayling are concerned a good 30 – 45 minute attack on a swim is about right.  If there are grayling resident or at least in close proximity of your swim, you should be catching within that time frame.  Ten to fifteen minutes really isn’t enough!

As the rain set in we all agreed enough was enough and we called it a day and headed off to the cottage.  As usual we were greeted by our hosts and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and generous help with fishing venues.  Their local knowledge and contacts have proved invaluable.

The following day we headed to a new river, another tributary of the Wye.  It was a beautiful, narrow and intimate river.  It wasn’t particularly deep but had a nice flow and plenty of   features.  There appeared to be a deep run in the margins and the river shallowed towards the opposite bank, a feature that seemed to extend to most of the section that Kevin and I fished.  Geoff and Danny had decided to try another short section a little further upstream.

My initial attack failed to produce a bite after about 40 minutes and so I decided to wander downstream.  I found Kevin in a lovely looking spot on a deepish bend.  He hadn’t had a bite but shortly after I dropped in some way below him, he lost a very big grayling at the net.  At least we knew there were fish here and obviously of a good stamp.

It wasn’t long before Kevin was into another decent grayling and he called me up to photograph his capture; a pristine fish going 2lb 2oz.  The colours were absolutely stunning and the fish was in perfect, mint condition.  Just a magnificent grayling.  Kevin needed to walk back to our starting position to grab our bags and get his camera.  I decided to make the most of this opportunity (with Kevin’s permission of course) and run a float through his swim whilst keeping a watchful eye on his prize.  Second trot through and wallop, fish on.  After a very exciting fight I finally managed to subdue the fish sufficiently to do a ‘John Wilson’ and pick the fish by hand from the water, having left my nets up the bank somewhere and not daring to chance landing the fish with Kev’s net and risk loosing his fish.

2lb 2oz

2lb 2oz

On Kev’s return there were two beautiful grayling in the net, like peas in a pod.  Mine proved to be the smaller of the two at 1lb 12oz but was equally as stunning.  Photo shoot over and it was back to my swim.  It wasn’t long before Kevin was in again and I had to return to his swim for another photo.  This time the fish went 2lb 7oz and was again totally stunning.  This was proving to be some river and Kevin ended up with 7 nice grayling.  My efforts proved less successful but I did manage another grayling of 1lb 12oz and lost another of a similar size at the net.  Other than a couple of trout and a dace that was it for me.  The rain had set in and the river was rising and colouring up quite quickly.  Both Kevin and I felt it was now pretty pointless carrying on.  Neither of us were getting any bites at this point and so it was time to call it a day.

2lb 7oz

2lb 7oz

We managed to get Geoff on the radio and it seemed they had struggled.  Despite fishing some really mouthwatering spots they had only managed a trout each.  Dan had become stranded on the opposite bank as the river rose quite quickly and Geoff managed to wade across but felt it was too dangerous to attempt a return crossing.  They were both wet and pretty fed up and were quite happy to pack up early.  It was quite disconcerting how quickly the river rose and by the next morning, after a night of heavy rain, the rivers were a torrent of foaming stewed tea.  More rain followed and the river Wye and it’s tributaries were at bursting point.  That was an end to the fishing and we were all understandably disappointed.

We made the most of the next day to explore fishing possibilities.  However an opportunity arose to watch the Red Kites being fed, which although some distance away, was something I was keen to witness.  On arrival there were already dozens of magnificent red kites circling overhead.  We made our way to the hides and watched the spectacle unfold around us.  We watched dozens and dozens of Kites swooping down to grab the beef offerings laid out by the local farmer.  Mixed into this spectacular were buzzards, ravens, rooks and crows.  It was really incredible to watch such magnificent birds up so close, a real treat.  Sadly none of us had brought a camera and with only my mobile phone to hand had to make do with some rather poor quality photos.

Red Kites

Red Kites

We made use of our time here to also visit the magnificent Elan Valley Dam and drive through the rugged countryside that surrounds this stunning region.  As you stand there looking up at the incredible wall of water cascading down into the river below, you feel very humble.  The Elan valley has five lakes; Caban Coch, Garreg-Ddu, Pen-y-Garreg, Craig-Goch and Claerwen reservoir and are all formed by the rivers Elan and Maytag.  The waters here provide sustainable drinking water for Birmingham and are supplied by  gravity alone, no pumps.  Quite amazing.

As the weather forecast was for worse to come and with the rivers now almost un-fishable, we took the decision to cut the trip short and return on Thursday after a hearty Welsh breakfast.  Hopefully when we return in February the weather will be a little kinder to us.


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