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Archive for July, 2013


Hot, sticky nights aren’t too good for sleeping.  Add to the mix a cool box that sounds like a jumbo jet taking off and Frank’s regular trips to the loo and the sound of the light cord being pulled; ching,ching just when you feel at long last sleep envelope you.  Fortunately I’ve got the sort of feet that in extreme temperatures can stop a charging bull elephant at 30 yards, so I manage to get my own back.  Still a couple of hours broken sleep never hurt anybody….well much.

Luckily Frank being a Landlord and all, is a dab hand at knocking up a very tasty breakfast at 4am!  Thank God for that, cos they would have got bugger all out of me except for a load of abuse.  Apparently the older I get the grumpier I get…hmm well maybe.  Still I was in good company; Frank who does a great impression of Blakey from On the Buses/Victor Meldrew/Adolf Hitler/Basil Fawlty and then the professional alcoholic and bon viveur that is Alex ‘The Chin’ Watson certainly made for interesting company.

Frank doing an almost convincible impression of an angler!

Frank doing an almost convincible impression of an angler!

It was day two of this trip and we were heading off to a delightful day ticket section of the Wye near Aramstone.  We arrived around 5.15am and it was slightly cooler than the previous morning.    In fact a jacket was needed to keep the chill air out, however it was most refreshing not to be baked alive.  We were going to fish the first swim and take it in turns.  This was a spot that is well known for producing big bags of fish and I was hoping it wouldn’t let me down.  There is something nice about sharing a swim with mates.  It’s more sociable and it’s also great to share in the experience of catching, casting and the general day to day antics of fishing together.

Barbel O' Clock

Barbel O’ Clock

This is a very interesting swim.  The river narrows considerably here, with an area of very shallow gravel commanding most of the swim.  However on the nearside is a deep, fast gravel run.  The water is almost a torrent as it’s pushed into the bank on a sharp bend and then runs off downstream.  Thick weed abuts the channel and an area of still water lies to the right of the fast, boiling and swirling deluge of water forced down through this narrow channel.  It’s an ideal spot for barbel to hole up.  There’s loads of oxygenated water, cover and food and all in one fairly small and concentrated spot.

A feeder was loaded with bait, two elips glued to the hair and the whole lot cast to the exact spot required.   If you get it right, keep hold of the rod, because it won’t take long.  A few sharp bangs and the tip rips round….fish on.  Soon a nice barbel of around 5-6lbs was recovering in the net.  Once unhooked and released it was time for the boys to have a go.  It was interesting to note that the barbel here almost pulled you in and when recovering in  the net, very nearly pulled that in too.  The only difference was the speed of the water and the amount of oxygen this gushing torrent produced and it allowed the barbel a very healthy environment to live in during these extreme temperatures.

The Stunning Wye

The Stunning Wye

Throughout the remainder of the morning Frank, Alex and myself continued to hit the spot with the rig and fish after fish came our way.  We lost a few here and there, especially Frank who’s as adept at loosing fish as anyone I’ve seen.  I have to say in his defence though that the barbel here are particularly good at throwing the hook.  They either bury themselves in the thick weed or twist and turn and just throw the hook as regular as clockwork. They all put up tremendous fights and all went back with gusto.

The time wore on and by around 11.30am we thought we ought to have a look at the rest of this lovely beat.  We drove up to the remains of the old railway viaduct, it’s stanchions straddling the river.   There are a number of really nice, pacey gravel runs up here but all were taken.  By now it was blazing hot again and we decided to call it a day, however as we arrived back down at the start we saw the swim we had been fishing was still free and Frank wanted one last try.  So for maybe an hour we had a final fling.  Both Frank and I had a couple more out and I think the final tally was me on 7, Alex on 6 and Frank on 5 and we probably lost 6-8 fish too.  So pretty productive with all things considered.

My new house...er well one day...maybe

My new house…er well one day…maybe

It was time to call an end to this Wye adventure.  We were hot, tired, thirsty and hungry and so it was about time we headed off back to Kent via the Air Balloon pub for a spot of much need sustenance.   I had thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The company was rubbish of course but at least the fishing had been good.  The chauffeur was a little suspect and the chef had a habit of getting his manhood out a bit too often to take a pee, with absolutely no discretion whatsoever but other than that it was in fact great company with lots of belly laughs and just a little bit of good old fashioned pee taking.  Love it. 🙂

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I had the opportunity to visit the Wye with a couple of good mates recently, who although anglers, had to my knowledge never fished a river and certainly had never caught a barbel before.  The Wye offers stunning views in unspoilt countryside and a healthy barbel population for us to target.  We also had at our disposal the chance to fish a private beat near to the spectacular Symonds Yat Rock.  Sometimes life can be grand and I happened to know the owner of this beat and he had been in touch to offer me access to the water.  Although I have fished much of the Wye right up to it’s upper beats in Mid Wales, this would be the lowest stretch I had fished.

I desperately wanted my two mates to get stuck in to a few barbel.  For me barbel are one of the most majestic fish in our rivers, powerhouses that beggar belief once hooked.  They fight to the net like their very existence depended on it.  Once out of the water their symmetry, muscular design and colours leave the captor spellbound by their beauty.  It’s very difficult to get that across to someone who hasn’t caught or seen one on the bank and do the barbel any kind of justice.  In the end you just have to experience it for yourself and so it was that I would be taking Alex Watson and Frank Scott with me on this trip.

Stunning Views

Stunning Views

We booked a holiday cottage in Symonds Yat and it proved to be an ideal base for our stay.  With a couple of good eating and in Alex’s case, drinking establishments almost within walking distance of our accommodation, we were neither going to go thirsty or hungry for too long.   Although we were only here for two nights we wanted to make the most of our time here in terms of fishing but also the chance to visit Yat Rock and see the spectacular views across the Wye valley.  I think all three of us were blown away by the incredible vista that opens up from on high and we could even see the stretch of river we were fishing too.  It’s quite simply stunning here and I highly recommend you visit if you’re in the area.

Eating again

Our first day started at about 3.30am.  This was about beating these extreme temperatures that we’re experiencing at the moment.  With the thermometers stuck at around 28-30c, fishing during the afternoon wasn’t really an option for us.  With the sun blazing down from a cloudless sky, we didn’t want to be roasted during the hot and sweaty afternoons.   Neither did we feel it was ideal for the fish either.  The water has been denuded of oxygen during this extreme heatwave and so the fish would be exhausted after even a short fight.  So it would be very early mornings and evenings only.

After a Frank breakfast (I knew we had brought him for a reason) we headed off to our first venue at Symonds Yat.  We crossed Huntsham Bridge and soon found our way along the Forestry Commission track and down to the river.  We entered the meadow and was greeted by the spectacular backdrop of the high cliffs of Yat Rock and the sweeping water meadow and forested banks.  It really was a breathtaking spot and we felt very privileged to be able to fish here.

A view from Yat Rock

A view from Yat Rock

The river was very low, probably a couple of feet down on normal summer levels.  I knew this would make the fishing tough, especially with this oppressive heat too.  I soon had Frank in a nice fast gravel run.  I set him up with a 12′ Fox barbel rod, Shimano baitrunner and 12lb mainline.  We used Andy Witham feeders, which are without doubt the best on the market, a Sufix Camfusion hooklink of about 3 feet in length and the hooks, beads and tail rubbers were all from the Gardner Target Specimen range.    Two elips pellets superglued to a hair finished this simple but effective set-up off nicely.

We mixed up some groundbait using hemp and halibut off the shelf mixes and added 4mm and 6mm elips and halibut pellets.  Once wetted down this can be crammed into a good sized feeder and with regular casting, a good carpet of bait can be laid down but without fear of over feeding.   This particular swim was around 4′ deep over clean gravel and with a good pacey flow. We needed to fish oxygenated water but also deep enough not to be overly warmed by the extreme heat of the sun.  Often people head to shallows in these conditions and they can fish extremely well, however I have found during this heatwave more fish in slightly deeper water, where the fish can find some respite from the burning heat.

After half an hour or so I left Frank to it and went and found Alex who was quite happy with what he was doing.  So after a brief chat I decided to walk the whole stretch and see if I could find a few more likely looking spots to fish.  With the water level so low some areas seemed a little too slow for my liking and so I headed to the upper limit.  Here the water shallowed and a couple of croys stuck out into the river.  The depth looked good and the flow seemed ideal.

I wandered back down to the boys and Alex was biteless and Frank had had a few knocks.  I dropped in just above him and soon the rod top whacked round and I had a nice barbel of around 5-6lbs.  No other bites came our way and so we drove to the top of the beat.  We fished the fast deep water but only 1 chub came my way.  By now the canoe traffic was building up and we decided to call it a day and return around 7pm for another go.

The local Wildlife

The local Wildlife

So after a good afternoon nap and then a very tasty dinner at the local hotel, we headed back to the river around 7pm.  Frank plumped for the swim I had fished in the morning and caught from.  It looked the best swim in this section and I was confident Frank would catch.  Alex headed a little further upstream and I decided to fish just below him.  I then bumped into Andy the owner and we had a long chat about things.  I am eternally grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to fish such a wonderful spot and I have no doubt I’ll be back for another go soon.  By now it was about 8.30pm and I felt I ought to go and check on Frank before I commenced my own fishing.

Frank was telling me he’d had 5 barbel.  I thought he was pulling my leg, as he’s a bit of a wind-up merchant but then his rod hooped over and he was in again.  It turned out to be a barbel of about 6lbs.  His previous fish had all been around 5-7lbs but one had been much bigger.  Unfortunately this area has virtually no phone reception and he just couldn’t get hold of any of us.  I managed to get hold of Alex and tell him to come and have a go in this swim.  I walked back up to my swim and packed up my gear and headed back down to the boys.  Frank had another barbel making it 7 and so he relinquished the swim for Alex to have a go.

Alex's 9lb 1oz barbel

Alex’s 9lb 1oz barbel

It didn’t take long for the rod top to start bouncing around and after a really good fight (of which Alex rightly got loads of stick for milking it) a very fine barbel was landed.  For a first barbel it was an impressive creature and weighed in at 9lb 1oz.  A very happy, smiley Watson made way for me to have a cast but the swim had given up all of her treasures for today.  No more bites emerged and it was time to call it a day.  However as I sat there and took in the scenery; the stunning heavily forested banks opposite, the rolling meadow and wooded hills behind and the magnificent cliffs of Yat Rock to our left I felt completely at ease and sated by the day and what it had generously given us.  To watch and hear the screeching Peregrine falcons and see them drop like bullets from the skies around the cliffs rounded off a truly rewarding day for me.  Hopefully the guys felt the same way as I did.

As you can see photos of fish are few and far between for the simple reason that fish welfare comes first and the fish had to be returned to the water as soon as possible.

The stand off

The stand off

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You can’t keep a good man down it seems.  That young Jez Brown has struck gold on the Royalty fishery with some stunning recent catches of barbel.  Jez is one of the main men at Pallatrax and the lone Angler and a big supporter of the Association of Barbel Fishers and a thoroughly nice bloke too!

Details of his latest catch can be found here:  The Baron

Well done mate.

 

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The final stages of our annual Wye trip were drawing to a close.  With two more beats to fish we were still hopeful of some serious action.  The next session was on a beautiful day ticket section downstream of a WUF water.  It was an interesting beat.  The top end was fairly fast flowing over gravel and streamer weed, with some nice deepish runs.  Then as the river flowed downstream, it slowed in pace and became almost still but very deep in places.  Still lots of weed throughout the stretch and finally the river shallowed quite considerably but there was a very deep gulley on the nearside bank which caused the water to gush down in a boiling torrent straight into a bend before smoothing out again below the beat.  Thick weed seemed to completely cover the shallow gravels here and was a popular spot for the swans, ducks and a few drunken canoeists!  Yes it seemed that the hillbillies from Deliverance were alive and well and canoeing for a new hobby.  Cue banjos, squealing and pigs.  Luckily the vast majority of canoeists on the Wye and thoroughly nice, decent and considerate people but you do get the odd numpty but then the same could be said for anglers of course!

A drunken Wye Canoeist

A drunken Wye Canoeist

We started out at the top end of this very picturesque beat, having met and been shown the stretch by the river-keeper Stan.  There were horses all along the stretch and it seems that the owner is a famous race horse trainer and even had the Grand National winner a few years back.  The horses were fairly skittish until we made friends with a few and then of course they don’t leave you alone.  They were magnificent animals and added to the charm of this delightful beat.

I ended up on a croy, fishing out to some clear gravel set amongst thick streamer weed.  There is something very satisfying about feeling a lead or feeder hit clean gravel, especially if its amongst some thick weed.  You just feel so much more confident of a bite.  I had a reasonable depth and it was one of the nicest swims I think I have fished on the Wye.  The croy crept some way out into the river and I had unimpaired views both up and downstream of this amazing river.  With buzzards screeching overhead in that haunting way that they do, as they whirl high above on the thermals, kingfishers hurtling past and a vast array of wildfowl, it proved to be a pleasant distraction from the fishing.  That was just as well because despite the simply perfect looking swims that we all fished, we couldn’t buy a bite.  This was of course pretty much the theme of the week, so we wasn’t put off by the lack of action.

We kept moving and trying different swims, even the deep and sluggish water of the middle section, but all to no avail.  Stan was on hand a number of times throughout the day to lend a hand but even three regulars had struggled to get any action, with just two fish between them.  That at least made us feel a bit better, we weren’t as useless as we thought…?!  I decided to take a stroll, well hobble really, as I had done my big toe in.  It wasn’t gout, just where I had been pushing the toe up against my shoe for a long period of time and it had started to swell up and became very painful.  I’ve had this before where its actually gone sceptic and I’ve been forced to take a hot needle to the swelling and drain out the….well you get the picture.  So anyways I hobbled down to the start of the fishery and discovered a chap in the boiling, fast water swim.  He’d had 11 or 12 fish.  It was interesting to just chat and watch him fishing in this torrent of water.  He missed a few bites and then lost a barbel, so I left him in peace, especially as he’d had to put up with the 10 or so drunken youngsters in the canoes peeing and drinking on the shallows just in front of him earlier.

I wandered back up to the boys and we decided to call it a day, fishless once again.  The guy below appeared to be packing up too and by the time we had loaded the car, he had gone.  It was too good an opportunity to miss and so we headed down to the swim.  We shared a rod and were soon into our first barbel, which unfortunately snagged me and came off.  I then caught a lovely fish of about 6 or 7lbs and promptly lost another 4, all shedding the hook.  Kevin managed two and lost several and Geoff also got in on the action with a 100% success rate; 1 cast 1fish.  We decided to call it a day as food and drink beckoned.

The next day was hot, the sun beating down in a relentless blaze of heat.  Hats on and shade very much the order of the day.  We were heading to another new beat and looked forward to some exploring.  On arrival we walked the stretch to see what was what.  Shallow, weedy water seemed to be the mainstay here but with a deep near bank channel in places.  The channel had a really good flow and looked very tempting.  I found a nice spot but soon discovered that the gulley wasn’t as deep as I thought.  Still, it looked enticing and so a few bait droppers of hemp and pellet went out and the swim was rested for an hour.  Four and a half hours later and the tip hadn’t registered a single tap, let alone anything that closely resembled a barbel bite.

Kev waits for the wrap round - Wye June 2013

Kev waits for the wrap round – Wye June 2013

So it was time for a move.  I headed upstream and dropped into a slightly shallower and less pacey swim with a weedbed in front of me and overhanging trees just downstream.  It looked pretty good and I thought well worth a go.  However again a couple of hours passed and the lack of action and heat forced me to go and sit in the shade for a while.  Geoff had also just moved into a swim and both Kevin and I helped him with his gear.  I can’t believe I had missed this new swim because it looked absolutely perfect.  It was around 5′ deep, clean gravel bottom but with weed 3/4 of the way across and a lovely smooth and fairly pacey flow.   One look said ‘barbel’ .  Geoff was soon set-up and the feeder and bait were out mid-river.  The knocks and taps started straight away.  I think this is always a good sign and these sharp, quick bangs are often barbel not chub.  Soon the rod wrapped round and a beautiful, immaculate barbel was in the net.  Several more followed.

I headed back to my swim for a while to give it one final go.  Not long after casting out, the rod tip banged and dragged round.  The culprit put up one hell of a fight.  After several attempts to get it near to the net, only for this powerhouse of a barbel to surge off on another amazing run, I began to realise this was a really good fish.  It looked long, long enough to be a nice double.  Eventually I netted my prize and left it resting in the net for some time.  It had fought so hard it needed a good rest.  Then I weighed her in at exactly 10lbs, despite looking nearer to 11.  These fish are so lean and muscular, which is why they fight so hard.  So my first ever Wye double had been secured and I was over the moon.  It was a stunning fish and looked freshly spawned, so was soon returned and I’m delighted to say that it swam away strongly.

My first Wye double

My first Wye double

After hearing that Geoff was still catching and that he had now been joined by Kevin, I thought it only fair to share my vast experience with them by poaching their swim!  So it was a threesome, which won’t surprise our families,  as we are often refereed to as the ‘Brokeback Mountain’  brigade!  I mean, how very dare they. 🙂 So there we were like peas in a pod, all three in a nice neat line fishing this lovely run.  Soon we had all caught fish and I have to say it was an unusually sociable and entertaining way to fish.  I managed to persuade Geoff into float fishing the run for barbel and soon had the Drennan Power Float Rod in action.  However due to the wind, it was proving awkward to fish the right line on which the barbel appeared to be feeding.  Still it was great fun and Geoff managed to tempt a few chub whilst I blanked of course, well I may of had a small chub but can’t actually remember.  Damn this Senile dementia.

Peas in a pod

Peas in a pod

So we left perhaps a little disappointed with the slow fishing, but in all honestly the scenery, stunning beats, wildlife and company is what makes these trips so enjoyable and long may they continue.

 

 

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Ah the old Indian Love call; now the barbel love call too! Will you answer too? Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo.  Sadly I don’t think they quite heard me or perhaps this was very much unrequited love.  Our fishing continued but for me it was a struggle to get a few bites.

On the second day we headed to Sugwas Court.  This was another stunning beat available through the WUF.  We decided to check out the top end of the fishery initially, hoping that we could do a little wading and float fishing on the gravel shallows.  We soon found a likely looking spot that dropped off into slightly deeper water, fast paced and weedy.  I was soon out mid-river trotting away like a Trojan.  After about 90 minutes I had one very small chub to show for my efforts.  Geoff and Kevin were keen to move downstream to an area they had discovered whilst on a recce.  So I packed up the gear, loaded the car and headed off downstream.

We found some lovely deep swims in amongst the trees.  Lots of cover was on offer here and the flow was excellent too.  We had soon ensconced ourselves into a few likely looking spots and hoped that things would be much improved here.  I opted for a 3oz cage feeder, packed with groundbait and mixed pellets.  I fished a Sonubaits Hemp and Spicy Sausage pellet with a 3′ hooklink.  I cast out to the edge of the fast flow and placed the rod in the rest.  I grabbed the flask and as I turned round the rod tip banged and the line went loose.  I grabbed the rod but it was too late; the fish had kitted into the trees to my left.  I hate having a snagged fish, the thought of leaving a hook in them leaves me cold.  I could actually see the fish twisting and turning in the water, the feeder caught on a branch.  I slackened off but the feeder would not come loose.  The fish had vanished by now and thank goodness appeared to have shed the hook.  Eventually I had to pull for a break.

Soon after re-tackling I was in again and another hard fighting Wye barbel graced the net.  The colours were stunning and the fish in beautiful condition.  So things looked like they were going to be quite exceptional today, at least that was my initial thoughts.  Sadly the barbel seemed to vanish.  I picked up the odd fish here and there and ended up with 5 to a very good weight of 9lb 3oz and lost another on an unseen snag.  Geoff and Kevin had only had one fish apiece and were a bit despondent.  However in the last few minutes prior to packing up both had one more barbel each.  The day had been lovely and we enjoyed fishing this new beat.  However we all felt that in normal conditions we would have caught a lot more fish here.

9lb 3oz

9lb 3oz

The next day we headed to Perryhill Farm.  This beat was described as fairly wild and tagged with the description “for the adventurous”.  Well that doesn’t even come close!  The track down was car crunching to say the least and had it of been wet, there is no way you would have been able to drive down to the parking area.  We then had a longish walk to the river, which isn’t a problem at all.  However once we arrived bankside we discovered that all the way along the length of the river and also dividing each separate field, was triple lined barbed wire.  Once you managed to traverse the first set of fencing, you then had to climb back over to cross into the next field.  The banks were heavily overgrown and in the first field we only found one or two possible swims.

Even the cows are possessed  at Perryhill.  Bullocks I hear you cry!

Even the cows are possessed at Perryhill. Bullocks I hear you cry! No honestly they are.

We headed into the next field and discovered maybe 4 or 5 potential swims but decided to check out the top two fields, however the next field was so heavily overgrown with stinging nettles (and I’m talking shoulder high) that we were not equipped to make our way through here and into the next field upstream.  We were quite disappointed with the poor access.  We accept this is a wild and unkempt river, which is why we enjoy it here so much, but felt that this was just too wild for us.  We were not equipped with the right sort of clothing and tools to make our way to the river in most places.  We had to crawl under the barbed wire as there were no styles or even any plastic wrapped around the fencing to help you get over it.  So please be warned that if you are going here, to be prepared!

Perryhill

Perryhill

Anyway eventually we dropped into some nice looking deep swims.  There is a pretty good flow on this stretch and a really scenic and picturesque spot too, which made up for the earlier difficulties.  Geoff was soon in and it seemed he had found the best swim.  He continued to catch steadily, although not spectacularly and ended up with 9 barbel to over 8lbs.  Kevin had 5 barbel to a very commendable 9lb 12oz and I had a couple of chub and one barbel.  Whilst the other two were catching steadily and getting lots of knocks and taps, my rod tips remained motionless for most of the day, despite several moves.  The usual feeder tactics seemed to work.  I am back here again in September but just hope that the access has improved a little, with more people having walked and trampled the banks by then.  I am also praying it isn’t chucking it down with rain too!

The following day we were joined by Danny and headed to a section controlled by Ross AC, of which Danny and I are members.  This looked perfect; fast flowing, weedy shallows dropping into some deeper, pacey water further downstream.  We were all excited at the prospect of fishing this new beat, as it looked so good.  I fished from a small croy, dropping the bait just out into a deep run below the shallows.  It didn’t take long to start getting a few indications and suddenly the rod top banged round.  The culprit was a spirited chub and soon after another followed.

There was quite a bit of weed coming down and so it was important to keep the tip as low to the water as possible, touch legering to feel the bites.  Sadly no more fish showed despite the conditions looking ideal.  I decided to go for a look upstream and found a couple of nice looking swims in amongst the shallows.  By now though it had started to rain, so I wandered back to the car to grab the brolly.  It was just as well that I did because by now the rain was heavy and steady.  It rained throughout the afternoon and no more bites came my way.  Geoff managed the only barbel of the day.  Due to the lack of waterproof gear we decided to pack up about 6pm and head to the pub.  That seemed a far more inviting prospect than sitting in the pouring rain all evening.

So yet another tough day on what was proving to be a ball breaking Wye.

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It was that time of the year again.  Can it really be 12 months since our last visit to the Wye Valley for some early summer barbel fishing?  It’s flown by, which is frightening really.  Still they say as you get older the faster the times seems to go and it looks like ‘they’ are right.

The only worry we had was that the barbel may not have spawned by the time we got there.  In fact they did the weekend prior to our arrival.  We suspected that the fishing would be quite slow and looking at reports on BFW and one or two other forums, it looked like pretty slow going indeed.

Still if there is one thing that can make up for some slow fishing, then its the scenery.  The Wye Valley is simply breathtaking.  Rolling hills, thick forests, pasture-land, pretty villages, wonderful cottages and some rustic old pubs all go to make this place so special.  I often sit back and just gaze in wonder at the spellbinding beauty of the Herefordshire countryside.  Throw into this mix some amazing wildlife and its a privilege to have the freedom to be out there enjoying the sights and sounds this country has to offer.

The River Wye

The River Wye

We arrived at the farm around late morning, much earlier than normal, due in the main to a quiet and unusually benign M25.  It didn’t take long to get the caravan and awning set-up and we headed down to the river.  It was the lowest I think I have seen it, certainly for some time anyway.  I had planned on a two pronged attack….float rod to start with and then move onto a feeder later on.

Once the waders were on I headed onto the shallow gravels and opted for a big float, which would hold its line easily.  I wanted to trot the deeper gulley that ran down the opposite bank.  I had decided to feed with 6mm carp pellets and fish a banded 8mm carp pellet on the hook.  The shot was bulked around 12-14″ from the hook and a No 4 dropper shot employed around 4-6″ from the hook.  The float had a nice pronounced tip that would easily be visible at distance.

I initially bait droppered in around 6 medium sized droppers of hemp and a couple of mini pellets and then left the swim for half an hour to hopefully get the fish feeding. Sadly after a couple of hours trotting without so much as a bite, it was becoming obvious that the barbel were either not in residence or simply not interested.  I had hoped to fish the end of the beach area here, but unfortunately there was someone fishing on the opposite bank.  The area lower down had a very deep gully that I thought might hold some fish, especially as the flow is very good here.

Drennan Power Float Rod

Drennan Power Float Rod

Kevin was float fishing above me and Geoff was feeder fishing from the croy slightly further upstream.  All these areas have produced fish in the past but not today.  Geoff decided to walk upstream and I stayed put lower down but switched to the feeder.  I like the Fisky type feeders and use a hemp and halibut groundbait and add pellets of all sizes; 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and a few 12mm elips.  I also sprayed some of  Trefor West’s ‘sausage sizzle’ flavour to the mix for some of that extra bit of magic.

Nothing materialised for me but Geoff came through on the walkie talkie and had caught a couple of fish from the top end.  Enough was enough and I headed up top.  I was loaded up like a sherpa and just about made the hike in one piece. I found a nice swim just above Geoff, who had now caught again.  He continued to catch steadily and the fish seemed to be of a good size and included Geoff’s first Wye double of exactly 10lbs.  In the meantime Kevin and I struggled for bites, despite flanking Geoff on both sides.  He ended up with 10 and Kevin and I had 1 apiece.

Geoff's first Wye double

Geoff’s first Wye double

Still our first barbel of the season had been secured and we looked forward to a wonderful week ahead of us on the river Wye.

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