Archive for July 3rd, 2013

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!



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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