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Archive for July, 2016


Day 4 of our Wye odyssey saw us back on a Wye and Usk beat and one that has produced big numbers of fish for us in the past.  I headed to the cribs with fellow Lone Angler team mate Marcus Joy.  Marcus was due to go home around lunchtime and I foolishly told him he’d have a few before he left, such was my confidence in the swim we were going to fish.  Sadly no one told the fish!  The swim is a beautiful gravel bend, which slowly shallows towards the far bank, with a deep run off of the crib.  It looks perfect and screams barbel.

The Wye

The Wye

I stuck to my usual tactics I had used for the week; a long coated braid hook link, 2 x 8mm pellets and a small hook.  The feeder was packed with groundbait and lots of pellets and out it went.  Marcus fished downstream and I fished upstream.  We both kept trying different lines until we managed to connect with a barbel.  By the time Marcus left around 2.30pm he’d had 2 and I had managed to bank 4 plus a couple of nice chub.  Geoff then joined my on the crib for the remainder of the day.

A 4lb+ Wye Chub

A 4lb+ Wye Chub

The fishing improved, particularly once i changed my hook to a size 14 barbless and used 2 x 6mm caviar pellets.  I was now getting much more action.  Geoff fished upstream and I fished downstream.   Later on in the day Geoff noticed that every time his feeder dislodged and moved it elicited a bite.  So I started to touch leger again and lift the rod tip occasionally to move the feeder.  At one point I can honestly say as I lifted the rod, I felt the bait pop out of a barbels mouth, only for it to pounce on the bait once it moved.  It certainly made for some exciting fishing. By the end of the day I had managed 14 barbel to just under 8lbs and quite a few chub to 4lb 4oz.  Geoff finished on 12 for the day, although 4 of those were from further upstream.

A decent Wye Barbel

A decent Wye Barbel

I now felt that the 6mm pellets would out fish larger baits, so on the last day that would be my tactics.  We headed back to Hereford for our final session. Today was one of those red letter days you so often read about and think “why not me?”.  It was a bonanza catch of barbel and chub and right from the word go.  Geoff and I started out sharing a swim.  I fished upstream and Geoff down.  My first cast produced almost instant results with a nice chub and then a baby barbel.  I love seeing these small barbel; they reaffirm how healthy the Wye is for fish stocks.  Soon I’d had 6 barbel including a stunning 9lb 2oz fish and chub to 4lb 11oz.  At this point Geoff and I swapped places.  He was now fishing upstream and me down.  It made no difference to my catch rate and soon I was up to 13 barbel, whilst Geoff had taken 2.  I think the small hookbaits were really paying off but I also believe the fish had become preoccupied on the caviar pellets.

9lb 2oz

9lb 2oz

Geoff even cast back downstream in an effort to prove the point.  No bites were forthcoming and yet my first cast back into position produced an instant bite.  The power of the caviar strikes again.  Geoff opted to move and ended the day on a creditable eight barbel but included a stunning fish of 10lb 3oz.  It was one of the nicest barbel I’ve seen and Geoff was over the moon.  Meanwhile my action continued unabated.  Every cast was met with whacks on the rod top.  By now the swim was simply crawling with fish.  Sadly as the day wore on and the fish just kept coming I ran out of groundbait and swapped to a straight lead.  This certainly slowed up the results.  However by the end of the day I’d managed to land a total of 31 barbel and probably 25-30 chub!  I would say half of the barbel were 7lb plus and I had half a dozen chub over 4lbs.  Unfortunately my biggest chub, which looked well over 5lbs, flipped back into the water whilst I was getting ready to weigh it!  Still never mind.  It was a day to remember and only the second time I’ve managed more than 30 barbel in a day.  The fish were stunning as was the setting.  It’s what makes the Wye the theatre of dreams.

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The start of a new river season usually involves a long awaited trip to the river Wye.  Geoff, Kevin, Dan and I are normally raring to go by late June.  This year was going to be a bit different.  Jez Brown from Team Lone Angler had booked a week in a cottage near Hereford for the Lone Angler coarse fishing team and I was looking forward to getting together with the other team members.

Jez Brown ~ Team Lone Angler

Jez Brown ~ Team Lone Angler

Due to the size of the cottage, Jez offered places to Geoff, Kevin and Dan and they duly accepted.  We were looking forward to some comfortable accommodation and hopefully some spectacular fishing on this great river.  Sadly Kevin was unable to attend.  His health has deteriorated recently to the point where he is unable to spend days out on the bank with us.  The fishing isn’t the same without him and we all wish him a speedy recovery and hope the day will come when he can join us again.

The Old Barn

The Old Barn

Jez had booked a number of Wye and Usk stretches and we also had a syndicate stretch near Hereford to fish.  I was fishing with the LA lads Monday and Tuesday.  For the remainder of the week I was due to fish with Geoff and Danny.  As it turned out we had the whole of Wye Lea booked on the Tuesday, so they joined us there too.

My first day started at the Creel, a Wye and Usk stretch.  I hadn’t seen it before today.  I arrived after visiting Morrison’s for a hearty breakfast and stocking up on a few provisions for the week.  My tactics this week was to fish caviar pellets and to compliment that I was using the LA Ocean Pride groundbait packed with 6mm and 8mm caviars.  The Wye level had been up the previous week but it had dropped quite a bit but still retained a touch of colour.  Cage feeder were the order of the day and in the 3-4oz range would be perfect.  I topped up at Woody’s in Hereford.  His feeder are simply excellent and great value for money.  They are also virtually indestructible too.   Hook bait would be 2 x 12mm pellets but if things were slow I had 8mm or even 6mm to try.

The Creel

The Creel

The fishing at the Creel was a little slow.  I found a few nice spots.  One was spoiled when 2 canoes moored opposite the island I was fishing to.  6 people got out and started a brew up and picnic right where I was almost casting too.  I decided it was best to move, which was a shame as I had taken several nice chub and a couple of barbel.  After a couple of moves I managed to sneak another barbel and a few more chub.  I think the final tally was 9 chub and 3 barbel.  I packed up and met Geoff and Dan at the KFC just outside Ross before attempting to find the cottage.  Despite a road closure, we managed to find the cottage without too much bother.  It was a magnificent barn conversion with 5 large bedrooms and a superb kitchen.  It was a bit too luxurious for us lot but made a great base for the week.

Wye Barbel

Wye Barbel

Day two saw us at Wye Lea.  By now there was Mark Dutton, Jez and Rob Swindells, with Marcus Joy and Ray Pullford joining us later in the week.  I opted to fish up by the old railway viaduct, fishing the fast water just downstream.  A few chub put in an early appearance and 1 barbel.  Mike the bailiff advised me to move right next to the bridge and after taking a look that’s exactly what I did.  The barbel were somewhat elusive but again the chub seemed active.  The day ended with  20 chub and 3 barbel.  Geoff was top rod with 9 fish and the other all caught plenty of fish too.

Wye Lea

Wye Lea

That night Mike O’Neill treated us to a fabulous meal at the Cottage of Content.  A slap up meal of sirloin steak and a few pints made for a wonderful evening in great company.  The landlady was, well, entertaining, I think!  It was certainly memorable.  I must say it’s the best steak I’ve had for a long time and I haven’t laughed that hard for while too.

Day 3 saw us at a private stretch near Hereford.  The river looked spot on, with a great flow and a touch of colour still.  Geoff and Dan headed off to do their own thing downstream and I opted to start off at the top.  The cows were in this field and there was a rather large and somewhat amorous bull present (and no I don’t mean me!).  Cows can ruin your car’s paintwork (just ask Ray) if they lick it and they do, all over if left to it.  So I had to keep one eye on the rod and one on the cows.  After taking a lovely. mint conditioned chub from a deep run under a tree I noticed the cows were gathering.  I opted to beat a hasty retreat and headed off to the lower section.

A Wye barbel fights hard

A Wye barbel fights hard

I found a nice swim in among some trees and within seconds hooked a barbel.  Sadly it snagged me and the fish was lost.  I then moved onto the beach.  I decided to put on the chest waders and get into the water.  It’s so much more rewarding to catch whilst in the water and seems more relaxing somehow.  It was a perfect day weather wise; overcast and humid.  My intention was to cast across to a deep run on the far bank, where there is an abundance of tree cover.  The barbel can be stacked up in here and the fishing can be explosive.  I had opted to use 2 x 8mm caviars and a feeder packed with groundbait and pellets.  I attached a strap to the groundbait bucket which meant I could fish effectively whilst wading.  The fish could be unhooked in the water and released very quickly.  If I latched into anything large I could simply wade back to shore and use the net.

The first hour was a bit slow, just a couple of barbel and a few decent chub.  I felt it should have been much better.  I waded out a little further and decided to fish across a large sunken boulder and into an area just above the shallows.  It would have been difficult casting from the bank to hear and even more difficult to extract the fish, due to the nature of the swim.  Obviously I had to touch leger, which I love and soon the rod tip was pinging.  I love it when that starts, as that’s a sure indication that fish are present.  Soon the rod tip whacked round and a barbel was on.  They are so strong here on the Wye, very powerful fights.  A couple of times I thought the fish were heading off to Ross, as they headed for the shallows downstream.  I lost a few fish to hook pulls but managed to land 14 nice barbel to around 8lbs and some cracking chub.  Geoff and Danny both managed some nice fish too, I think around 4 or 5 apiece.

Fighting Barbel

Fighting Barbel

 

 

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