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Posts Tagged ‘Fishing in Wales’


Day two of the trip turned out to be even colder.  The overnight temperatures had plummeted and it was going to get even colder.  The biggest problem is the top half a dozen rings on the rod freezing.  You have two options; 1) WD40 or 2) Glycerin.  The later probably being the most effective.  They both work though and solve the icing up problem very well.

Today we headed to one of the tributaries.  After a long walk we each found a spot to fish.  I waded out and despite the cold fished in about 2 feet of water.  I lost a fish after a few trots and then eventually managed a small grayling.  I tried all of the usual tricks; holding back hard, changing baits, fishing different lines and fishing in the slacks, all to no avail.

The Wye

I opted to move and met up with Geoff and Kevin.  They had taken a couple of fish but again it was proving to be a tough day in the bitter conditions.  I waded out again and started to fish a nice run of about 3 feet.  It was now that I felt like my foot was wet.  It didn’t feel cold, just sort of squelchy.  I carried on for a while but it got worse.  I knew now that I must have a leak in the waders.  Well when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go!  No, I clambered out and removed the waders only to find my left leg soaking wet all the way up to my buttocks.

Talking of brass monkeys

So for me the fishing was over today.  I had to head to Sportfish to buy a repair kit.  You can’t fish effectively here without chest waders, so it was a necessity to repair them, even though the shop was 25 miles away.  I left the boys to it at around 12pm.  I managed to get what I needed and then headed back to the cottage.  The guys arrived home earlier than I expected.  One reason was the fishing was very tough and the second reason was Dan doing an impression of Tom Daley or maybe he thought he was Tarzan, as he dived  into the river backwards!  He was a little bruised and battered but none the worse for his ordeal.  I think the shock of falling in was the bigger problem and he was glad to jump into a hot shower on his return.

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The rain of the previous day was bound to have an effect on either water clarity or levels, if not both.  Luckily the river didn’t rise but it was very coloured.  We were at least heading to a stretch that we were familiar with.  Over the next three days we would be fishing a stretch of approximately 2½ miles in length.  This is a tributary of the Wye and is home to some very good grayling fishing.

Geoff's '2'

Due to the wet conditions, access to either the middle or lower car parks would be virtually impossible.  So we parked at the very top of the fishery.  This would involve a considerable walk to some of the spots that we hoped to fish but at least we might walk off a few of those breakfast calories. Over the following few days we walked pretty much the entire fishery a couple of times a day, or at least that’s what it felt like.

We need a bigger float

This section sits in a beautiful valley, surrounded by hills.  It really is God’s own country.  With Red Kites, Buzzards, Ravens and dippers, there was plenty to keep the ornithologists amongst us quite engrossed.  The weather had improved although it got very breezy as the week went on, which made for quite a challenge.  The idea was for the four of us to explore and hopefully find a few hot pegs, as well as fishing some that we had already discovered in the past.

We found ourselves leapfrogging each other up and down the river. Wading on the first day was made a little tricky due to the colour but we all took care and encountered no problems.  Over the next couple of days the colour dropped out and by Thursday, viability was much improved.

Beautiful

We all did reasonably well, taking lots of good quality grayling on all three days.  We found some very good, productive spots and visited some old favourites, with all providing a few decent fish.  I would say the vast majority of the grayling caught were between 1lb and about 1lb 12oz, with a lot around the 1lb 8oz mark, so a very good average size.  The sort of quality you would once of expected of the upper Kennet, Hampshire Avon, Test and Itchen.

I think most days we each got into double figure catches but again the gold medal goes to the Grayling King: Geoff.  His best day was 28 grayling to 2lb 1oz, so congratulations and you’re not coming on the next trip Geoff.  Dan, Kevin and I all caught well but couldn’t quite emulate Geoff but did end up with 16 or 17 on at least one day.

It's not always size that matters.....

Oh and we also managed to get the cars stuck in the mud on the middle car park track.  It’s probably about 1/2 mile long and quite narrow and slippery, with a few sheer drops.  I got stuck about half way but miraculously managed to reverse my way back up the slopes and out of trouble.  Kevin was stuck right at the bottom but a little bit of brute force on Geoff’s part got him moving again.  Never get complacent or blasé about winter tracks, even when they are mainly gravel!

So we ended our three days here having enjoyed some pretty hectic sport at times, despite the poor conditions.  Luckily swapping baits and playing around with the set-up and holding back quite hard on the float, all helped to make the most of the difficult conditions.  We thoroughly enjoyed the venue, as always.  There is such a mixture of features to fish.  Lots of riffles, islands, gravel runs and glides, deep pools and slacks that you are kept busy just exploring.  The scenery and wildlife further enhances what is a truly memorable experience.

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Grayling fishing is a real passion of mine.  I thoroughly enjoy those crisp, winter mornings when the ice sparkles in the sunlight.  We haven’t had much ice of late and that’s possibly not a bad thing, especially considering what happened around this time last November.  The weather of late has been pretty mild.

Four of us had booked a cottage just outside of Builth Wells and we were treated to yet another superb property of the very highest standard.  The owners; Richard and Jane, were wonderful.  We joined them for breakfast at the farmhouse on 2 mornings.  Oh boy, what a breakfast.  A full Welsh cooked breakfast on both occasions.  Two rashers of delicious bacon, 2 Welsh sausages, 2 beautifully fried eggs, fried bread, mushrooms and tomatoes, plus toast, cereal and some excellent Welsh tea. God knows what my cholesterol is like now!  I have to say it was possibly the best cooked breakfast I’ve ever had.

The Wye

Anyway enough of the food already.  On to the fishing.  We were splitting the week between two rivers-the Wye and one of its tributaries.  Both rivers can be fairly prolific and both can produce big fish, given the right conditions.  Sadly on the Sunday night prior to our arrival the skies had opened.  Still, on arrival we found the Wye in good sorts.  It was quite a wide stretch, with a mixture of the usual shallows, deep glides and runs.  It looked good for wading, which we all enjoy.

The weather forecast was for some heavy rain, but at that point we seemed to be OK.  This is quite a long stretch and it was time to explore.  The fishing is simple trotting tactics.  Between the four of us I’m certain our set-ups were pretty much the same.  Rods were 14′, centrepin reels, mainlines of about 3-4lbs, floats in an assortment of styles but all around similar weights.  Baits were to be maggots, worm and corn.

The local toboggan run

We each found a swim to our liking and the fishing began in earnest.  I find this sort of fishing so exciting.  You really don’t know what to expect.  On these particular stretches there is always a chance of a really big grayling and that’s what we all hoped to come into contact with over the next 5 days.  I waded out about mid river and fished a fast run about 3/4 of the way across.  Sadly I only had 1 bite and that resulted in losing what felt like a very good fish.  At this point Kevin wandered upstream to tell me he had just caught his first grayling.  It was a magnificent fish of 2lb 10oz! Wow, what a start.  A new PB for Kevin and a tantalizing glimpse at what this part of the Wye has to offer.  What other unknown monsters swam in these waters?  Sadly at this point the rain started.  It got worse and worse and rained pretty much for the rest of the day.  We were all soaked through and so packed up a little earlier than expected.

Kevin's 2lb 10oz Grayling

I think we all caught some nice fish.  Geoff caught the most, with around 16 or 17 I think.  The rest of us mere mortals managed considerably less but they were all a good average size.  Most of the fish seemed to be in the 1lb-1.8lb bracket.  So it was off to the cottage for a spruce up followed by a very healthy fish and chip supper.

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