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Posts Tagged ‘Lone Angler baits’


A return to the Wye is always something to look forward to.   Generally the fishing is good and certainly the views are worth the trip, even if the fishing is a bit lackluster.  There are always good opportunities to spot plenty of wildlife, particularly bird-life, so pack your copy of the RSPB Handbook of British Birds and you’ll be crossing off all sorts of species from the list.  We often spot plenty of deer too and there are always a few rabbits or hares to add to the mix.  The strange thing is I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fox in the Wye Valley but there must be a few I’m guessing.

A Buzzard

A Buzzard

This particular trip was made with Danny and Pete.  We were heading to Hereford for a couple of days, hoping to find the river in good sorts.  It’s been very dry over recent weeks and the river was actually quite low and clear.  At least that gives me an opportunity to get into the water and explore some swims. The breathable chest waders means I don’t sweat my whatsits off in these hot, dry summer days.  You can buy some reasonable breathable chest waders now pretty cheaply and they are definitely worth the money.  Avoid the neoprene waders in the summer at all cost.  They are hard work and you’ll be soaked through with sweat.

Dan's Anti Cow Cover

Dan’s Anti Cow Cover

The two guys found their chosen spots and I headed off to a lower section where I could get the waders on and get out into the river.  I waded out with some 6mm and 8mm caviar pellets.  The idea was to put some loose feed out and watch and see what happens.  I managed to reach a large slab of bedrock about mid river.  The water was gin clear, there was barely a ripple on the water and the sun was out making fish spotting very easy.  Obviously a pair of polarized sunglasses are essential to cut out the surface glare of the water and see clearly through to the the riverbed.

Once out in the river I spotted a deeper cut in the bedrock in front of me.  I noticed some chub up on the shallow bedrock just downstream.  I fed out a couple of small handfuls of mixed caviar pellets and soon the chub were darting about chasing the loosefeed.   I kept tricking in the pellets and soon a couple of barbel appeared, heads down, tails up feeding on the bait.  After 15 minutes there was a healthy mixture of barbel and chub in front of me, probably no more than 8-10 feet away.  Visibility was perfect and I could see unhindered the fish reacting to the introduced pellets.

I waded back to shore and grabbed a rod with a light feeder and a couple of 8mm pellets glued onto the hair.  I swung the feeder out onto the adjacent lump of bedrock and threw out some more pellets.  The barbel were soon hoovering up the bait and I could see my feeder in among the feeding fish.  Suddenly the rod top wrapped round in a frenzied take from a barbel.  As I guided the fish to the waiting net, I could see the orange fins and the powerful tail kick, as the barbel surged off into the fast flowing river.  After a few minutes I managed to net the fish and slipped the barbless hook out very quickly returning the fish to the flow.  It powered off and disappeared among the bedrock.

A Wye barbel fights hard

A Wye barbel fights hard

This was quite exciting fishing.  There were plenty of chub darting around too, often taking the freebies as they hit the water surface.  A couple of big chub followed that first barbel but then things went quiet.  Around 5 or 6 yards away I could see the barbel flashing.  I cast out a bit further and kept getting sharp knocks on the rod top but nothing really hittable.  I swapped the feeder for a lead but that made no difference, the sharp bites kept coming.   I tried a couple of the triple ssg shots and bounced a bait down among the rocks and that produced a couple more chub but the barbel were being very cautious.

I decided to have a break and wondered up to see how Dan and Pete were getting on.  It seemed things were pretty slow with them too.  After a cuppa and a bite to eat, I left them to it again.  I decided to wade out on top of the bedrock to around 3/4 of the way across.  I now discovered a deep depression in the bedrock, which looked about 3 feet deep.  I could see a number of chub and barbel stationed here and they seemed completely at ease with my presence.  Again I fed some pellets and they were soon hoovering up the free offerings.

I waded back, grabbed the rod and was soon in position again this time armed and dangerous!  I swung out a feeder into this new spot and the rod top whacked over very quickly.  I managed to tempt 3 barbel from here and a couple more nice chub.  Then the barbel moved out.  I tried a few other spots but lost 2 barbel to hook-pulls and then the fishing completely died. The barbel seemed to be a bit wary or maybe they were just not feeding hard.  I wouldn’t say they really spooked from the swim, even with a hook bait in place, so perhaps they just weren’t on it today.  Nevertheless it had been a very interesting and educational day, watching the fish up close and how little they seemed afraid of my presence in the water.

A typical Wye barbel

Hopefully I’ll be returning to the Wye soon but a more pressing engagement awaits; the mighty river Trent.

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June the 16th finally arrived and coincided with heavy rains and thunderstorms.  Some rivers were 2-3 feet up on normal summer levels and generally heavily coloured.  The biggest worry is for the freshly laid spawn, so lets hope it doesn’t get washed away.  On the upside it does make for pretty good barbel conditions, as opposed to 30c and bright sunshine I guess.

Geoff and I headed to a new stretch of river for the opening day and one that will see us through the remainder of the season, when we are not on the Wye or Trent.  The levels were good, with the river carrying about an extra foot of coloured water.  There was a really good flow.  This particular stretch had loads of bankside cover, with lots of over hanging trees and bushes presenting plenty of cover for wary fish.  We went for a quick recce and was presented with a delightful small river, with varying flows and depths.

The whole stretch presented all sorts of opportunities to drop in and let a bait swing round in the current and under some form of feature or another.  The time spent plumbing the depths provided information on some deep holes and deep gravel runs, which hopefully would prove fruitful. Depths varied from a couple of feet to as much as 7 or even 8 feet in places, even right under the nearside bank.

The weather conditions today seemed perfect; overcast and warm.  The forecast was for the occasional shower but we were keeping our fingers crossed for a dry day.  We had to be off the water at sunset, which was around 9.15pm.  I opted for a mouthwatering swim about 1/2 mile downstream.  There was a tree down across the water to my right (upstream) and a huge leaf covered branch hanging across the river to my left.  The nearside bank also had plenty of cover.  A crease ran approximately halfway across the river and was created by the tree upstream of me.  It looked perfect.  At my feet the depth was 7ft and appeared to be mainly clean gravel.  It had to produce a barbel!

I fed some 6mm and 8mm caviar pellets into the swim whilst I set-up.  As this was a small river my Trefor West 1lb 12oz LA Barbel rod would be ideal.  It has a sensitive tip and a soft action, well until a big fish is on and then it has masses of reserve power.  They really are lovely rods to use for this kind of fishing.  I matched this with a good quality Shimano reel, 10lb mainline and a coated braid hooklink.  Bait was double caviar pellet to start.  I had a number of options with me to fall back on if the pellets failed to produce, although they rarely do.

The weaponry

The weaponry

With a steady trickle of small pellets going in I chose to fish close to the bankside cover in the deep water.  The flow here was reduced somewhat by the fallen tree upstream, so a small lead was sufficient.  It didn’t take too long to get some interest, a few chubby knocks on the rod top indicated life.  Soon the rod top was bouncing around and after quite a surprisingly spirited fight a nice chub was eventually landed.  It was great to see such a lovely fish again after the 3 month break.  Chub are perhaps my favorite fish and at 4lb 9oz it was a good start to the new campaign.

4lb 9oz chub

4lb 9oz chub

The sun came out every now and again and almost roasted me.  I was secretly hoping it would cloud over a bit more to keep from being BBQ’d!  Sadly I got my wish later on.  As the afternoon wore on into early evening the rod tip whacked round and at last I thought this had to be a barbel.  The fish powered off to the middle of the river and then headed towards some sunken tree roots to my left.  As good as this fish felt, my heart was telling me it wasn’t a barbel.  I was right but it was a stunning mirror carp that tipped the scales at 11lb 7oz.  I was more than happy with a fish of that size and Geoff obliged with the camera.

A little later on the rod tip slammed round again and this fish surged off as strongly as the last.  Again it didn’t take long to realise this was probably another carp.  It was, a fish of around 12lbs with a lovely hue of orange to it’s flanks.  Geoff by now had moved down stream of me and had failed to entice a bite.  I had decided to stay put as this swim just looked so perfect.  I would normally move quite regularly but it seemed a good spot and perhaps I was feeling a bit lazy after a busy week at work.

12lb carp

12lb carp

By now it was around 8pm and the clouds had started to build up, they were dark and foreboding.  A few heavy rumbles of thunder resonated in the valley and a sudden flash of lightning illuminated the dark clouds.  This was the witching hour and we were reluctant to pack up early, possibly missing our best opportunity for a barbel.  The storm seemed to be moving away but as often happens in a valley, it was soon heading back as it swirled around overhead.  A massive clap of thunder almost sent me into the river in surprise and a bolt of lightning headed earthbound.  Still we stubbornly refused to go.  However Geoff now reported rain downstream.  I was still dry but felt it was best to call it a day.  Just 10 minutes later the biggest clap of thunder I’ve heard in a while detonated directly overhead and the skies opened.

The rain was torrential.  It hammered down, with great blobs of rain splashing mud in all directions.  Luckily I had already just about packed up.  I threw on the rucksack, grabbed the rest of the gear and beat a hasty retreat to the protection of the dense tree cover.  Despite the cover, I was soon soaked through and stood there sopping wet waiting for Geoff.  He had quite a walk ahead of him but soon appeared.  A bedraggled figure, dripping wet and looking thoroughly miserable.  We were soon back at the car and heading home.

It was an interesting start to the season.  The stretch certainly looks good and probably will present some great opportunities for a mixed variety of fish.  Hopefully next time a barbel or two will put in an appearance.

 

 

 

 

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There’s a lot of thrashing around in the reeds at the moment as tench and crucians get a little jiggy with it!  Yes it’s spawning time folks and the fish tend to be a little preoccupied when it comes to spawnification. 🙂

In bloom and full of spawning fish

In bloom and full of spawning fish

Nevertheless some fish have finished, whilst others are still rampant.  A sudden drop in temperatures probably wouldn’t cool their ardor either. With the thermometer dropping from about 18c or 19c to just a miserly 12c it was a bit of a shock to the system, particularly as by 11.30pm it had plummeted to about 5c or 6c.  Fortunately the SAS training kicked in and Geoff and I brushed off the inclement conditions to try for a few more crucians.

It was a good start with a small crucian coming to the net within a few minutes.  Sadly it then went quiet for a while.  However a few more followed as the evening wore on.  I was having a bit of trouble landing some of the fish.  Both the tench and crucians seem particularly aggressive fighters at the moment, tearing off at break neck speed for the reeds.  I must have pulled out of possibly 8-10 fish, mainly tench but certainly 1 crucian.

Luckily a few were subdued and I ended up with 4 crucians including a nice brace of ‘2’s at 2lb 6oz and 2lb 3oz, plus a couple of feisty tench.  As with my last visit I opted to stick to white maggots but also tried reds, firing out an almost constant trickle of bait.  The maggots were flavoured with Ocean Pride and this time I also used a small amount of OP groudbait and some crushed pellets.

As usual I was plagued with infuriating, unhittable bites.  The float would rise, dip, sway and bob.  No matter at what stage you tried to hit a bite, it failed miserably.  Without a doubt, in my opinion, some of these if not most, are line bites.  Fish moving through the swim and perhaps feeding, just pull the float around.  Sometimes a perfect sail away bite fails to connect with anything.  Its quite mind boggling really but all adds to the experience and there’s never a dull moment.

2lb 6oz Bar of Gold

2lb 6oz Bar of Gold

Geoff bagged the fish of the day; a nice crucian at a smidgen under 2lb 11oz.  Well done that man.  We are hoping that once spawning has fully finished the fishing will be electric and we’ll be there to see it.  Fingers crossed.

Just about the only virgin you're likely to see around here!

Just about the only virgin you’re likely to see around here!

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It has been a long time since I wet a line at Marsh Farm.  However now things have warmed up and spring seems to have sprung, Geoff and I felt it was time to pay it a visit again.  The set-up and MF is excellent.  They have a superb shop on site with very friendly, helpful staff, excellent toilets and secure parking.  Access to the lakes is via gravel paths and although car access is limited to disabled drivers, walking isn’t hampered by overgrown, pot-hole infested roads, like some fisheries can be.

The lakes are just coming into full bloom, with the trees, bushes, bankside vegetation, reeds and lily-pads bursting into life.  The wildlife is a buzz of activity with all manner of waterfowl and other bird life to be seen.  There has been many a time when I have witnessed dramatic events unfold, as crows, magpies or even herons spot small, defenseless ducklings or eggs and steal them away from under the nose of a distracted mother.  The harsh realities of nature are all too apparent when you spend a great deal of time in the countryside.  Luckily it is balanced and you see some wonderful sights from all manner of animals and insect life to help redress the balance.  Spring and summer are delightful times to be in the great outdoors, soaking up the sights and sounds of the Great British countryside.

The Great British Countryside

The Great British Countryside

Despite almost torrential rain throughout the previous night and pretty much all morning, the lake looked remarkably clear when we arrived.  In fact it looked pretty damn good.  As always breakfast at Broadwater Park Golf Club was excellent and set us up for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Steve and the guys in Apollo Angling on site at Marsh Farm were dishing out plenty of abuse but some great advice too.  So armed with a tub of white maggots and a few odds and sods, we were soon trudging along the path fully laden like some sort of Himalayan yak!

I opted for a swim sandwiched between some reeds.  To my left a large bed of reeds sprawled out into the lake and I could see the stems vibrating and the tops dancing around, as fish moved through them.  To my right there was a much smaller reed bed that remained fairly tight to the bank.  Well there were certainly fish here, that much was obvious.  As I stood watching, a nice tench swam past in the clear water, totally oblivious to my presence.

I trickle fed maggots into the swim after a liberal dose of Ocean Pride flavouring.  I do like to flavour maggots, it just gives them an edge.  I tackled up with my 14ft float rod, 4lb mainline on the fixed spool and a small insert waggler.  The float needs to be sensitive for crucians as they can be the finickiest of bitters.  I like a tiny bit of the float tip visible and try and hit the slightest dip.  Some days it works and some days it don’t!  They can drive you mad.  Patience is the key and expect the unexpected.  I use a couple of gripper stops to hold the float in place (with a float adapter attached) and I use a small swivel to join the mainline and hooklink.  By doing this I can mold some extra heavy tungsten putty to the set-up, without the need of using any split shot.  The reasons for this are two fold; firstly you can set the float to exactly how you want it with ease and secondly there are no split shot that can pinch the line or get caught up in the reeds or lily pads.

Today I was using a size 16 hook to accommodate two white maggots.  After spending some time plumbing the swim, I had the bait just resting on the bottom.  I fed two swims; one to the left and one to the right.  That way if one spots dries up, hopefully the other will produce a few bites.  By now it was about 4pm.  The float was flicked out and a few maggots tricked in over the top on a regular basis.  The float was gone almost instantly and a nice dark green tench was quickly landed.  It was in beautiful condition and was soon swimming back to its mates.  A few minutes later and a lovely dark bronze flank of a crucian shone in the late afternoon sunshine.  This was a much darker hue of bronze than I seem to remember from the crucians here and it looked a minter.  Not a big one; probably 1lb 8oz-1lb 12oz but beautiful to look at.  Each cast met with almost instant bites.  Sadly I missed dozens, which is not uncommon and sadly I seemed to lose almost as many as I landed.  It was quite a tricky swim and even the crucians were fighting hard, with all the fish heading straight for the sprawling reeds to my left. Luckily the combination of the right rod and reel line subdued most of the fish and I only got broken on one occasion, when a fish shed the hook and left it in the reeds.

From 4pm until 8pm I managed to land 4 crucians and 6 tench, however from 8pm until 11.30, which historically has been the most productive time, only 1 more crucian and a couple more tench put in an appearance.  Normally as the light fades crucians start to roll and become very active.  Not so tonight, at least in my swim.  Still it was a lovely mild night of around 16c and I really enjoyed my session.  Geoff had started off very slowly, I think I’d had 5 or 6 before he tempted his first fish but he ended up with about 8 tench and a crucian, after his swim eventually woke up at dusk.

Most of my fish were in A1 condition and their colours were certainly the best I think I’ve seen here at Marsh Farm.  I didn’t manage to land anything of any great size but enjoyed the ones I did land.  I’m sure we’ll be back very soon for another go at those magnificent crucians.

 

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It’s been quite a while since I last wet a line.  The end of the traditional river season was a bit of a damp squib, although I did manage a number of good sessions on the Itchen.  Since then I haven’t been that inspired by the weather conditions to venture out.  However after a 6 week hiatus I was keen to have a dabble at something, before I completely forgot how to fish!

Geoff and I decided to give it a go, even though the forecast was yet again nothing special and a cold wind was predicted.  We didn’t get to Bury Hill Fisheries until around lunchtime and after a chat with Dave Roberts in the shop, we headed over to Milton Lake.  It looked fairly busy at the fishery today, with anglers well spread out across the main lake, Bonds and Milton.  It was nice to see the trees and bushes showing signs of spring.  We can’t be too far away from a noticeable improvement in the temperatures.

We headed to the far bank and set up in a couple of adjacent swims.  After a bit of plumbing we assessed the swim depth and mixed up some groudbait.  Mine consisted of Ocean Pride groundbait mix, a dollop of glug and some micro pellets.  It was a simple as that.  Tackle was a 14ft float rod, 3lb mainline and a size 16 hook to nylon.  I used a small waggler but big enough to cope with the by now, windy conditions.  As I started to fish the wind seemed to pick up even more and I soon found myself fishing into a strong wind which was affecting the float.  Despite fishing over-depth the float was being blown into the nearside bank.  As I was targeting the crucians, I didn’t really want to sacrifice the delicate presentation by having to compensate too much for the wind.

I decided to go for a wander and soon found a nice swim tucked in next to a huge reed bed containing reeds around 6 feet tall.  This area was also out of the wind, being protected by the island opposite me.  It looked perfect.  Plumbing soon revealed the swim was around 3 feet deep, even close into the reed bed.  I started out just off the reeds and put in a couple of small balls of groundbait and a few loose maggots.  I tricked the maggots in over the next 45 minutes but couldn’t muster a bite.  I then shallowed up and tried the waggler at half depth, firing just a few maggots out constantly over the float.  I thought this might entice a few roach to take but even that failed.  By now it was gone 3pm and I hadn’t had so much as a twitch.

I decided to try tight up to the reeds, just to see if maybe they were feeding in among the stems.  It seemed they were; and at last the float slid away in a confident bite. A good thumping fight ensued and it wasn’t long before a beautiful bronze flank gleamed in the spring sunshine, as a crucian broke the surface.  At last!  I soon poked the float in right next to the reeds again and put out 2 small balls of groundbait. Again an instant result.  The float kept sliding away for the remainder of the day.  Sometimes it went quiet for a while but the fish soon returned.  I was catching crucians regularly between around 1lb to probably just shy of 2lbs.  They all looked glorious with that lovely buttery gold colouration and orange fins.  They were not all genuine crucians; a few F1’s or brown goldfish were mixed in.  The true crucians are normally easy to spot; if they are a lovely golden colour then they are likely to be genuine.  If they look brown, silver or grey then they are generally something else.

A few good tench also put in an appearance.  I ended up with 5 or 6 with a couple of good fish around the 4lb mark.  They put up a spirited fight on the light tackle and added a bit of variety to the proceedings.  By the end of the day I’d caught 24 crucians and the tench.  Geoff had started off well, taking a couple of early fish but then faded as the wind increased.  Eventually he moved in next to me and managed to winkle out a few more crucians.  I think he ended on 15 crucians a couple of tench and a nice 1lb 5oz roach.

On those occasions where the sun came out and the wind abated, it was surprisingly warm.  It does lift the spirits when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face again.  I have to say I’m really looking forward to some warmer weather now.  Obviously when it gets above about 25/26c I’ll be moaning its too hot of course!!

 

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My second trip to the river was going to be on the mighty Trent, on a section controlled by Worksop.  It’s a really nice spot and the deep water is on the near side bank, which makes a nice change.  No need to throw a 5oz feeder 3/4 of the way across the river.  Even just a rod length out in places, the depth drops to a murky 12 feet or so.  One things for sure; the fish seem to fight even harder in these depths and with a good flow a decent bend in the rod is guaranteed.

A Worksop stretch of the Trent

A Worksop stretch of the Trent

On this trip Geoff and I were joined by Kev.  He’s not in the best of health at the moment, so on those odd trips when he can join us, we are delighted to see him.  We were just having a two day trip here.  First off a visit to the local tackle shop, where I stocked up on feeders and bout 6 pints of red maggots.  With very little rain to speak of the river was still fairly clear and I thought a particle approach may pay dividends.  The best thing of all is the price of maggots here; just £2.20 per pint and if you get a gallon they go down to an incredible £1.75!

So armed and dangerous (well almost) we headed off to our stretch.  Only one car was parked and that could easily be a dog walker, so we had the whole stretch almost to ourselves.  A good recce and we each plumped for our chosen swims.  I was going for a two rod attack.  Fishing on the Trent is about the only time I fish two rods.  I prefer to concentrate on one and believe I fish much better that way.  However the Trent is a big river and I rarely find two rods a problem.  The upstream rod was going to be a big blockend feeder packed with maggots, 4 ft flurocarbon hooklink and a size 12 hook with a big bunch of red maggots.  On the downstream rod a similar set-up but with a cage feeder and coated braid hooklink and Cheese Mania 14mm double dumbbells as hook bait.  The feeder was packed with LA groundbait and 6 and 8mm caviar pellets.

The fishing over the two days proved to be fairly slow.  The first day was a mix of heavy showers and the odd spot of sunshine but very windy.  The second day the wind dropped and the skies cleared during the morning, with some cloud cover in the afternoon.  I kept changing baits but more or less stuck to the same line of attack in terms of casting.  With around 12ft of water out in front of me I opted to lob the baits out around 1-2 rod lengths out.  Any closer seemed to get snagged up more often than not.

Geoff seemed to make a good start with a bream and chub and a couple of barbel.  Just as a very heavy, squally shower started one of my rod hooped over and a very fit barbel was eventually subdued.  It looked around 8.5-9.5 but it was lashing it down and I wasn’t that desperate to confirm a weight or take a photo.  I was hoping this was the first a several more fish to come but I was sorely mistaken!  So thinking further opportunities for a photo would present itself the barbel was returned as quickly as possible and I dived back under the brolly.  That was the only barbel of the day for me, despite the conditions improving and by early evening looking really good for a fish or two.  I think Geoff lost a couple of fish and we decided to call it a day around 7.00pm.

The next morning was a little chilly at first but soon warmed up in the late autumn sunshine.  We opted for some different swims but still the fishing was a little slow.  I think Geoff once again seemed to get some action early on but suffered with fish loss as on the previous day.  Sadly Kevin also suffered a similar fate, loosing a couple of good fish to unseen snags.  I ended up swapping the maggots for a single banded 12mm caviar pellet and that seemed to help a bit.  I managed to tempt 2 barbel and a chub.  The maggots only producing a few perch and a nice looking roach.

A rather unusual blunt nose didn't stop this Trent barbel from feeding.

A rather unusual blunt nose didn’t stop this Trent barbel from feeding.

I think the final tally was three barbel and a chub for me and possibly 5 barbel and a chub for Geoff.  I’m sure he will correct me if I’m wrong.  So a little tough going but enjoyable nonetheless.  I’m certain that in the right conditions this stretch could throw up a very big barbel or two.  Time will tell.

 

 

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After a very long enforced break from fishing, I was excited at the prospect to getting back on the banks again.  A shoulder operation had prevented me from fishing for around 10 weeks, so I missed the whole of August and September, which I can tell you was very frustrating.  Every time I looked on Facebook I saw lots nice barbel and chub being banked from all over the country.  I found myself drooling more and more as each day passed.

Still at long last I felt fit enough to make my return and I was fortunate enough to be heading to the Wye above Hereford.  I love this part of the Wye.  I find the fishing is normally very prolific and also the river here cuts through some beautiful countryside.  The beats between Hereford and Hay weave their way through farmland and cows tend to be the only thing to keep you company, such is the feeling of remoteness and tranquility here.

Autumn on the Wye

Autumn on the Wye

I was due to meet Ray Pulford, fellow Team Lone Angler member, for two days fishing and I was accompanied by Geoff.  We arrived around midday and immediately headed down to the river.  It looked splendid, bathed in it’s autumnal colours.  The trees were an array of colours and hues and the leaves almost sparkled in the sunshine of late autumn.  There was still some warmth from the sun and it almost felt like summer at times.

We met Ray and after catching up we headed off to a lower part of the beat.  We ended up fishing on a beach, which is very much a common feature of the Wye.  The water gradually deepened as it reached the far bank and a noticeably deep channel ran down to the shallows a few dozen yards downstream of us.  I donned the waders and intended to spend a few hours bouncing lob worms and paste around the gully.  Geoff opted for a more standard approach, feeder fishing the far bank.  As I waded out I felt those wonderful cooling waters of the Wye flowing around me.  In the heat of the sun it was really pleasant to be in the water again, rod in hand and full of expectation.  Ooh er missus!

I was using my LA barbel rod, which despite being 1.75lb tc, is actually very sensitive and soft enough to enable you to fish with light set-ups.  It is also very enjoyable to play small barbel and chub on, which is a testament to the quality of these blanks and Trefor’s design requirements.  I was fishing 2 lob worms on a size 4 hook tied to 8lb fluorocarbon and a 10lb mainline.  There are lots of rocks and sharp edges in the Wye and you have to be sensible when it comes to lines.  My set-up also incorporated a running link leger made with the 3xssg sized shot.  These are perfect for getting the exact amount of weight required to bounce the bait around and they have the added bonus of rarely getting snagged.

I started by casting upstream and allowing the bait to almost trundle downstream.  A slight flick on the rod top often sends the bait gently moving again if it gets stuck in amongst the stones and gravel.  It didn’t take long for something to home in on those tantalizing worms.  The tip banged sharply and then started to pull round.  A swift strike met with fierce resistance as a good Wye chub headed off to the tree roots.  Steady pressure won the day and a magnificent bronzed chub was unhooked and returned safely to fight another day.  Two more soon followed and they were all of a similar size, around the 31/2-4lb mark.  Certainly not monsters but more than welcome, particularly after such a long absence from fishing.

A beautiful Wye chub

A beautiful Wye chub

A few change baits were then used, including some cheese mania paste and maggots.  Both produced results and sadly I lost what felt like a reasonable barbel.  Unfortunately that seemed to kill the swim.  I decided to walk up to see how Ray was getting on.  I found him in a rather excited mood and I’m not surprised.  He’d just caught a couple of stunning fish and was rather jubilant.  A few quick photos and a chat and I was heading back down to Geoff.  He’d had a barbel whilst I was away and then lost one.  He decided it was time for a move and so I stayed put and decided to feeder fish for the last couple of hours.   I managed to tempt a nice barbel but sadly lost a couple of others.  The day ended all too quickly but the food and beer at the local pub later that evening certainly made up for that.

Day two saw a murky almost dreary start to the day.  Geoff and I headed down to the river about 10am, Ray was already there.  Geoff wanted to try the beach again but I opted for an area that Ray had fished the day before with some success.  Meanwhile Ray was upstream on a big u-shaped bend fishing the deep water on the far bank.  The flooded waters of the Wye have gouged out a deep gully on the far bank and this has resulted in a nice glide of up to 8ft deep, which always holds a few decent fish.

Geoff in action

Geoff in action

I baited up my swim with some 10mm and 14mm Cheese Mania dumbbells and 6mm Caviar pellets.  I then left the swim to rest for an hour.  At this point in time it was overcast and so fish spotting was a bit awkward, however I could see the occasional flash of a barbel feeding in the swim.   The water was deep close in and then became quite shallow on the far bank.  It created an area of smooth, pacey water with quite a bit of weed for added cover.  The average depth was around 3ft.  Below me were quite a few large overhanging trees, offering plenty of cover.  As the sun broke through the gloom the water remained in shadow from the towering trees.

I opted for a 3ft hooklink and two 10mm cheese mania dumbbells and a blockend feeder full of 6mm pellets.   The rod hadn’t been out long when a sharp knock on the tip signaled interest.  Suddenly the tip whacked round and a really hard fighting barbel fought in the fast flow. A stunning bronzed flank was soon on the unhooking mat and was quickly returned to the cool waters of the river.  I kept the bait trickling out all day and often rested the swim for 30-60 minutes when things went quiet.   I kept swapping bait size from two 10mm to 14mm dumbbells and even a couple of caviar pellets if things went really dead.  I had steady action all day.  It was not as prolific as it can be but I did end up with 6 barbel and 7 chub, bringing my tally to 7 barbel and 12 chub over the two days.  I did manage a couple of good chub towards the end of the day.  I weighed one at exactly 5lbs and the other looked around the same size.  I couldn’t find my scales or my camera.  Luckily Ray weighed the chub for me and took some photos.  Eventually I found the camera buried in the car and later the scales, which had fallen out of a jacket pocket.

A typical dark, bronzed Wye barbel

A typical dark, bronzed Wye barbel

Just after lunchtime I had a 3 foot twitch which resulted in a very powerful barbel being hooked.  It took some time to subdue and as soon as I had the fish in the net I could see and feel it was a decent size.  I guessed it was very close to double figures but with no scales, camera or mobile phone signal, I had no means of weighing the fish.  I was a bit gutted but fish welfare comes first.  I had no real means of safely securing the fish in the net to go and get help and so back she went, none the worse for her ordeal.  Of course I’ll always wonder what she would have weighed but c’est la vie as they say.

One of the locals.

One of the locals.

So finished my long awaited return to fishing and what a glorious couple of days it had been.  Lots of fish, good company and a few laughs along the way.  It all makes for a memorable experience.  I’m looking forward to the next trip already.

 

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