Posts Tagged ‘Sugwas Court’

The late nights and early mornings certainly take their toll and the fresh air and sunshine seem to add to the morning lethargy. Throw in three blokes all trying to shower, make flasks and sandwiches, sort out tackle etc. etc. first thing in the morning and its not difficult to see why we never get fishing until lunchtime. Mind you we also like to stop for a nice cooked breakfast somewhere too.

On this 4th day of our trip we would be heading above Hereford, so it was a good opportunity to drop into Woody’s after breakfast first. We restocked a few provisions like feeders and after a chat with the man himself, we headed off to our destination for the day. It took us a while to find the stretch but once we were bankside we were greeted with one of the most stunning sections we’ve ever fished. The great thing was the variety of water on offer from deep water and shallow gravels to deep bends and gullies. We even had some lovely deep glides on the nearside to fish and with waders we could do a lot of trotting if we wished.

We spent some time walking the banks and admiring the views and also the isolation of this place. You could stop and listen and all you could hear was birdsong and the occasional canoeist. It was amazing. After a long recce we all had a spot or two in mind to fish. Geoff headed off downstream to fish the deep gravel margins. Large overhanging trees offered dark shadowy cover for the fish. It looked perfect. Meanwhile Kevin and I fancied an area just down from a horseshoe bend where the shallow weedy water dropped into a deep gully on the far bank. Once again there were lots of bankside cover and an almost sheer cliff face opposite where large trees and bushes offered cover to the resident barbel and chub.

I opted for the usual practice of feeder and pellet hookbaits. I varied them as I had all week, from double 12mm or 8mm pellets to single banded ones. If the bites slowed up and I thought fish were present (often receiving sharp short knocks on the rod top indicate barbel not just chub) then I would change tactics and alter the bait presentation. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. A couple of friends were fishing a particularly productive beat recently and were really struggling for bites. I suggested they use two very small elips pellets on the hair, the smaller the better. The change was as instant as it was dramatic. They ended up catching a shed load of barbel that day, so it’s worth making the effort and changing if you feel you should be doing better than you are.

The deep gully ranged from around 8ft down to about 4ft for about 10-15 yards. It was a little snaggy but when aren’t there some nasty snags on the Wye. It can be a tackle graveyard sometimes. Kevin waded out and fed his top area of the swim with some bait whilst I dropped the feeder out on a regular basis to keep the bait going into my bit. Kevin was in almost instantly but the barbel headed into something nasty and the hooklink was severed about halfway up. He soon had a chub on and things were looking good.

I had settled for the shallower area downstream a few yards. Bites were slow coming but soon the rod top whacked round and a stunning barbel was landed. The fish here are a very good average size and the colours are fabulous. The chub are real bruisers too; thick set and strong with a really good average weight. Soon I was catching chub and barbel quite regularly. Kevin lost another barbel and was catching the odd chub. Geoff also reported success with several good sized barbel and chub coming from his area. He decided to stick it out there all day and ended up with a number of chub and 4 barbel.

At the end of the day I had taken 18 barbel to 8lb 8oz and maybe a dozen chub to nearly 5lbs. Kevin seemed to be very unlucky loosing a number of barbel but he did eventually manage 1 or 2 and plenty of chub. We swapped around to make it fair but Kevin was reluctant to give up on his swim without giving it everything. It was strange that there weren’t more fish in his deeper area; they all seemed to be just a few yards further down in the shallower bit I was fishing. Still we’d had a wonderful day and felt very privileged to have fished such a stunning venue. I’m really looking forward to exploring this section again through the summer, there’s just so much to go at here.

On Friday we were fishing Sugwas Court which again is above Hereford, so another trip to Woody’s was in order after a good, hearty breakfast. We have fished here once before with limited success. Kevin fished an area Woody had suggested but we struggled to find the deep gully mentioned. Geoff and I just went for a wander and found a couple of swims that looked good. Geoff moved a few times during the day and I had picked a second swim to fish, if the first failed to produce with an hour or two. I think if you haven’t had any indication within about an hour on the Wye you are better off moving. If the fish are there you’d know about it within that time frame to be honest.

I had found a really deep marginal swim. Above me was a much shallower area that then dropped down to around 6-7 feet with trees to my right. I started off fishing downstream but that failed to produce any knocks within the first 30 minutes and so I opted to fish upstream to the edge of the overhanging trees. The result was almost instant and after maybe 2-3 minutes the rod top whacked round. The result was a barbel just under 8lbs and another followed almost immediately after. Geoff and Kevin hadn’t had much action but at least knew the barbel were feeding.

I stuck with this swim for the remainder of the day. The fishing was slow but followed a strange pattern almost without fail. I would get two bites together within around 5 minutes of each other and then it would go quiet for some time. Sadly I lost a number of fish but ended up landing 9 really nice barbel. Geoff had a few and Kevin a couple of fish too. Part of me wanted to walk up to the second swim to fish which involved wading downstream to enable me to fish a deeper run. Still I’d caught a few fish and left quite happy.

Normally we would be heading home on the Saturday morning but all three of us were taking part in Andrew Poole’s ‘Bag a Barbel Let’s Beat Cancer charity event at Wyelea over the weekend. A report on that will follow.


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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!



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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