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Posts Tagged ‘Wye Barbel Fishing’


Yes, what a mixture!  I had arranged to meet some of my fellow Lone Angler and Pallatrax team mates on the banks of the Wye for a few days.  However things started to look a little unlikely having suffered with a dire bout of food poisoning a few days before the trip.  Despite feeling dreadful I decided to go anyway and in all honesty suffered for that decision.

The Wye

The Wye

However I arrived around 6pm and there was Lone Angler’s team boss Jez Brown ready to greet me.  Also there was Geordie Ray Pulford and David Lidstone both Pallatrax team members.  David runs the highly successful Emperor Lakes in Devon.  After a quick chat Jez and I headed downstream and we set up the float gear to try and tempt a barbel or two.  This was a two man job to be successful.  Initially I would fish whilst Jez did the baiting.  On every trot through Jez dropped 3 or 4 LA squabs right on the float.  We were both wading and I was casting across to the other bank.  Jez’s catapult technique was a work of art and it soon paid dividends.  The float plunged under and a powerful fish fought for freedom.

I soon had a nice tally of chub under my belt including a number of fish well over 4lbs.  These are big, chunky man’s chub here on this part of the Wye and they really are impressive fish.  It didn’t take too long to hook a barbel which fought like stink, only to find it was hooked in one of it’s pecs!  It was time for a role reversal and so Jez took control of the float rod and I displayed my own expertise with the catapult!  “Well there’s no need to be rude Jez” I said.  Still despite my efforts, he was soon into a few fish including a nice 7lb barbel.

After that I dabbled with a fly rod and then a spot of freelining all with either sausage sizzle, cheese mania or ocean pride squabs.  The squabs can easily be fished directly on the hook with some careful effort and are perfect for float fishing.  The chub and barbel really seem to go for them.  Its a great way to fish and each capture is very rewarding, particularly in the flow.

The following day I was joined by my good mate Danny.  We headed downstream to fish off of a shallow beach and spend some time trotting and then moving on to feeder tactics.  We waded out to waist deep water and were soon into a few fish.  They all turned out to be good sized chub with me losing the only barbel on float tactics.  After a few hours we decided to take a rest and sit down and feeder fish.  It was incredibly warm, although overcast and the humidity was seriously draining me.  I had to retire to my tent for a couple of hours sleep.  The effects of the food poisoning were still leaving me with little or no energy and feeling generally unwell.

After a rest we fished on until around 7pm before heading off to the b&b and dinner.  The fishing had been pretty slow in all honesty.  I think I had 4 barbel and certainly a dozen chub with a couple close to 5lbs.  Danny also managed a few nice fish.  This area of the Wye is stunning and it’s just a privilege to be able to fish here.  The following day we returned and fished the top end of the beat.  We fished into a deep gully on the far bank and my rod hooped over almost immediately.  Two barbel later all went quiet.  By now the sun was up and the heat was becoming unbearable.  I wandered off and tried a few other spots before grabbing the float rod and taking a brace of 5lb chub.

The smile says it all.

Dan managed a few barbel too and a couple of chub but by around 2.30pm the sun was beating down relentlessly and I was still feeling ill, so I decided to call it a day and head the 180 miles home.  We’d had a couple of nice days in good company and I can’t wait to get back but hopefully after we’ve had some decent rain and a drop in temperatures.

 

 

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The final stages of our annual Wye trip were drawing to a close.  With two more beats to fish we were still hopeful of some serious action.  The next session was on a beautiful day ticket section downstream of a WUF water.  It was an interesting beat.  The top end was fairly fast flowing over gravel and streamer weed, with some nice deepish runs.  Then as the river flowed downstream, it slowed in pace and became almost still but very deep in places.  Still lots of weed throughout the stretch and finally the river shallowed quite considerably but there was a very deep gulley on the nearside bank which caused the water to gush down in a boiling torrent straight into a bend before smoothing out again below the beat.  Thick weed seemed to completely cover the shallow gravels here and was a popular spot for the swans, ducks and a few drunken canoeists!  Yes it seemed that the hillbillies from Deliverance were alive and well and canoeing for a new hobby.  Cue banjos, squealing and pigs.  Luckily the vast majority of canoeists on the Wye and thoroughly nice, decent and considerate people but you do get the odd numpty but then the same could be said for anglers of course!

A drunken Wye Canoeist

A drunken Wye Canoeist

We started out at the top end of this very picturesque beat, having met and been shown the stretch by the river-keeper Stan.  There were horses all along the stretch and it seems that the owner is a famous race horse trainer and even had the Grand National winner a few years back.  The horses were fairly skittish until we made friends with a few and then of course they don’t leave you alone.  They were magnificent animals and added to the charm of this delightful beat.

I ended up on a croy, fishing out to some clear gravel set amongst thick streamer weed.  There is something very satisfying about feeling a lead or feeder hit clean gravel, especially if its amongst some thick weed.  You just feel so much more confident of a bite.  I had a reasonable depth and it was one of the nicest swims I think I have fished on the Wye.  The croy crept some way out into the river and I had unimpaired views both up and downstream of this amazing river.  With buzzards screeching overhead in that haunting way that they do, as they whirl high above on the thermals, kingfishers hurtling past and a vast array of wildfowl, it proved to be a pleasant distraction from the fishing.  That was just as well because despite the simply perfect looking swims that we all fished, we couldn’t buy a bite.  This was of course pretty much the theme of the week, so we wasn’t put off by the lack of action.

We kept moving and trying different swims, even the deep and sluggish water of the middle section, but all to no avail.  Stan was on hand a number of times throughout the day to lend a hand but even three regulars had struggled to get any action, with just two fish between them.  That at least made us feel a bit better, we weren’t as useless as we thought…?!  I decided to take a stroll, well hobble really, as I had done my big toe in.  It wasn’t gout, just where I had been pushing the toe up against my shoe for a long period of time and it had started to swell up and became very painful.  I’ve had this before where its actually gone sceptic and I’ve been forced to take a hot needle to the swelling and drain out the….well you get the picture.  So anyways I hobbled down to the start of the fishery and discovered a chap in the boiling, fast water swim.  He’d had 11 or 12 fish.  It was interesting to just chat and watch him fishing in this torrent of water.  He missed a few bites and then lost a barbel, so I left him in peace, especially as he’d had to put up with the 10 or so drunken youngsters in the canoes peeing and drinking on the shallows just in front of him earlier.

I wandered back up to the boys and we decided to call it a day, fishless once again.  The guy below appeared to be packing up too and by the time we had loaded the car, he had gone.  It was too good an opportunity to miss and so we headed down to the swim.  We shared a rod and were soon into our first barbel, which unfortunately snagged me and came off.  I then caught a lovely fish of about 6 or 7lbs and promptly lost another 4, all shedding the hook.  Kevin managed two and lost several and Geoff also got in on the action with a 100% success rate; 1 cast 1fish.  We decided to call it a day as food and drink beckoned.

The next day was hot, the sun beating down in a relentless blaze of heat.  Hats on and shade very much the order of the day.  We were heading to another new beat and looked forward to some exploring.  On arrival we walked the stretch to see what was what.  Shallow, weedy water seemed to be the mainstay here but with a deep near bank channel in places.  The channel had a really good flow and looked very tempting.  I found a nice spot but soon discovered that the gulley wasn’t as deep as I thought.  Still, it looked enticing and so a few bait droppers of hemp and pellet went out and the swim was rested for an hour.  Four and a half hours later and the tip hadn’t registered a single tap, let alone anything that closely resembled a barbel bite.

Kev waits for the wrap round - Wye June 2013

Kev waits for the wrap round – Wye June 2013

So it was time for a move.  I headed upstream and dropped into a slightly shallower and less pacey swim with a weedbed in front of me and overhanging trees just downstream.  It looked pretty good and I thought well worth a go.  However again a couple of hours passed and the lack of action and heat forced me to go and sit in the shade for a while.  Geoff had also just moved into a swim and both Kevin and I helped him with his gear.  I can’t believe I had missed this new swim because it looked absolutely perfect.  It was around 5′ deep, clean gravel bottom but with weed 3/4 of the way across and a lovely smooth and fairly pacey flow.   One look said ‘barbel’ .  Geoff was soon set-up and the feeder and bait were out mid-river.  The knocks and taps started straight away.  I think this is always a good sign and these sharp, quick bangs are often barbel not chub.  Soon the rod wrapped round and a beautiful, immaculate barbel was in the net.  Several more followed.

I headed back to my swim for a while to give it one final go.  Not long after casting out, the rod tip banged and dragged round.  The culprit put up one hell of a fight.  After several attempts to get it near to the net, only for this powerhouse of a barbel to surge off on another amazing run, I began to realise this was a really good fish.  It looked long, long enough to be a nice double.  Eventually I netted my prize and left it resting in the net for some time.  It had fought so hard it needed a good rest.  Then I weighed her in at exactly 10lbs, despite looking nearer to 11.  These fish are so lean and muscular, which is why they fight so hard.  So my first ever Wye double had been secured and I was over the moon.  It was a stunning fish and looked freshly spawned, so was soon returned and I’m delighted to say that it swam away strongly.

My first Wye double

My first Wye double

After hearing that Geoff was still catching and that he had now been joined by Kevin, I thought it only fair to share my vast experience with them by poaching their swim!  So it was a threesome, which won’t surprise our families,  as we are often refereed to as the ‘Brokeback Mountain’  brigade!  I mean, how very dare they. 🙂 So there we were like peas in a pod, all three in a nice neat line fishing this lovely run.  Soon we had all caught fish and I have to say it was an unusually sociable and entertaining way to fish.  I managed to persuade Geoff into float fishing the run for barbel and soon had the Drennan Power Float Rod in action.  However due to the wind, it was proving awkward to fish the right line on which the barbel appeared to be feeding.  Still it was great fun and Geoff managed to tempt a few chub whilst I blanked of course, well I may of had a small chub but can’t actually remember.  Damn this Senile dementia.

Peas in a pod

Peas in a pod

So we left perhaps a little disappointed with the slow fishing, but in all honestly the scenery, stunning beats, wildlife and company is what makes these trips so enjoyable and long may they continue.

 

 

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