Late update this one, as it’s about the week on the Wye that Andy and me spent on the Wye back in September, trying to catch a few barbel.
The journey down kinda set the scene for the week, as it rained heavily throughout the journey. Having arrived in Ross, where we were staying for the week, we then spent ages trying to find the tackle shop in order to get info on day ticket waters. Eventually we found it tucked away behind the high street. Options for day ticket waters seemed limited, so we decided on fishing a stretch downstream of Ross. The sat-nav managed to confuse me, and we had a nightmare of a roundabout drive before eventually locating the venue. With the river being very low and clear anyway, this section was sluggish and not very barbel-looking. I suspect it would be better with a foot or two of water on it. We blanked.
Monday’s rain did nothing to add extra water to the river, so once again we had to contend with low, clear conditions on Tuesday. But we switched to a stretch upstream of Ross that we’d seen before, and looked more “barbelly”. Rather stupidly, we decided to ignore the “flyer” that we were aware of and try other swims. Andy found a few small chub, but I had nothing. In the afternoon, I decided it was time to give the flyer a go. This involved a long cast right across the river, and I began bombing a pellet/groundbait feeder out there. After an hour or so, the rod top nodded sharply down, then dropped back as a fish made off with the bait. A few minutes later I had a lively 6 pounder in the net.
This was shortly followed by another barbel, this one being a new Wye PB of 9.09. Strangely, it hardly fought at all, which slightly took the edge of the new PB. A third barbel followed later, this one going around 4lbs, but it did put up a spirited battle. I lost another fish after this to a line break.
Wednesday saw us a little downstream, where we located some interesting looking swims, where the all the flow and depth was in the nearside. Very quickly I was into a barbel, and very quickly I was out of a barbel as the hooklink unexpectedly parted. But at least it showed that the swim choice was good. Or did it? I remained biteless for the rest of the day, as did Andy. Because the main flow was being channelled down the inside, it also pulled a lot of floating weed through the swims, and even though we were fishing no more than a rod length or so out, this weed was a persistent nuisance. In the afternoon, it started to rain and didn’t lay off until after we’d returned to the lodgings, by which time we were nicely soaked.
On Thursday, we returned to the stretch that we fished on Tuesday. Andy fished in the flyer while I started a bit downstream of him. The morning passed uneventfully, so I switched to another swim in the afternoon. Things began to liven up then, as Andy started to catch. He started off with his first-ever Wye barbel – a feisty fish of 6.11.
I’d only just got back from photographic duties when another text arrived informing me that he’d had a much bigger fish. This one went 9.15 on Andy’s scales and 9.10 on mine, so we couldn’t quite make it a “double”, but nevertheless it was a fine fish. Andy said that it had hardly fought, which, given the proximity of weights, made us think it may be the same fish as the one I caught on Tuesday. However, having studied the photos, I think they are different fish. He had two more barbel after that, a 7.01 and an 8.10.
Meanwhile, my swim switched on in late afternoon, producing a 5 pound barbel, followed by two small chub and finally another barbel of 8.04. Annoyingly, it had started raining again by now, so just when we’d got all our gear dry from the previous day, it all got wet again. But overall the best day of the week, with six barbel between us.
Friday saw us both in the same swims again, but this time the flyer didn’t produce for Andy, although he did lose one. Once again, my swim didn’t switch on until the afternoon, when I had a couple of chub, and finally a last-cast barbel of 8.09. And just as we’d nicely dried out from the previous afternoon’s rain, it started raining again, so that everything was soaked for the journey home.
Strangely, despite all the rain we’d had, the river remained low and clear all week, which I think didn’t help the fishing. What also didn’t help was the lack of decent venues available on day-tickets without prior booking. I think if we are to go back there for another holiday, we will need to do a bit more research prior to the visit.