Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pleasure and Pain

Three of us headed back to the Wye for one of our away weekends. Always highly anticipated affairs, tackled with abundant enthusiasm. Past failures, of which there are many, are always banished into distant memory.

The Wye is a cracking river. No doubt about that. Prolific and tough in equal measures though. Bag yourself a certain known peg on the stretch we fish and you're pretty much guaranteed barbel action. It's actually too easy and is generally reserved by the host for those seeking their first barbel thrill.

Everywhere else on the stretch is generally tough going, particularly if you don't get conditions in your favour. And once again they weren't! Low and gin clear. 

I made a right hash of day one. For the entire morning I'd built up a bed of bait mid-river, but nothing was happening. It was only when the sun poked out briefly and I stood up high on the bank, that I could see my error. The river was incredibly shallow right out to half way. I felt I needed to be half as far out again.

The switch proved to be an instant hit. Not for me though, but for Brian on the next peg who'd also decided to go for a longer chuck. A barbel of 5lb+ was later joined by one of 7lb 6oz. The latter almost resulting in the garrotting of some female canoeists who turned up at an inopportune moment. Fortunately they were polite and took the advice to change course, while the barbel was retrieved.

Destined to see my net a day later!
At the back end of the day I eventually bagged one myself. A fish of 7lb 11oz. Charlie, furthest upstream, managed a couple of juveniles.


The weather had been wet for much of the day and a final soaking just around packing up time, pretty much summed it up. In fairness we were happy that for once we'd all had barbel on day one. We retired to the pub.

Day two kicked off with a 5-30am rude awakening. Not an alarm call, but Charlie over-reaching and falling out of his bed head first into the side of my bed! Travelodge rooms are cosy if nothing else!

The weather was better and after much pondering and dithering (I accept much of the blame for that!), we plumped for the same area, with me and Charlie switching swims. An early Barbel for me proved to be false hope and no more were seen all day. It was actually one of the fish seen a day earlier - the 7lb 6oz fish caught by Brian (it had a distinctive well healed scar).

Blanks were reported along most of the length and even the banker peg had only thrown up one fish. Tough going.

I'll return of course. It's too nice a place to simply walk away from. A rest and a change is probably required though, as we've suffered many a beating down there now. I'm investigating options on the Trent for a future weekender. An autumn day trip to suss it out is on the cards.

Back locally, I planned a short evening Anker trip in a last desperate bid to break my river tench duck for the season. While de-barbelising my gear to an altogether lighter approach, I stumbled on an unlabelled rod tube. I thought it was a 3 piece float rod that I rarely use, but instead it was a brand new general purpose rod I'd forgotten all about.

It's nothing special, but I bought it a while back purely because it has a screw thread at the top for taking a swing tip. It's a method I'd never tried before and although a little old hat and unfashionable, I just fancied trying it. 

Looks broken?
Firstly, I can see why quiver tips are more popular, but in all honesty I found the swing tip to be OK. The sensitivity is where it scores highest. I broke my swinging duck with a big drop back bite. Not a tench, but one of the many old warrior slabs that inhabit the stretch. This one had just one eye and was about average stamp at 6lb 4oz.


I chopped and changed methods but couldn't entice anything else of note. Just a few roach and perch. A very frustrating session actually, as I'd baited up fairly heavily and had the fish fizzing over the feed.


With Autumn now upon us, things should hopefully start to pick up on the river. After last year's heavily curtailed season, I won't make the mistake of leaving it too long to break out the predator gear. 

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