We arrived on Sunday afternoon – Merv driving, Chris and I gabbling about the football match the evening before (Saints won 3-1 at Chelsea. We had much to discuss).
The river was busy on a sunny weekend afternoon, but we took a stroll and soon left the crowds. There would be no casting until the morning but we soon found the place where we had to begin. A croy stationed below a long straight where the low river picked up pace as it neared a natural weir.
It looked ever so good – and what’s more, it looked perfect for float fishing. Merv left Chris and I to fight it out in the morning, and wandered further downstream. In no time I had lost three hooks to the perils of the Wye and paused to lick my wounds.
Chris persevered on the float, and after a couple of hours of steady fishing hooked a barbel. It was a lovely fish that we had to weigh. And at 6lb 9oz made for a perfect start.
I left Chris to work some more magic and carried on downstream, finding Merv (who had caught a nice trout) and settling into a new swim. I built the swim steadily, but for a couple of hours the only excitement came from a friendly hornet who took a definite shine to me. Must be my manicured nails.
As the rain came I abandoned my considered small bait and steady feeding approach and tied on a size 6 hook which I buried in a big lump of bacon grill. Within ten minutes the line tightened and I had my first Wye barbel. At 7lb 4oz I was delighted, but not as happy as Chris who had gone on to take a further three.
Tuesday dawned grey and wet, and Merv set up in Chris’ swim of Monday – determined to have a fish before we inevitably barged him out of the way. I spent three hours failing to prove that a perfect perch swim was such, before heading downstream where I joined Chris in a pacier piece of water.
We rolled big lumps of meat through the gullies and the rocks and each had a brace of chub before losing a barbel – Chris’ fish an absolute monster.
Adam Fisher, from Angling Dreams, popped down to see how we were faring and was delighted to have put us on some fish. In fact, we were inadvertently fishing one of his most favourite swims.
The bats massed as the sun slipped behind the treeline – Chris had another brace of chub, while I pressed hard for a barbel. The bite was distinct when it came, but I hadn’t given a thought to my hook – the point of which I found folded over as I reeled in having lost the fish.
Another cast (with a new hook) brought another bite within moments and this time the point stayed true. What a fight and what a fish – not my biggest barbel by but far and away the most perfect. A tail as deep as the span of my hand and every scale edged in deep oak brown.
The scales read 10lb 2oz and though I was discover the camera flash didn’t work (the picture here is of one of Chris’ fish the day before), the memory of that barbel will stay far longer as a result.
I dashed in the dark to find Merv, who had fished hard for nothing in the Croy swim, I urged him to cast in my swim before we headed for home and he did. A 5lb 4oz chub the perfect end to a quite wonderful couple of days.