Already the scenery was taking hold of me and I was soon losing myself in the setting that was to be my home for the last two days of the season.A friend of mine is a regular visitor to these parts so I'll admit now that a few pointers had been gained on where to try for my first Wye barbel (thanks Rich, I owe you one). Working in a tackle shop has its advantages too, during the week a few guys had ventured in who were Wye bound as well and had bought maggots by the gallon so all aspects were covered , also Rich and two companions had angled there the weekend leading up to my visit and had a good few fish between them, all this was giving me a right old buzz but would it be kind enough to end what has been a tough year on my homeland Ouse?
The plan of attack was to be maggot by day and swap to the pellet just before dark, 70gm feeders, 3ft of 8lb maxima as hooklinks leading to a size 14 hook with a single hair rigged imitation maggot and 3 or 4 on the hook itself. Swims were chosen and by 10am we were finally settled and angling.
The first job was to put six big feeders full of grubs out and let them sit while I tackled the rods up. With this now complete, they were soon out there and I poured a Brew from the flask, relaxed with a smoke and took in my surroundings.
Just after my first sip of tea the right hand rod pulled down and was away!! Soon enough my first Wye barbel was in the net and with a weight of 9lb 10oz I was one happy chappy.
A second cast of both rods was made and once again I didn't have to wait long and was I was soon holding fish number two of 9lb 5oz! Two casts and a pair of nines, I remember thinking to myself " this ain't right".
Just as I was resting the fish up in the margin Steve shouted me to say he'd also got one on.
After sorting both fish out and with calmness restored another coffee was poured to replace the cold offering
that was left of the first sample.
9lb 5ozWe continued to fish the maggot approach till roughly 5pm before swapping over to the pellet approach just as the light was fading in the valley.
Up to this point I had landed no fewer than fifteen barbel which included three nine's, 4 eights and the rest all dropped in between four pound and upper sevens! The term "having it away" could now be said!! Steve meanwhile chipped in with five fish to around the eight pound mark and it was soon noticeable that if I wound in for a while he would draw a few fish his way.
We both fished on the pellets until roughly 7pm with myself taking a further five fish to give me a total of twenty barbel and one rogue trout.
What a day we had had, knackered was an understatement and soon we were heading for the B&B a couple of miles back up the road, where a pint or two and a bit of grub would be devoured whilst discussing the days events.
Sleep came easy and soon we were up complete with aches and pains from a head cold and the previous days bank climbing (in the next life I'm coming back as a goat!!).
A full English and a pot of tea set us up for the day and after a quick shower we were soon heading back to the river.
We had our minds set on trying some different swims just because it would be nice to, rather than head straight back to where we were the previous day but if we failed then we could maybe use them as a plan B.
Deep down I wanted Steve to get amongst a few more, not that he was complaining, he was happy and we'd both agreed that if we could catch just a couple more then it would be a bonus.
We finally settled on a couple of swims downstream just above the next shallow run, it looked in all honesty good for a bite, but after two hours of maggot all we could show for our effort was another small trout and a salmon par which both fell to Steve's rods while I had nothing more than a couple of sharp tugs which developed into nothing.
The decision was then made to move back up river and as long as they were vacant to fish the swims from the previous day and this time Steve dropped in the going swim and I settled in above him.
It took a while to get going but soon he was away and landing a few and also dropping a couple off!
I only landed one of about seven pound and then decided to ditch the static rods and swap over to rolling some garlic meat about all to no avail but the pleasure was had.
Steve added a further five fish to his tally, which included a couple of upper eights and at 4pm we decided to call it a day. We were both tired and had the journey back to overcome and decided to try and get as far back towards home before the rush hour traffic took hold.
The Wye had been good to us, the trip itself was a total pleasure, 31 barbel between us but not just the fish, the scenery, surroundings and the company was second to none and we will definitely return.
The river season has now closed for another term and I for one will be having the odd go on a couple of waters in search of maybe a nice sized perch, roach or even a a tench. Whatever floats your boat in the coming 3 months whilst the flowing waters are shut then enjoy and be lucky.