An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Monday, 4 September 2017

River Wye - Double Delight

Every so often a session will come along that sticks in the memory for a while. I had opted for a change and chosen the Wye for a few evening hours in unfamiliar surroundings. It's not a river I have fished often, indeed this was only my fourth visit, with my last being over two years ago.

I arrived at the venue around 3.30pm and decided to have a look around. Although I had an outline plan in my head I am a firm believer of not being too regimental. Within 10 minutes I had a completely new approach mapped out. Greeted by a gin clear and low river together with bright sunshine, I had originally envisaged feeder fishing in the slightly deeper areas hoping the darker pools would offer sanctuary. However, my walk found me drawn to the shallow, weedy areas. Although only a few feet deep, I found myself bewitched by the beds of ranunculus weed that stretched as far as  the eye could see. It hypnotically waved with the current revealing clean gravel runs and was convincing enough for me to settle confident a fish or two would be hiding amongst it. With this decision came a new approach. If I was fortunate enough to hook a fish then the weed would create a barrier with regard to landing it successfully. Therefore, the feeder was ditched. I didn't want a heavy feeder dangling about and creating an obvious snagging point. Instead I would fish a straight lead of 3oz together with PVA bags which would deposit enough pellets to hopefully entice a barbel or chub to forage and find my hookbait, which began as two 8mm Dynamite Source pellets on a size 12. The other decision came in the shape of fishing upstream. Firstly, there appeared to be a slightly deeper area upstream but I also hoped any hooked fish would hopefully drop downstream with the flow and therefore not see me trying to drag it against the weed. Going with the flow so to speak made it pretty painless.

10lb 11oz - A great start
I made my first cast just after 4pm. After 15 minutes or so I reeled in having received no obvious interest. I changed the hook bait to two regular 8mm halibut pellets and again cast mid-river to my chosen area. The bait had hardly been in the place for a minute or so when a thud on tip resulted in a definite drop back. I took up the slack and struck into my first barbel of the session. It felt a decent fish in the strong current. By now it had dropped directly in front of me and I was keen to keep the rod high and the fish moving to prevent it from getting snagged. I caught a glimpse of the fish in the clear water and was able to watch it as it eased ever closer. Steady pressure got it under the rod tip where it made several lunges for the main current. Eventually the fish was netted. It looked a nice fish but most Wye barbel tend to be in the 4-7lb class and although it looked slightly better than that I was not expecting what lay in the folds of the net. As the fish was laid onto the unhooking mat I knew instantly that I had landed my first Wye double. The scales soon confirmed this with a reading of 10lb 11oz. It was a beautifully conditioned fish with its golden flanks glistening in the September sun and had plenty of room for further growth. What a start after 25 minutes of fishing. My first Wye double!  Another barbel came to the next cast albeit of the more expected proportions. The next few casts saw me admiring the surroundings. Much has been written about the beauty of the Wye Valley and with the sun beaming down there was nothing to dispute this. A lone buzzard soared above the far bank woodland. The water glistened and sparkled as the odd strand of weed broke surface every so often. It was truly a moment of contentment.

I finished with 7 barbel in a frantic 4 hours or so
Half an hour passed without me even noticing. I reeled in twice to find my bait gone, probably from small fish, so I changed to a boilie which I find a bit more robust. I broke a few bits off to make an irregular shape and off I went again. By 8.30 it was almost dark. I had manged seven barbel. Most in the 6-7lb mark although two were probably around 8lb. Despite fishing a heavily weeded area, I suffered no tackle loss and only lost one fish to a hook pull. Even better was the small amount of bait I used. Although I had packed 6 pints of hemp, corn, pellets and boilies my total for the session was a few 8mm pellets, 2 boilies and the contents of around 15 PVA bags. Who says you need loads of bait to catch barbel? I was obviously fortunate to have stumbled upon them so bait was not required to draw fish to me. It proved just how important location is as well as not turning up with preconceived ideas. Had I stuck with my original plan I would have no doubt struggled with maybe a fish as the light faded. However, the main lesson I learned was not to ignore this majestic river for so long. There are few better places to spend a few hours catching fish.

My first Wye double


  1. Great catch Lee! Congratulations on the double too.

  2. Wye doubles are a rare thing congratulations Mr Poultney Sir

  3. Any Wye double is a special fish, well done Lee on a brilliant session.