Wye? I’ll Tell You Why

As I eat up the miles on the M4 heading for the Welsh boarders, my mind slowly clears of work distractions and fills with thoughts of hard fighting barbel. My destination today is to be the River Wye, to a section I have not set eyes on before. The fact I have not fished this particular stretch before doesn’t worry me, as I have yet to discover a spot on this magnificent river that has disappointed.
As the car approaches the river’s valley and the lanes narrow, my spirits are lifted higher when I spot an early morning Pheasant, hedge hopping. I slow to take in the surroundings, my GPS tells me I am close to my destination. This is confirmed as I see her meandering through the fields to my right.

I pull into the car park and look down the field to the river that is a short walk away.

Looking Down The Field To The River

As I unpack my tackle from the boot of the car I am conscious of travelling light. When approaching a section of river for the first time there is often a lot of walking involved and it pays to be selective of essential items only. One of these is a flask full of tea and after walking down to the rivers edge it is time to pour a cup.

The River Wye

The previous day, Storm Doris had blown through and deposited what must have been a large quantity of rain on the Welsh hills as the river was swollen and pacy.

Tackle for the day was a 4oz cage feeder (to hold in the flow), 3ft fluorocarbon hook link, size 8 barbless hook along with my trusty 1 3/4lb barbel rod and 4000 size reel spooled with 10lb breaking strain Gardner Hydro Tuff line. Bait was to be hair rigged pellet and softened pellet in the feeder.

Casting out for the first time gave me a good idea of how strong the flow was, and it was clear from the off that I would need to find a more sheltered spot that offered an opportunity for the feeder to hold. Often some dead weed or debris would pull the feeder out of position and you would see large trees floating quickly past you. 

Trees Coming Down The River

After about two hours a local dog walker mentioned that the river was about 3 metres up on normal levels and that was after falling 2 metres from the day before. This offered some encouragement as I realised that the level was still falling. With falling water levels, there appeared to be reduced flow, meaning better presentation and after a short wait from a recast the rod tip registered a bite.

8lb Barbel

The fight was just what I have come to expect from a Wye barbel and after a spirited battle I slid the net under a pristine fish of 8lb.

As the water level dropped further, this first fish was followed, in the next two hours by fish of 5lb 8oz and 6lb 7oz. 

5lb 8oz
6lb 7oz

The Wye does what it does best, and that is, deliver the goods with stunning scenery and hard fighting fish. You may ask, why travel so far to fish for a few hours? Do I really need to answer that?

Fishing – Jamaican Style

A recent holiday in Jamaica gave me the opportunity to try something I hadn’t experienced before – Deep Drop fishing Jamaican style.

A mornings fishing was booked and I was looking forward to it. Speaking to the captain the night before, he suggested that we try trolling lures for Marlin, Kingfish and Barracuda as he had found a weed-line 6 miles out and the fish would be there!

Settting off from Montego Bay at 6am the sun was just coming up.

Montego Bay sunrise

The captain set his course in the direction of Cuba. We were on the lookout for signs of fish, typically birds diving or weed lines. It wasn’t long before we found sea birds diving and did a pass through the area with the trolling rods. But no luck.

Feeding birds raised our hopes
What seamed like halfway to Cuba we found the weed-line.

The weed-line was found
Typical lure used
A teaser was also used

Anyway, the long and short of it is that we had two chances; both screaming ‘takes’ ended with fish falling off within seconds. Jamaican’s don’t get too upset by these setbacks and tend to go into chill mode, so when in Jamaica…..

Chill Out – ‘Yeah Mon’

A chilled out captain suggested we revert back to the first plan which was deep drop fishing. This is basically dropping a bait over the edge of the boat 300m below. The rods are jerked up and down to attract a fish to bite. When you get a bite the hook is set and you then let technology take over. The reels are fitted with small electric motors to get the fish up quickly, otherwise it would take ages. The reels get the fish up to a point where you eventually take over and play the fish for the last 10m or so.

Deep Drop reel packed with technology

This is fishing Jamaican style and not what I expected. But I did mange a few Red Snapper.

Red Snapper fish Jamaican style
Sit back strap in and haul

Seven hours later I was back on dry land looking forward to a cold beer. I have to say that although I didn’t get that Marlin the whole experience was very enjoyable, while catching the Red Snappers saved the blank. It was certainly a memory I will not forget quickly. Thanks to Captain Martin and his crew.

Hello and Welcome

My name is Cliff and I have finally decided to blog about my fishing exploits.

Making this blog will help me categorise my fishing trips and photos, making it easier for me to refer to them in the future. It will also enable me to share my experiences with others and hopefully learn something along the way.

Back soon…