Down the Wye

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Jun 18, 2020
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Powerlines to the left of me
Phonelines to the right
Here I am with no barbel!

First day on the Wye, first day on a river coarse fishing for about 20 years odd. Amusingly when I was a kid I used to fish the Kickles Farm stretch of the Ouse as it was very near to my house. So while I've never targeted Barbel before I've apparently fished a big barbel water. I had no idea then either that it was such a famous place. I don't recall ever catching anything much from their either, mostly small perch from what I remember. Anyway, it was a lovely day, nice and cold, with the mist rising off the river. I managed to get down there fairly early. Met another angler in the car park, who'd used it to kip in, he was fishing further up the river as he couldn't get a ticket for my stretch (the club have stopped selling memberships this year).

First problem, the river bank is rather solid and I couldn't get a rod rest in for the life of me. Eventually managed to get one in about 5cms, then piled rocks around it to make it stay in place. I can see why people use tripods for rivers. Going to have to look around for one. Managed to find enough space for my camping chair and everything else fitted in a waterproof duffel that I have for camping.

After that managed to rig up my nice and simple feeder rig, soaked up the pellets (first time for that as well) got them stuck in to the 90 gms feeder and without too much thought chucked it into the middle of the river. No photos as my phone had decided not to charge up. So to be honest, I sat there watching the tip and time just whipped past. I had vaguely assumed that the pellets would fall out the feeder quickly so after about 20 minutes, I decided to recast to put some more bait in the swim. Most of them were still there, so I packed a few more in and got it back in roughly the same place. Decided to start pinging out a few of the larger pellets that I panic bought ages ago when buying my float rod. My phone packed up the other day, so no photos, but that also meant, no messing around on my phone. Normally I can resist it but often enough I end up sitting there reading stuff on the internet. As I was pretty tired, I just sunk into a reverie watching the tip. Due to the current it was slightly curved and I kept getting these small taps which were really odd. This did get me quite excited, but they never materialised into a proper bite, which I'm told are fairly obvious. Twice either the current or something else did get the baitrunner spinning, but neither of those were bites. There was plenty of weed in the bottom of the river, I dredged quite a bit of it out each time I reeled in. The longest I left it out there was an hour and even then most of the pellets were still there.

As I'd worn my waders and some of my walking gear, I was plenty warm most of the time. Had a couple of swans and a single kayaker go past. We had a nice pleasant chat as he was battling upstream. So as there was no action, towards the end of the session, I decided to get most of the pellets into the swim, as they'd have gone to waste otherwise. I'd hoped it might get me a bite. Nope just lots of little taps. By this time another guy had setup above me with the aim of catching small stuff and he was, lots of minnows. Which I'd guess was the taps for me. By this time work was looming, so I packed up and wandered home. It was a lovely session and I got some good tips on better pegs and when the river level is best from the other angler. Pity I blanked, but I learned a lot and it's a lovely place to spend a few hours.

Probably the most annoying thing was that when I got the feeder back in I noticed it was broken. Thankfully some Korum flat leads have just turned up, so hopefully they won't die as easily and they might hold better on the river bed. I think the feeder was sliding a bit. I might need to go up to a 120 gms feeder?
 

Zerkalo

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Enjoyable write up and several things I can relate to there. Nice one.

The small taps on the rod tip that keep you on your toes and watching the tip. The beautiful sight of mist rising on the river. And pellets staying in the feeder. Sometimes I want them to stay in the feeder just to leave a scent trail, but it's nice to have some bait out there too so then I just don't squeeze them in very hard and they seem to come out then. Better luck next time, hope you enjoy your Barbel journey.
 
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Thanks Zerkalo. Good tip about the feeder, thank you.

On the Wye again today. Things were a bit tough really, got out of the door late. Got stuck in traffic so was even later. The river was quite high, so where I'd been sitting when it was at 1m was totally underwater. After searching the whole beat (more time lost!) I found that the best swim was actually the first one. Eventually settled in to about an hours fishing. Hoping that the fish might be close in I just piled a load of bait in close to the bank, dropped the feeder in again and waited. Unsurprisingly nothing much happened. It was about 2.2m when I got there and was about 2m when I left. Probably not much point being there if it's much higher. Unless it's about 3.5 meters, then the river will be pretty close to the main bank, so that's probably ok. But that's probably just too high in general. So for now, I'm trying the lots of bait approach, so today that was a tin of sweetcorn, 1kg of groundbait and a load of pellets.
 

Lee Richards

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Look to go the other way with a rising or heavy river and feed less but use big hook baits. I use a 1/4 tin of meat or 4 meatballs threaded on the line.
You want the fish to be forced to just take your offering where as piling it in can feed solitary fish off.
 
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Ok, I'll bear that in mind. There does seem to be two schools of thought with bait, one seems to suggest that you should put a ton in, the other is that less is more. It's quite confusing really. I was quite light with bait on the first session, but this time I thought I'd just pile it in. See what combination works. Do you just use spam? Anything else or just that? Quarter of a tin, that's about 3cms by 3cms right? Hair rigged?

Currently I'm using a krill dumbell as a hookbait. I see that you can get krill pellets, so I'll have to get some of them to mix up with them. I quite like pellets as bait, cause it's less faff and you can just buy them well in advance. Tho I do have lots of sweetcorn and spam at home as well. Again, knowing what bait to use is quite confusing.
 

Dazza80

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Oct 5, 2019
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On my local river the nene general opinion when it’s rising, coloured and flowing stronger is a single big smelly bait rather than feeding a swim, mainly due to the fact the feed your putting in is being washed way down stream so no real point, also a roving approach if multiile swims are available, an hour in each swim if no bites move on as that probably means no fish in the swim but saying that the nene has a much lower barbel population than the wye, tbh I blank most of the time barbel fishing but that’s considered quite normal for the nene, but a lot comes down to conditions and if the fish are feeding, maybe applies to the wye? Main thing is your on on the bank fishing, try not to over think this barbel fishing lark.
 
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So where I'm fishing is about 900m of bank, but it's quite hard to access a few sections, so when the water is up, you're fairly limited to where you can fish. Unless the water is seriously up, then you can fish pretty much anywhere. At the moment, it's 2.1m and there's no rain forecast between now and tomorrow morning, when I'm going fishing. So I'd hope that it'll come down quite a bit, maybe as far as 1.5m which will give me a lot more options. I'd imagine like fishing anywhere, it's definitely condition dependant.

As a big chunk o' meat seems to be the bait suggestion, I'll go with that. It'll mean much less kit as well, so I'll get everything in one small bag, which will mean I can move once an hour quite easily. Thanks for the suggestions all. Fingers crossed tomorrow will be the day.

Should I hair rig the meat?
 

Dazza80

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Personally I would as it means an exposed hook so a better hook hold if you do get a bite but you don’t have to, conditions sound good if the river is fining down, good luck.
 
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Sadly the river rather bumped up again today. I'm not used to the Wye yet, unlike the Usk, where I normally have a good idea of what's going to happen after rain. Got to the bank and it was higher than I'd expected. 1.8 on the gauge the night before and 2.3 when I got there. Must have been a lot of rain higher in the system. Oh well. Tried the meat. After about an hour of nothing decided to move up the beat. Reeled in and there's no meat. Oh well, decided to move further up. Put the meat on and cast out. Decided to check after 10 minutes if the meat was still there. Nothing. Re-baited, cast. Decided to leave it a minute and check if the bait was still on. Again, no meat. I suspect I must have wasted half of the session with no bait on. So went back to 4 of the krill dumbell things. Also upped to a 120gm lead, which meant a lot less knocks and the like. I'm now fairly sure that all the knocks in previous sessions where simply the lead being moved around by the water. It's all a learning experience. Hopefully I'll hit it sometime in the next few weeks at the right point and actually catch. Just got to keep on trucking. Also got to go lighter next time, again had a bunch of stuff I didn't use.
 

NoCarpPlease

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It's not clear where on the Wye you are fishing - I've only fished the Hereford bits (Breinton to Holme Lacy). It's certainly very different to the upper Great Ouse (where I also started out river fishing 40 years ago!).

Colour and water temperature are probably more important than the outright river level. At Hereford, you can find fishable swims with 3m on the gauge, although for matches on the Belmont stretch the better float fishing is when it's between 1m and 1.8m IME.

Easy rule of thumb - if it's low and clear, cast in to the deepest point of the swim - if it's up and coloured, drop it on the edge of the inside slack if there is one (the crease).

I'm no expert on meat fishing - but how i hook it is to push the bend through the lump of meat - turn it 90 degrees and put a small piece of dried grass in the bend to stop it being pulled through by the current.
 
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It's a club water near Monmouth. I was out again on Tuesday morning. Much lower around 1.8m and it was still very much like you said, plonk it in the crease near the bank and wait. I didn't get much fishing done, as I was requested to help out a rower who'd got into trouble higher up. He was ok thankfully. But that chewed up quite a while, so I only got about an hour in before I had to go home. The river is still falling steadily and I expect it to be much clearer now, but still a bit of colour. I've rather given up on the meat and gone back to the krill dumbells. I just couldn't get the meat to stay on at all, the flow was just too strong or I've not got the knack. Hope to be out tomorrow and Friday morning as well. Fingers crossed I'll get something soon. A chub would be very welcome now.
 

bezzer

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Our very own Danny @HALTON DANGLER recently tried his hand at Barbel fishing on the Severn and Wye. Top guy and a great angler.
He Vlogs his sessions and they're well worth a look. Lots of advice and tips.
This is one from a very wet and wild session on the Wye -

 

bettsfan

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If you were fishing Meat on the hair the hair will rip through it, try putting some tubing on the hair and thread the tubing onto the meat, it will last a lot longer ;)
 

brian carragher

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If youre struggling to keep meat on the hook use these

Specialist Bits

Tie the "stay put" to your hook length and rig it up with the knotless knot to form a hair rig and then twist the meat onto the spiral , the large ones are the best, you can adjust the hairs to any length you want before you make the knot on the shank, I like a half to three quarters of an inch as a standard gap between finished length and bottom of hook but sometimes make them up to 2 inchs if the fish are really twitchy

The meat stays on the "stay put" hair very very well, it'll surprise you just how well the meat stays on, you'll miss plenty of chub by hair rigging the meat but when barble pick it up theres no mistaking that 3ft twitch
 
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Firstly thanks for all the advice. I've now got a load of the meat screws and a bunch of other bits from that shop. I'd already watched the Carl and Alex barbel vid along with one from Guru by Dean. I'm quite happy with my tactics now, I think it's just a case of being there at the right time now.

As well as the 1.75tc Korum rod, I've got a Drennan baitrunner. Only issue with the reel is that the spool holds 90m of 12lb Maxima Chameleon, which feels a bit shallow to me. Then at the rig end I'm using a Korum bolt and run kit with a 50cms ish hook length to a size 8 kamsan (barbless) with a hair rig. Three krill dumbells on the hair rig normally. The lead is one of these flat Korum ones with a hole in the middle to mush some pellets into. Either 90g or 120g.

So session 5 and finally getting closer. Got to the river nice and early and got setup quickly. I do think that if I had a quiver I could have the rod half setup and then I'd be even quicker, which bearing in mind I've limited time, seems like a good idea. Anyway, as the river is even lower this time, the first peg now has a lovely large platform exposed. I was planning on moving up the beat hour at a time as per previous suggestions. Anyway, got the rig out into the river fairly quickly. Now normally I spend most of a session either meatless or rescuing stranded rowers, so I'm sort of not expecting anything anymore. After rower number one used my swim as a turning circile, I got the rig in and settled in. As the view downriver was nice, I decided to take a photo. I then realised for some odd reason all my photos had been deleted by my phone so I was sitting there faffing when out of the corner of my eye the tip tapped. Now normally the rod is slightly bent over all the time and constantly tapping. Took a while to realise this was mostly due to the flow and general river detritus causing the tapping. Anyway, this was different, quite sharp and then the rod fully dropped back. Phone hastily shoved in my waders front pocket and I half got out the chair. Another great big tap and buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz the baitrunner went properly, grab rod, stand up, don't forget to wind the handle and set fairly gently. That may have been a mistake. Definitely a fish this time and not a snag. Now I'm fairly used to trout running around the place, so happy with playing powerful fish, but this was quite different. Down low and no surface antics unlike trout. Spent a minute or so slowly bringing it closer. As the fish was getting closeish, decided to get the net ready. Aaand then the fish shook the hook. Honestly I've never let out such a disappointed groan in a long time.

Obvious positives, I'd actually hooked one and in short order too, maybe with in 10-15 minutes. No idea what it was, I'd go for medium chub or small barbel, it wasn't fighting that hard really. About 45 minutes later (and about 4 or 5 boats) I hooked another much more powerful one and as I'd had the drag clamped down hard from an earlier pull for a snag, when I piled on the pressure the knot broke on the hook. Barbless hook so I'm pretty confident the hook should fall out in short order. I hope. So glad to have finally actually hooked something and the kit all held up fine.

I had been wondering if I ought to go to stronger braid, but the 12lb line was fine. Heading off again tomorrow morning. Probably the same swim (there's rarely ever anyone else there), if I don't get anything in 30 minutes, I reckon I'll move quickly, that's enough time. Seems to be that after 10, there's no chance of action.
 
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Final trip for a few weeks due to lockdown. No interest in the first hour, so moved around the beat a bit. Decided to try and find the upper limit and there where a few more swims up there, so that was good to have done.

I also ran into another club member, when he lost his flask in the river and had to come down to my swim to rescue it. It's a really big swim, so we were able to socially distance and have a nice chat. I also had my tactics, gear and bait vetted, he seemed to think it was all good, so that's great. The only major difference was he uses a feeder. I did see on ebay this guy who hand makes metal feeders, which look pretty beefy, so I might get a few of them for the future.

Also got told about a few more swims at the bottom of the beat. I'd totally walked past them, so that was good to know. So as the session was ending, I went down to "the best swim" on the beat and tried there for half an hour. The best swim on the beat also has the best mudslide into the river. I might have got a tidge muddy getting down to a *very* small platform. Nothing there either.

I broadly suspect that's the end of barbelling for the year. I'll definitely be trying for pike on the local canal for the next few weeks.

Although I have found out that there are pike in the Wye, so I'm keen to give that a bash, when I'm next down there. But that's going to mean a new rod. Oh no. What a pity.
 

Dropon

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Jan 25, 2020
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Enjoyable write up and several things I can relate to there. Nice one.

The small taps on the rod tip that keep you on your toes and watching the tip. The beautiful sight of mist rising on the river. And pellets staying in the feeder. Sometimes I want them to stay in the feeder just to leave a scent trail, but it's nice to have some bait out there too so then I just don't squeeze them in very hard and they seem to come out then. Better luck next time, hope you enjoy your Barbel journey.
 

Dropon

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Jan 25, 2020
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A tip for the maggot feeder type is to put a piece of sponge in the feeder and soak it in a chosen liquid.When chub fishing on Trent it was popular to soak the sponge in blood and fish small slivers of steak on the hook.
 
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