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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/12/2016 - I Had A Good Mixed Bag - A Brace of 9 lb plus Barbel for Kevin

My best pike at 14lb 6 ounces

I'm always getting told "I wouldn't travel 200 plus miles to fish a river for a few hours like you do, it must be boring" Recently I done a 480 miles round trip leaving early on a Saturday morning, returning home late on Sunday evening, there wasn't anything boring about the trip, in fact it was full of interest, at times exciting. Kevin and myself arrived on the river Wye in the Hereford area about 1230hrs, it's an area of this great country that I've had a love affair for many years going back to my younger days in the 50's also many love affairs with a few local fair maidens as one does when we are young, but fishing, shooting, roaming the fields woods and hills often living rough for days on end, we didn't have the modern equipment that’s available today, often a friendly farmers barn was home it was an adventure. Herefordshire and its border with Wales is wild romantic countryside with a beautiful the river Wye flowing though the county. We arrived to find the weather was perfect, thick cloud very low light levels with a hint of mist over the fields, "perfect conditions" I thought with no wind it's what I call a 'Roach Fishers Day' as we drove down a rough farm track there were a big flock of fieldfare feeding on the red hawthorn berries, a buzzard was perch in a big oak tree. The river level was just a few inches above normal level with a slight increase in water speed, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 49 degrees F, after walking the length of the fishery I suggested to my friend Kevin he should fish a spot several hundred yards upstream of the car park near some beech trees, also knowing the banks would be slippery I loaned Kevin one of my dog spikes with a length of rope, I also suggested he should fish with a swim feeder rig, 12lb line, size 10 hook with pellet on a hair with Lone Angler cheese paste moulded around pellet. Having got Kevin sorted I went off downstream and baited 2 swims with bait size lumps of Lone Angler cheese paste, I then went back to my swim where I float legered a sardine bait close to a half drowned bush. 10 minutes later I had a take catching a pike of 14lb 6 ounces with the size 3/0 hook nicely in the scissors, no forceps needed, I just lifted the hook out. Pic of fish attached. After a brew I went off to fish for chub in my downstream swim, I had 4 fish around 3lbs then chose to leave the swim deeming it a unsafe in the darkness, also my shingles were giving me hell, I retired to the car, then having taken a couple of painkillers I made a brew then listened to the radio also drinking more mugs of tea. Kevin kept me up to date with his fishing by calling me on his mobile, he caught 4 barbel around 6-7lb mark with another of 9lb 1 ounce a very fat solid fish that had been on a feeding spree. Pic attached. At 2000 hrs with the rain sheeting down we went off to our B&B feeling content with our results.

                                                                            A Mixed Bag

Sunday it was around 1000 when we arrived on the river to find frost on the fields with an extra 6 inches of water on the river also a drop in water temperature of 3 degrees giving me a reading of 46 degrees F, not feeling so good also not feel happy fishing the swim I wanted being a bit on the dangerous through the steep sloping bank, I chose to fish the first swim downstream of where we had parked, an attractive pool with a half drowned bush in the water, just outside the bush was a nice crease that screamed fish, Kevin having helped me get my tackle into the swim, then went off to the swim he had fished the previous day catching 5 barbel around 5-6lbs with a nice fish of 9lb 2 ounces. I started off fishing a float legered sardine close to the bridge support catch three pike 2 low doubles around 11-12lbs with a fish about 8lbs, at the same time I legered a lobworm on a size 6 hook to 6lb line catching 5 perch averaging 12 ounces to a pound, 6 chub between 3 and 4lbs, also a grayling of around a pound. After half an hour without a bite I changed to Lone Angler cheese paste taking 3 barbel best at 8lb 2 ounces the others were around 6lbs. 4 more chub 2 around 3lbs, also 2 good chub 1 of 4lb 12 ounces also a very good fish at 5lb 2ounces, With no phone connection with Kevin I couldn't call for him to take some pics.

The highlights of the trip were the brace of 9lb barbel by Kevin, my mixed bag catch on the Sunday, the fieldfare feeding on the hawthorn berries, a large family of long tailed tits feeding on the big bush below my swim on Sunday, the kingfisher that perched on a branch of the bush below me then dived caught a fish, returned to its perch to digest its meal, then having fluffed up its feathers as if to say "I will catch another one" , it then flew to perch on a slender willow shoot growing no more than five feet from me, having dived and caught another fish which was digested back on his slender perch before flying away, That's why its name a 'Kingfisher' I also had the pleasure of seeing 2 late running salmon moving upstream, a well mended kelt going downstream to the sea. I watch a pair of ravens, there not all in the Tower of London also a big skein of geese, the call of the wild goose is so romantic it get my blood pumping, we packed up around 1600hrs we arrived home at 2145 hours. A short but very enjoyable trip.








Kevin with his 9lb 1 ounce barbel

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