Six nights beside the Wye
Sunday 23rd June
I try to organise at least one week in the fishing season to stay away from home and to get us some self catering accommodation beside or very close to a river, this year ..so far, this is our second trip!
Some while ago I was searching for such a thing beside the Wye and found Brobury House was such a place, and it has two cottages within it’s grounds and their own stretch of the river
We couldn’t get a full week as there was a wedding party staying over the Saturday night so the cottages weren’t available until Sunday, that was ok.
A four hour journey found us arriving just before 5pm, where we were met by Pru and Keith Cartwright the owners, and whilst Pauline was off to be shown Rose Cottage
I was advised by Keith of the fishery details.
|The view from the cottage|
The stretch starts just above the bridge on the road to Bredwardine (The Red Lion) and stretches for a few hundred yards downstream.
There are also further rights by way of a guest membership card from Newton Works AC, for an additional mile or so.
Keith by the way, no longer coarse fishes he’s taken to fly fishing.
It was beginning to start a squally rain shower, so we didn’t walk the bank ,but he did let me know what the banks were like and where the deeper pools/stretches were. Guess who didn’t pack, along with the almost entire content of my tackle store, the dog spike and rope....yep, it was I!!
Anyway after a settle down in the cottage and signs that the rain had abated, we decided to walk the immediate close proximity of the river bank.
About half a dozen or so of the steep banked swims had been cleared to make access a little easier, and I’ve spotted two relatively safe spots to fish in comparative comfort, and a couple more if I can gather up the courage and it doesn’t rain anymore.
We have fishing neighbours in Lilac the next door cottage, they’ve settled in down in one of the swims, and rather than fall down the bank on top of them, I crouched on the top and sort of introduced myself, with a cheery, “ hi down there, we’re in Rose Cottage, if you bait up a swim, leave a signal, I don’t know what, but something like, tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree” ......did I really say that !!
By now the wind was whipping up again for one of the squalls, so we made our way back, resting half way, on a conveniently placed bench, it’s a bit of a climb and we are both seriously unfit!.
No fishing tonight.
Monday 24th June
It’s 5am, I’ve been awake since 3:30 thinking about my plan of action, ie how am I going to fish the swim, but more so how do I lighten the load!
So I’ve thought about this and rather than wake Pauline up with my fidgeting I’ve got up, with the intention of sorting my tackle out for an evening session and perhaps a pre-bait.
It’s 6am, the ol’boy (younger than me) next door has just walked past fully kitted up with his gear, I’ve had my two cups of Assam, time to sort out the kit.
We’ve decided to spend a good deal of the day in Hereford with perhaps a lunch at the Waterside by the old town bridge.
A lot going on in the town, including a new shopping centre next to the football stadium, so there must still be a bit of wealth available, noticeably not many empty or charity shops.
Unfortunately, the Waterside is closed down, so perhaps not, because it was a very good place to eat!
We decided, and because it’s Monday and very little is open for food, to head aback to base for a salad and an earlier start to my fishing than originally anticipated.
Suitably refreshed, I make my way down to the river, still too much weight to be comfortable, but that’s what you get for not bringing enough receptacles to spread the weight of the pellets and a gallon of hemp.
I didn’t help myself a great deal by not taking notice of the landmarks to find my chosen swims. Not certain how many times I walked up and down the bank, sometimes fully loaded, other times empty handed...I was knackered!
Anyway, I found my number one swim eventually, only to find, as I got halfway down, it was already occupied by a gent who I later found out to be a local club member.
Moving further down stream just about 50 yards my number two swim became obvious, so I dropped in.
No particular features to this swim apart from the fact the deep water was on my side. I immediately put in a handful of pellets and a large quantity of hempseed.
Not with any control I may add, as I was quite happy to feed the run and hope to attract any fish from downstream.
Five hours later with just a few nudges, I decided that enough was enough, put a few more handfuls of hemp in and packed up. Leaving all my bait on the banks and hopefully a good enough marker to tell any passing swim hunter that I had baited up ready for tomorrow.
On the way back I stopped off to chat with John the local man, and came across another prophet of doom!
He had much the same session as me, with every indication that this section of the Wye was bereft of fish.
The blame lies, so he said, with the construction of the huge gas pipeline run through from the Welsh coast some two years ago. I think I remember seeing something about that on Countryfile or some such programme.
Anyway, he tells me after torrential rain the deep ditches they were digging for the pipeline became full of water, and over 6 hours the river rose ten feet and was full of silt, which pushed all the fish down to Hereford and the slower water, and they’ve not come back since!
I left him to it and headed back to the cottage, thinking he’s the same sort bloke of bloke that you see so much of on the on the forum or face book and on the banks, blaming everything and everyone for their inability to catch fish.
The latest being the locals who fish the Severn around Worcester, who say that one seal is devastating the barbel population, just barbel by the way, much the same as the otter bashers. They want to know what is everybody else doing about it!
They are not even acknowledging that seals have always followed the salmon run up the Severn and the fish, particularly the very recently, comparatively speaking, barbel have survived, in fact thrived!!
So I’ll have another go tomorrow, to see if John’s right and that all the fish have gone to Hereford!
Tuesday 25th June
I must of been knackered last night, I slept like a log any thoughts of fishing had gone from my mind, even though my swim was baited and awaiting me...perhaps there are no fish? I’ll wait until tonight.
We had decided to go to Symonds Yat, not to look for Monty I might add, but for a lazy stroll around, followed by lunch at The Saracens Head by the river.
This we did, with a couple of pints of Butty Bach, and then made our way back arriving at the cottage at around four o’clock.
It’s now 4:30, we're having tea and biscuits on the lawn in front of the cottage, as I write this.
I think I’ll go and get ready now for the walk down the river .
Back to the same swim in the hope that my feed had made a difference, three hours into my four hour session showed it hadn’t worked.
So a change of tactics was called for, I switched to a paste bait I’ve had in the freezer for sometime from CC Moore.
The switch of tactics, now gives me signs that there are fish present, a couple of chub like tugs gives me hope, 10 minutes later, I’m in.
A chub of about 3lb took the paste, my first fish of the river season.
A few more tentative plucks and the night drawing in, time to get back.
Wednesday 26th June
We’ve decided to have day in Brecon and as part of that day book ourselves a two and a half hour trip on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal by narrow boat tomorrow.
It’s bookable in advance, but down here in the valley, we have no mobile or broadband link.
Arriving at 11am we find that despite being fully booked for the morning trip we could go a 3pm, not fancying waiting around that long in this one horse town, we said we would book for tomorrow.
I have to say that the trip was alright, but at this time of the year with so much greenery around there really isn’t a great deal to see, apart from the bank side growth, even the Beacons were mainly out of sight!
The canal is just about take two boats wide and is a best 3 feet deep.
It was a good waste of two and a half hours.
A late lunch with a couple of pints of Brains bitter went down well with the pubs paella.
I couldn’t gather up the energy or inclination to clamber down the bank for fishing tonight, so I took a long walk along the bank downstream.
Guess what ?
The barbel are (still) spawning and not in Hereford!!
I stayed a while watching the action,shame my camera was still in my tackle bag.
So back to the cottage and to finish Barbel Tales.
It’s very difficult for me to give a fair view of the book, because I edited and read most of the chapters before I resigned my position in the Barbel Society.I would say it's varied interesting and a good buy for the barbel angler.
There were however a few more chapters new to me, and overall it’s turned out to be a fine tome, with two or three good new chapters from John Wilson, Pete Reading and Les Darlington that I hadn’t seen before.
Pete’s views on all the catch the angler baits was particularly interesting.
Thursday 27th June
Our day starts as usual with the tourist bit, so we’ve decided to visit Hay and Leominster.
Not particularly interesting towns, especially in the rain, but a couple of pints in a Wetherspoon’s pub, with my Camra beer vouchers helped overcome the outer wetness.
Another evening of no fishing, it’s tipping it down, and I have no wish to fight my way down, or more so, up the rain sodden banks.
Had a chat with the other holiday maker as he came back this evening, he's fishing with his wife and they've been out a good few hours this week. Four chub to his name and his wife thinks she lost a barbel just below the bridge on the first night.
Friday 28th June
It's still a bit wet and drizzling,. so my thoughts of fishing once again take the back seat.
we decide take a look at an out of town shopping village called the Hop Pocket, we saw in the way down it's just outside Bromyard.
There we found and were given a taster session, of local made gins and vodkas from the local Chase Distillery and ended spending a fair sum on two bottles of special gin (for Pauline) and a bottle of rhubarb vodka( for me). It really tastes of rhubarb and custard.
I can't comment on the gin, I leave that to the connoisseur to judge!
We stopped for lunch after a visit to Bromyard ( another dead and alive town from first impressions) at The Plough Inn, Stoke Lacy and had an excellent meal of rack of lamb and duck breast, with all the trimmings. Well cooked, tasty, and a good mix of vegetables.
Once again the Butty Bach got my taste buds started.
Back to the cottage, it's still drizzling and our neighbours return early from their fishing, so we decide to open a bottle of red and settle down in front of the tele for the night.
Saturday 29th June
Time for the off after a bacon sandwich for breakast.
The cottages are obviously ideally situated for the Wye.
Rose Cottage in particular, because I can't comment on Lilac Cottage, was very comfortable, roomy, will sleep four and has all the facilities you could want for a stay in the Herefordshire countryside.
All in all highly recommended, and we will go back, next time hopefully the barbel will be back from their activities and I shall spend a bit more time than my two sessions, and certainly better equipped with dog spike and rope.
On arriving home we find the package that we need for applying for our Russian visas.
Really looking forward to seeing the sites of Moscow and St Petersburg.
Prior to that, a visit to the Whitstable Oyster Festival for a long weekend.