On our annual family pilgrimage to the Wye, my son Lee and I found it up and coloured. This was totally unexpected as everywhere we have fished lately from Devon across to the Thames has been very low and in dire need of water.
We had an hour or two before the light fell upon arriving so headed down for a bit of barbel fishing. In a normally successful method, we trundled spam around our favourite holes and caught a chub and a SEA TROUT! Everyone tells me they don't really run the Wye, but I had a 3lb'er in the summer and didn't expect one on spam in November.
The following day, the river had fallen so we both decided to trot, one of our favourite methods, as the visibility in the water had improved to about 12 to 18". We normally also use this method as a precursor to pike fishing as they are attracted by the activity with small fish.
I set up in a hole where Lee had an 18lb pike a couple of years ago, and started trotting with double maggot fishing 12’ deep. The first catch was a small dace, all of 2” long followed by a couple of gudgeon then, I had… another sea trout followed by one that jumped and flipped the hook. As the day progressed I had three sea trout and then a brownie, all totally unexpected. However, nothing prepared me for the next fish… a grayling in a slow stretch - 12’ deep, and it was a good one of 1 lb 10ozs as well, truly amazing.
I wandered down to see how Lee was doing and he had caught sea trout too, and a salmon parr, plus the expected chub to 3.5lbs.
It seemed the whole river had switched around and all the game fish were present in the coarse fishing season, as the barbel and dace seemed to have moved on.
I had promised Colin, a friend I met on a trip to Egypt to fish for Nile Perch, that I would take him to catch a grayling on the Wye. He lives in the Midlands, he hadn’t had the opportunity to grayling fish in the past so we headed to another favourite spot of mine at Builth Wells.
The “prime” swim was vacant so I told Colin where to fish and lo and behold, first run through, he hooked a grayling which flipped the hook. Next trot down, he got his first fish and was really delighted. During the morning, he caught a steady stream of grayling interspersed with brown trout up to 1 lb. I was struggling fishing in other swims catching far less.
The sport unexpectedly stopped Colin tried other swims which were not as productive as the first one had been. Just before we finished, I tried my usual trick of rolling a big lump of spam (1.5 ins cube approx) down the swims we had fed and managed the usual 3lb+ chub.
It was a good day with good company and Colin couldn’t believe he had caught grayling. As the photo shows, it was a delight to see the schoolboy style grin of delight.
Sadly Lee had to cut his holiday short due to business reasons and I managed one last evening for a couple of hours trying again for the elusive barbel and was rewarded with another chub and… a sea trout.
I hadn’t caught a sea trout before this year and one of my goals for 2016 was to catch my first which I did on a mayfly, but since then have caught another eleven. Just like buses, you wait years for one, and then they all come together.
I can only guess that the reason for catching them was due to the river being so full at last after the low summer levels and the higher water just before we arrived had allowed a whole run to head up together.