Dare I say it? But I really do think that the river needs a drop of rain. The bright conditions and low levels are making the fishing a bit of a struggle, well the barbel fishing that is. Not to worry, it just means trying a bit harder and maybe thinking outside the box.
I've just got back from the river and yes, it was difficult. But I walked a section I rarely fish and found a couple of small barbel 'flashing' in some
shallow water near my bank. I tried all sorts to get them feeding and they picked a few of my samples off but, as I'd only a limited bait choice with me, it didn't stimulate them into getting their heads down. I should have prepared some hemp and maybe gone to t
own and bought some maggots. That's the trouble with off the cuff sessions, I decide I fancy a fish, jump in the car and twenty minutes later I'm there. All well and dandy but it does limit the amount of preparation that, at times, can make all the difference to your results.
Canoes started appearing, the great Hay On Wye to Bredwardine water fight! So I gave up but had to stop on my way out of the field to repaint a couple of signs. I had a look at the river near one of them and saw some bow waves in the shallows. I took a closer look and saw some chub heading for the far side. I had a bit of a look around and found some more under an overhanging tree in a slightly deeper run. I was wearing shorts and sandals so a bit of paddling was called for. I threaded the rod again and tied a size 10 direct to the line before heading for a bar in mid river where I could cast back into the bankside run. I got distracted for a while, turning stones looking for bullheads and loach, like you do. Then I had a few minutes running a pellet through on a rig weighted with modeling clay and I had a modest chub. It saved a blank and was an enjoyable paddle.
A couple of days ago I sat behind Neil as he demonstrated his affinity with his cane rod. Despite the back pains, I was blissfully content as I sat on a rock with a beautiful stretch of fast water passing me, peregrine falcons overhead and watching my son demonstrate a great degree of skill in using a stick and pin. The fish were proving a little harder to tempt than when I last fished this spot but he had a good chub before passing the rod to me. After a bird's nest or two I got the hang of his reel and the bait landed on the money. My chub was probably four pounds and felt brilliant on the new rod.
A lovely session that was enhanced by the appearance of a tiny grass snake that tried to crawl up Neil's leg. Some days are just that little bit special and this was a short but memorable session that will stay with me for a long, long time.