I've been a right grump of late, I can't help it, its just the way it is when you are a depressive. I've suffered for - well, most of my life in one way or another but since I succumbed to post traumatic stress disorder the bouts are understandably a tad deeper. So, if ever I don't post anything for a few days, it may be because I'm sat with a little black cloud over my head or, I may just have nothing to say - that also happens occasionally ;-)
Anyway, feeling off with the river is usual for me in mid-summer. I am naturally very protective of 'my' stretch of the river. I am the bailiff, I prepare swims, mend fences and stiles that sort of thing, and I treasure each fish that swims there. But by the sixth week of the season I have usually witnessed more than my share of piss poor practice by visiting anglers.
Now, I don't begrudge anybody putting in a massive effort to catch their fish especially when they are on a holiday break that is costing a bob or two. If you go away to fish you want to get value for money and to many 'value' equals quantity. But what they fail to understand or care about is the effect they are having on the fishing. People that have a good day in a particular swim will always return to that swim the next day and give it another hammering, probably catching some of the same fish again. When they complete their stay there is usually a spell of crowing in the bar about how good they are and how they have the river sussed. The next man to leap into that swim after hearing of its success, will do the same during his trip and so it goes on. The end result is always a swim that has been hammered to death and as a result, becomes poor or fished out.
The Wye seems quite prone to this turn of events and although there are a few swims that keep producing year in year out, many of the 'new' swims where a group of fish is located then exploited, last only a relatively short time. Its just the situation that arises on a 'holiday venue'. Were this section a club water the pressure would be far less intense.
I can cope with this situation, there is always somewhere else to fish that is out of the way and most won't walk far from their cars anyway. But its the attitude of some. The thought that if they throw a ton of bait into the river it will always catch them more fish. I've seen a group of twenty anglers fish for a week over a stretch of nearly five miles of river. They baited so heavily with pellets that, for a day or two, they caught quite well but, by the end of the week nobody could buy a bite! In fact, the only thing that seemed to be grabbing pellets was pike!
Then there are the guys that will spend hundreds of pounds on travel, accommodation and bait but who won't cough up a tenner for a landing net bigger than a tea strainer, line heavier than 5lb bs or of course, an unhooking mat. Mention fish care to these people and they give you a look of incredulity. It really, really pisses me off.
Oh I've tried to educate, tactfully and politely. I've raised my voice at some that have just been ignorant. But its all conflict that I can do without so, when I am fishing, I try to find a quiet spot and avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, up until a few days ago, most of those out of the way spots have been bereft of barbel but they are starting to spread out a bit now so things are looking up. Neil has had a couple of evening sessions that have each given him a brace of barbel so I'll have to get down and catch some soon, he' already bragging about catching more than me - the little pup.
Talking about The Boy, it was a proud day on Wednesday when he collect his degree in Fisheries and Fishery Management. My son has got letters after his name - time was I thought he'd end up with numbers in front of it :-) Not really, he's a good lad and worked hard for three years. His facebook page summed it up nicely, "went on a three year bender and woke up with a 2.1 degree". Not too far from the truth but there was some effort involved, wasn't there?
I'm fishing one of the Wye and Usk beats tomorrow, checking it out before a couple of days guiding a trio of anglers that want to catch on the float. My persistent tendonitis means I will not use the float rod much myself but I'll hopefully find a barbel or two. They also want to get to grips with fishing on the lead so its going to be hard work but, if they catch a few and have a laugh or two along the way, it will be worthwhile. I'll let you know how it goes.