BFW fish-in On The Wye, July 2002
After 6 months of planning and with more than a few obstacles to overcome, the Wye fish-in finally came to be. To say that I was disappointed with the attendance, would be an understatement, however, to the guy's who turned up I have to say a very big thank you, You Are All Stars.
It started for me very early on the Friday morning, I had arranged to meet Dave Wing (The Barbel basher from Barnsley), down there before nine-o-clock. Arriving at approx. 8-30, I located Dave's car, but no Dave. Calling out his name, a few seconds later and I heard his voice, "hi Ray, I've lost me bloody sunglasses". I'm not going to say where Dave lost his glasses or how, (guess's please, in a sealed envelope), anyway, glasses found, I took Dave to a swim that usually produces a few Barbel. At this stage I wasn't going to fish, as I knew that my day was going to be taken up with trying to find, and meet up, with all the other guys and making sure that they were all sorted. After about half an hour, a fish-less Dave, managed to talk me into wetting line. My very first cast and I was into a Boris. This fish fought like a demon and was not going to give itself up easily. I was sure it was my first ever double and the panic set in. After a few moments of worry, the fish finally came to the net. It was a fish of 7 lbs 9 oz. The reason for it's hard battle, was that I had foul hooked it. I was very disappointed but that's fishing. The fish down there are unbelievably fit at the moment and it wasn't long before it was kicking away, none the worse for the ordeal. After this, I decided not to fish on and just have a good look, up and down the river, which by the way, was in a low but glorious condition. Down river I found that John W. had arrived and was already sitting in his chosen swim. The smile on John's face said it all. We are going to have a great time!!. After a chat with John and another with Dave, it was then up to the top gate, to check for any arrivals. Time for me to go to the pub, me thinks. No sooner had I sat down with my first wet, when I had a 'phone call, Liam had arrived. Pulling up into the car park, his car had lost all it's water, quick check, split hose. Wrapping the hose with insulation tape, it was back to the pub. What a start for Liam, the guy who never stopped smiling. The rest of the day was spent meeting up with Graham, Andy D, John and Mark. I award John for what I thought was the funniest remark. We stood on the bank and looked at the river and John said " bloody hell Ray, my river's not as long as that's wide!". It really tickled me John. Mark had arrived from the top entrance. It's a fair old drudge down this path, good track, but 2 Â½ miles down hill to the riverbed. Needless to say, Mark decided to stay in his campervan down by the river. It was here that I think a good friendship was born. Mark and Liam got on like a house on fire. Mark and Liam, I award you both the award for showing the true spirit of what a BFW fish-in should be all about, Friendship! I'll never forget the time when I was chatting to them and Liam, sitting in his chair with a big grin on his face , turned round to Mark and said " Mark, when you've cooked tea, you'll have to bring it to me, I'm not walking all the way down there for it." It was like a scene from ' The Odd Couple'. What I want to hear about though, is the ' the tale of the broken hose'. I do believe it was a rather hilarious episode, so come on. I think Goose was the last to arrive that evening, having had a truly horrendous journey from Kent. By the time we went to the pub, it was looking like it was going to be very hard fishing. I had managed to wet a line properly, just after five-o-clock, and landed eight Barbel. Best was 8lbs 3oz. I also lost three. Dave captured his first Barbel of the season. Well done Dave, that broke the unlucky waistcoat in! . Eels seemed to be the order of the day, not to mention the snags that everybody was finding. I've never heard of so many Eels before, I just can't explain it.
Dave Wing and Boris!
A visit to the pub was the doctor's orders and a few of us went up to the Local. A few beers and friendly chat later and it's back to business. I don't think any Barbel were caught overnight, just Eels and snags. Me, I didn't fish, I was too knackered.
Saturday morning saw everybody changing swims in their attempt to escape the Eels and snags, and today it was to be a serious attack on the Boris population. Glenn also arrived with a friend and they were soon into a swim where they could fish together. It was the swim that John W. had vacated earlier. I know that Glenn's friend landed one Barbel from it, not bad for a first ever time of fishing for Barbel. I don't know Glenn and friend's final tally. Can you let us know please Glenn? Sorry, I forgot to ask your friend's name, my head was in a bucket. I baited up a swim, down river, with Hemp pellets, hoping that I may get to fish it later in the day. I never did. However, Steve ( Juninho ) managed to get permission for a short session, and I'm pleased to say that he managed to pluck three Barbel from the swim, well done Steve. Late afternoon saw me heading upriver to one of my favourite summer swims. There had been two guys in it earlier. As I reached this part of the river, their car had gone. As I jumped out of my car, I heard myself inwardly cheering that the swim was now free and dashed towards the riverbank. Shock-horror, I saw a rod tip, then another, pointing skywards. Dave and Andy had beaten me to it. They were already down on the riverbed. Not a problem though, as there was still room for another one or two rods, so I set my stall out in this swim alongside Andy and Dave. Later on, John joined us, having had no luck down river. The two anglers, who had vacated the swim earlier, had caught ten Boris between them. Even so, I was confident that this swim would still produce at some time, just a case now of sticking it out.
After a couple of hours, it was obvious that good old Boris was going to be difficult, and that work was the order of the day, I popped down to see the others, and to share a bowl of Liam's curry, very nice too Liam. It was still evident that Eels and snags where still the in thing, one thing though, these guys where not going to give up, and where determined to catch themselves a Wye Barbel. Returning to my swim, I was pleased to hear that John had managed to catch a small Barbel. I sat down in my chair for a few moments, then after baiting up and casting to the far bank, I sat down again, perfectly relaxed in wonderful surroundings. Four rods waiting for the arrival of their quarry. Whilst sitting there, I dropped my hands into the cooling waters and started to stroke the stones just below the surface, something I find to be very therapeutic. As I carefully stroked one of these stones, imagine my amazement, as it suddenly splashed into life. I looked down and it turned out to be a small Boris that I had been stroking. It had obviously been resting by the side of my chair. Off it went, past Andy and outward, back to it's home. There is something rather special about that moment, and I will never forget it. Watch out for my new video on how to tickle Barbel! I managed to get one very small Barbel and was on target for catching a Boris, on each of the days. Half past seven saw us visiting the pub for a couple of well-earned pints and a bite to eat. We returned to the river before it got dark. I went down to see how the
others were getting on. Goose also returned to his chosen swim for the night. It was then that I got the message from Liam about John W's dilemma. Glad to see that everything turned out Ok for John. If ever a face could tell a story, then it was Liam's, he was grinning from ear to ear. Liam had managed to overcome the problem of the snaggy hole and had caught three Barbel, absolutely brilliant Liam. I have now re-named this hole as Liam's hole. Liam told me that the swim was alive with small Barbel and that their fins could be seen gliding across the top of the water. I would love to have seen it myself. Mark was still struggling but was even more determined to get his Wye Barbel. I went back to my swim and it was not long before Andy landed his first Barbel. First of the season I believe, well done Andy, who by the way added another one to it later. It was very dark now and, as I reeled in, with no sense of distance, my 2 oz lead came swinging out of the water, it shot out and rapped me right on the old wedding tackle, OUCH, time for bed said Zebedee!!!. The night went on to produce two Barbel for the man from Barnsley, one more for John, Goose also had one from lower down river. I believe Goose also had a Chub. Well done guys you all earned it. Late Saturday night we lost Liam, who, because of the pain in his leg, insisted on driving home, much against my advice. Thankfully Liam arrived home safely.
Andy Davies with a Wye fish
Mark was feeling more than a little bit gutted. He had hooked and lost three fish, this only made him more determined to get one, but first it was back to the campsite for a well earned rest, or so he thought. Mark had been locked out and had to return to the river to sleep. I've been barred from pubs before but never a campsite! Sunday morning saw us rising early, ready to do battle once again. It was a beautiful morning and the day was to get very hot and sunny. It really is the Bee's knees down there, when it's like that. Unfortunately it was also the kind of day that brings out the Townie idiots, but that's another story. So, on a glorious day, a few more Barbel were caught. Andy had one before he finally had to get away. The Barnsley Barbel basher added another three, I managed a further two and Goose coaxed another two, whilst trotting with the pin. John didn't fish again and, quite wisely, rested before his long journey home to Kent. Mark who fished much later was finally rewarded with three Barbel from Liam's hole, please no jokes about this. His determination finally paying off, delighted for you Mark. Mid afternoon saw the fish-in fizzle out. I was hoping to continue, myself, but that was put paid to, by one particular group of mindless idiots in canoes. You just can't plan for these idiots. I closed the gate for the final time, around about four o clock, bade farewell to Dave. Lots of memories have been lost into my subconscious, but I'm sure that every time I go down there, memories will be brought back to me. So forgive me if I have left anything out, over to you guys on that one. Final tally for the fish-in was 34 Barbel caught, some Chub, Dace, Bleak, Liam's big Trout and of course How could I forget-----EELS!!!
I salute you all. YOU CAME, YOU SAW and YOU BLOODY WELL CONQUERED!