With the price of bait, fishing permit and petrol, Sundays trip to the river Wye below Ross-on-Wye was an expensive affair but certainly worth it.
The stretch, set under the gaze of the historic Goodrich castle was picturesque to say the least and made all the money and effort well worthwhile.
I thought I’d look to keep tactics as simple as possible and take as little tackle with me as I could. This meant no chair, no quiver and no brolly. I’d give each swim an hour and move on - hopefully this mobile approach would see me covering pike at some point.
I’d been reliably informed that herring was the ‘in-form’ bait so I made sure that my cooler bag was full of those, plus some mackerel tails and smelt.
I fished simple leger tactics, just flicking baits into likely looking holes and giving them an hour or so, tweaking them occasionally to provoke an attack.
I used light front bobbins to alert me of a drop-back and I opened up the bail-arm and held the line on the spool with some mud. I’m sure Blu-Tack or a piece of tape was a cleaner bet, but the soft nature of the mud meant that if I did get a take the line would fall off the spool smoothly and not cause the pike to feel any resistance.
|State-of-the-art bite detection|
After 4-5 hours and not a sign of a toothy pike I was beginning to lose confidence and all the usual doubts started to creep in to my mind - “Am I using the right bait?” “The river’s too coloured and high.”
However, the last peg of the beat looked like a banker. A massive area of slack water and loads of branches, bushes and trees littering the area. I cast in my herring bait close to one of these likely looking haunts, just off the main flow of the river. As I was playing about setting up the front bobbin line plucked out of my fingers - I had a bite!
I released the line from the clutches of the bobbin and opened up the bail arm, line began to peel from the spool as the fish moved away. I didn’t wait long before setting the hooks and the rod lurched over into a satisfying curve.
A short but spirited fight ensued and as I reached for my net I released it wasn’t there, looking round I saw it resting 20 yards back, next to my bag – brilliant. Anyway, I managed to cover myself in mud but eventually got the fish on the bank.
It went 18lb 4oz so it was worth the mud bath. Another fish of around 15lb was lost a little while later and then no more action. I’ve lost count of the amount of pike I’ve caught between 16lb and 19lb 15oz (I haven’t it’s 12) but hopefully a 20 will be on its way soon. The Wye is a stunning river and I’ll certainly be back.