Monday, 21 October 2013

Why the Wye?

Well, it's been over 30 years since I fished the river. Then it was upstream where the Wye is more of a tumbler-over-boulders sort of river. Having had the Wye & Usk Foundation booklet for the last 2 years and reading and re-reading it many times over, I decided that a trip to the lower reaches was in order. As soon as I mentioned it to my wife, she immediately asked which towns I was considering (which translated meant, "where is there good shopping"). We decided that a couple of nights based in Hereford would allow a day at a huge outlet centre in Ross followed by a day wandering around Hereford itself while I tackled a stretch of the river just a few miles outside the town.

A journey of merely 10 minutes from our hotel next to the Cathedral brought me to Sugwas Court. A beautiful spot, made better as both Martin and Joe decided to drive down for the day and the three of us had the whole stretch to ourselves. I had made a bit of a recce the afternoon before and offered to show them the upper and lower beats but when we met at the upper of the lower (does that make sense?) they were happy to start there and forgo the short drive upstream.

Much of Sugwas Court is what I would describe as having "difficult" swims, well for an old git like me, whereas the stretch we settled on was a long meadow with quite a few "easy" swims. It was a walk of just 140 yards - according to Google Earth - from the lay-by to the river bank and there were both shallows and deeper holes to chose from. Walking across the field, through a herd of Herefordshire cattle, we saw a couple of very interesting large residences on the opposite bank. One in particular reminded me of Satis House where Miss Haversham lived in Great Expectations. I saw no-one throughout the whole time I was there - spooky!

To the fishing. Joe had found a cattle drink which allowed him to wade out and long trot.

He wasn't going to give that up easily so Martin and I settled in 2 swims lower down which had, in Martin's case, a deep pool and in mine a run up to some shallows.

Soon Joe was into a shed load of small brownies which snaffled up his maggots and then got into a couple of chub, one of which didn't want to play and took him straight into some tree roots. Not wanting to loose either the fish or his float he walked downstream and attempted to net the chub.

He retrieved his terminal tackle if not the fish.

At one point the two of them decided to take a look at the upper stretch and walked though an apple orchard full of cider (NOT Cidre!) apples.

After having his fill of brownies, Joe moved to a deeper swim and feeder fished, still with maggots. Both Martin and I had persevered with a pellet approach, I also had tried meat without success. Eventually Martin switched to maggots and started to pick up some hard-fighting chub between 4 and 5lbs all of which he had great pleasure in bringing to me for photographing!

All while I stuck with pellets. In the end Martin kindly offered me a box of maggots and I was able to start to catch more regularly, ending up with some chub (but only babies of around 2.5 to 3lbs) and a lot of brownies.

The rain which was forecast from midday until late never really materialised, we had just a shower for about 1 hour which allowed Martin to wear his new designer camouflaged lightweight waterproofs. You'll have to look really carefully in this next pic, see if you can spot him.

So a great day on a stunning bit of river with a couple of good chaps (I have to say that!). If you haven't looked at the Wye & Usk brochure I strongly recommend it. For the ticket price (£20), having the stretch to a maximum of 4 anglers - although they limit it to 2 or 3 if it's a group of friends like us - it is a good deal.

Finally I have to thank Martin for offering to take my large rucksack back in his car so I could get all the purchases my wife and her sister made over the 2 days in the boot!


  1. I must say you are a right taker but I was nice and dry, thank you very much !
    I was worn out putting all of those chub back down stream of you. In fact it took longer to walk there and back than to hook & land the next fish. Great day, we must do it again.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the day David. When I read Joe's blog I thought I recognised the stretch, but you've now confirmed it. I had a pleasant day there a couple of years ago.