The river season is running to a close, it has been a strange one, not a very good one in my experiences, my winter Chub campaign didn't happened, my winter Piking campaign didn't happen, for two months I haven't even thought about getting near a river and I usually will have a go in the wildest of conditions but not this winter.......
Anyway back to the current timeline, I had planned two visits to running water prior to the 14th March, I mulled over a few venues, Trent, Severn, Warks Avon were considered but I chose the Wye, I love this river, the surroundings are some of the best in the country in my opinion with two of my favourite species readily available, Barbel & Pike.
The first session was yesterday on a day ticket water, a few mates were down there for an extended weekend but as the Wye is only just over an hour for me I could be there and back in a day no problem. I arrived at the venue around 7AM and the sun was already kicking the ass out of any early morning mist that was about, bright sunlight has never been a friend of either Barbel or Pike angler but it looked as though it was happening today. The river looked to have around 2 - 2 & half foot on after a slight rise the evening before, nicely coloured and steady flow, it looked great for Barbel, fellow modest conditions for the fish compared to what they have endured over the previous few weeks. I walked upstream to Pike fish for a couple of hours before the sun was too high in the sky, first drop into a nearbank slack with a sardine saw a stuttering take that I missed, damn it (or something similar to those words) and the bait dropped back into the same spot didn't see another chance, half an hour later and I moved to another spot without any luck, after a third dead spot I decided that the Barbel gear was coming out earlier than planned.
I picked a swim that had glassy steady water and a decent enough slack down the edge, the Pike rod was despatched and left on the baitrunner whilst the fairly standard Barbel gear that consisted of groundbait feeder and a long nylon link with a single 8mm pellet were cast out to a nearside crease. The day got warmer and warmer, 16 deg C my phone told me but it felt warmer than that but that may have been due to the fact that we were at the bottom of a prominent valley. Spring had definitely sprung but my god what a temp rise! The day continued, a couple of fish were caught throughout the group of us that were there but it was hard work all round.
At about 3PM I had a move and dropped into a swim upstream, again a glassy surface was chosen with a Pikey looking margin to drop my Herring into so I was in there, settled and off again.
I was in straight away on the Barbel line and a splasher Barb of around 3lb was soon in the net, a start and the first Barbel of 2014. The next hour again passed uneventfully even though the sun had now dipped behind the far bank wood providing shade onto the river with a noticeable drop in temperature with it. I was beginning to think the day would have better sunbathing rather than fishing when I noticed the near bank Pike bung sink and head past me upstream, I slowly wound down and lifted into a heavy fish, a couple of pulls and then in true Pike fashion it gave up and I slid a nice fish into the net, I though scraper double during the fight but once on the bank it was obviously bigger, the hooks were out nice and easy then onto the scales, 15lb 8oz was the recorded weight, she looked heavier but was very empty at the back and along with the red marks on her flanks I was wondering if she was recently spawned?
I slipped the fish back and then fished on for a further hour but nothing else showed up fish wise. It was a hard day but it ended well, that is a double figure Pike on my last two visits to the Wye so not bad, my target is of course a 20lb fish so the quest continues......
I have a further session left before the curtain closes, I will be back on the Wye on Thursday, again Barbel & Pike will be the main targets with another rod fishing worm in the mix, I am hopeful as the river should be spot on by Thursday, temperatures are remaining steady during the day but with no further rain forecast she will level out nicely, hopeful, hopeful, hopeful.