For many years I have dreamt of visiting the River Wye with the view to having a go at some Pike, for this trip I was joined by Brian
the man behind "Pike Blog", we travelled up together to his home patch and spent the long weekend in great company with his parents ( never been looked after so well ), for month's we had spoken about this trip and it got to a point where as I couldn't wait to get on the bank and we certainly wasted no time in doing so.
When we did get on the bank we were to learn very quickly that things would be very difficult, the water is at it's lowest level in many years and it has been the driest first part of September on record and one thing with the Wye is that it needs water in order to produce fish, without the water what fish we were to catch was either pure luck in finding a rogue feeding fish or finding a swim where they held up and wait for them to feed. Both of us lure fished and live/dead baited for hours until we could no longer see our floats in the pitch black, the day did finish with a couple of fish caught and although our target species was caught on the first day it was not the size we travelled 3 1/2 hours for, maybe tomorrow.....
|My first Wye Esox. Chuffed.|
With the first day already a distant memory we rose before the sun started to break the horizon in search of a double-figure Pike, this was the expectation rather than hope simply based on the pedigree of the river and the stocks it holds, the sunrise was something straight out of a Crabtree scene.....
......all it missed was a chorus of Owl's working the field behind, the morning did provide some sport as well with a couple of Jack Pike coming to net but again nothing substantial but I did manage stumble over a magnificent Perch looking swim and it proved to hold a few Perch too, my trotted Bleak made it's way down the inside bank towards some sunken tree's and as it got about 20ft down the Pike float bobbed and the started to go under and head out into the flow, I leant into the take pretty quickly as Perch tend to be very greedy and swallow the bait, straight away I knew it was a good Perch and when it finished with the frolicking an easy 2lb plus soldier lay in the net.
|A belter of a Perch at 2lb 8oz.|
Catching Perch like that is enough to please any angler, this wasn't the only Perch either from the Perchy swim as 2 more came to the net 1.4 & 12oz which were in immaculate condition too, I also had another small Pike of about 3lb with Brian also getting on the act. As 10am came and went the low thick cloud was burnt off and we ended up basking in 20 odd degree weather - not the weather you want whilst Pike fishing. So with the sun blazing across the Wye valley I changed species and broke out the meat as rolling for Chub and Barbel seemed a slightly better proposition, needless to say Brian struggled with the Pike but I did manage a few Chub to roughly 3.8, although I've had many millions of Chub this size they seldom look as colourful as these guys.
As the sun began to start setting we decided to find a couple of likely looking spots/haunts and await the feeding frenzy that we hoped would begin as the temperature dropped, much to our disappointment it was a dead as a do-do. Maybe tomorrow......
Sunday was the day that we hoped all would start to come together as we had done as much as 20 miles walking already, plenty of water investigated and plenty of seemliness empty water our task was not one for the faint hearted, Brian was starting to feel the pressure as he was the host on his home beat of the Wye, but one thing we angler's know about fishing is that you have to expect the unexpected, this being the total lack of movement over two days - an explosion erupted upstream of a fallen tree in the water as a decent sized Pike broke the surface in pursuit of food, I didn't waste anytime in getting my Rapala lure out into the swim and on my 2nd retrieve my relatively stout tackle was to be put to the test as my lure was smashed, the hunting Esox was hooked but I didn't see it for a while but I knew it was a good fish, then she rolled and that's when I played her a little more cautiously, Brian did the honours in securing me with my first decent Wye Pike, belter!.
|At 14.12 she was light, the frame suggesting in condition it may go 18lb plus.|
But was I bothered by that??, I certainly was not, this was exactly what I came up here for and on the morning of the third day I had caught my target, I could relax just that little bit more now that had been landed, the lure used was a Rapala minnow about 6 inches long worked a touch above the bottom, a great Christmas present from the better half and that's why she is, I may employ her to buy all my lures.
More Chub were caught to 4lb 5oz and a couple more Perch also taken on spinners but the highlight of the remainder of the day was the capture of a 7.3 Pike which was caught by Brian on a surface fished Jitterbug and I witnessed the entire scenario unfold, the pure savagery of the take was breath taking, I wish I'd caught it on film, I could watch it back a thousand times and never get bored of it.
|Not very skinny, eh Stu?? |
Our last day on this fantastic river in the middle of Herefordshire, it was the day where Brian was to try and catch a decent Pike for himself but the day was to be dominated by a predator of a different form, cue the Perch. Fishing under a bridge for a number of hours produced absolutely no joy and out of nowhere my float-fished small Bleak was snaffled and the float took off like an express train, first of all I thought it was a Pike but the fight was all wrong to be that so I had a hunch it was a Perch but it felt good, as I cranked it up to the surface a cracking soldier broke the surface and was ready for the net, a long story short, Brian ran to get net, he got it and I told him get a bait out, another 2 big Perch are following the hooked one, so I delayed my fish to aid Brian to catch what turned out to be a personal best for the species!.
|Different shapes but both weighed in at 2lb 4oz. |
For Brian it was a coup, many years fished on the Wye growing up and has managed them to 2.1 this was the start of maybe something special.
|A stunning specimen.|
But we never did catch that third Perch that was chasing the other two around but we weren't going to be greedy and more small Pike came out too, some smaller than others but fun all the same, with the day quickly coming to a close and the end to the trip nigh we tried to squeeze every last cast out of the time available but nothing else of note was tempted into the net and our little jaunt into the countryside was done, but we will surely return for the winter if Brian wouldn't mind being a ghillie again - but hopefully this time it will be a twenty pounder and the Pike man will hopefully catch a large Esox too.