Early this year I decided, after reading article after article about the River Wye, to give it a go myself. I regularly fish the Ribble in Preston for barbel and have had some decent results but it can be a fickle water.
I booked on to the Wyebank and Courtfield beat via the Wye and Usk Foundation (I had seen John Wilson and Martin Bowler's dream fishing and used their advice).
I was lucky to book on the day after opening day in June and spent many a restless night waiting to get down there dreaming of a couple of decent fish.
I arrived at my cottage in Monmouth the day before and had a quick visit to the beat, found a couple of good swims and decided to be on early next day.
The big day arrived and I rushed the long suffering wife through breakfast and out to the car. After half-an-hour I was at my chosen peg.
I set up my gear and disaster! I realised that I left my landing net back in the cottage.
Luckily for me a local fisherman arrived as I began to pack up to return for my net. He was brilliant -a typical friendly forester guy, not only did he go home for a net that I could use, but he advised me he had pre baited the swim for a week with plain corn.
He was going to try his luck as he had been on the Mumbles beat and it was full.
I rigged a corn stack on a long hair and cast over to some overhanging trees that he said to try, within a couple of minutes I was in, the fish was powerful and ran for what seemed ages but I turned it and played it to the net, resulting in a PB of 11 lb 6 oz.
As I played the fish a bailiff arrived and took a picture and congratulated me.
The rest of the day resulted in fish after fish, all barbel. I could not believe the quality of the fishing and the generosity of the folk in the area.
The river is immaculate, the surroundings are stunning and the fishing is the best I have ever experienced on a river. As you can see from the pictures I was very happy indeed. I will definitely be back.