Weekend off and always anticipated next outing would be the Wednesday. Only surprise was that, following a phone call Monday, I ended up fishing the Wye Festival, filling in for Deron Harper.
Day 1 Red Zone, peg 48. Fancied that, CB had done 25Lbs off it on the Sunday and there had been a lot of fish in the half-dozen or so pegs above the bridge. I set up a 6g Bolo with a size 12 Matrix to fish bread, a 4g Bolo with a size 14 B512 to fish maggot, and a 10 x No.4 big lignum stick to fish down the inside. I mixed up 8 Pints of GB with 3 Pints each of Caster and Hemp, and kicked off on the maggot bolo 1/3rd across over balls of groundbait whilee I loose fed inside.
I was well prepared for the possibility that it might be a slow start, but not as slow as it turned out, a few decent Dace but right down the peg, so I switched to the stick for a spell but only managed to nail a few Bleak, so I reverted to the bolo and basically stuck with it until the end. There were a couple of instances when I saw some encouraging signs. I eventually managed to get a few bites and fish up on my feed. Late in the match I had a short run of Chublets. But overall it was a bit of a struggle for bites, the last 90 minutes were particularly hard, and I was quite surprised when I dropped 9-7-0 on the scales because I didn’t think I had anywhere near that. On reflection, the 6g bolo handled better and I should have gone with a pair of those, and I actually think I overfed the peg, albeit for the right reasons as I knew I had to move fish up from somewhere.
There were better weights further up including an excellent 20Lbs+ from Hadrian Whittle from a very non-descript peg (45). Slightly better weights down towards the bridge but nowhere near Sunday’s weights, 20Lbs+ below the bridge and off the bottom pegs on the railings. Also some good weights off 87/86/85 but poor weights in the 90s and lower down on the Rowing Club side.
Day 2 Blue Zone peg 92. Basic game plan was the same as the previous day, peg was nearly exactly the same depth but flow and colour had dropped with a 12″ drop in level. I also set up a 4AAA waggler to fish mid-depth, and a 3g bodied rig on the Airity at 7m to hand. Slightly lighter groundbait mix and less of it (only 8 Pints!!!!). I ended up using 6 Pints with 1 Pt of hemp and 1.5 Pts of caster, but I only cut back on the feed content because I was intending to loose feed as well as groundbait. Kicked off with the 6g rig and double 10mm Breadpunch, no sign of a Chub in the first 20 minutes so I switched to the 4g rig with double maggot and started picking up bites straight off. First few fish looked promising, 2 decent Dace and a net Roach, and I found that the best way to get a bite was to let the float run even though the downstream wind was making it a bit ugly. Mending the line to get behind the float was a waste of time. So ugly it was, and there were some decent Dace about, but I struggled to string together a decent run of bites. I’d pick off 2 maybe 3 fish, then have to wait for my next run. Or I’d have a brief run-in with Bleak, and have to switch to loose feeding hemp only. I was desperately hoping that the Chublets would turn up because that would have made the peg viable, but I didn’t actually catch one until 10 minutes or so before the all-out.
So, a slightly frustrating session, reasonable bit of fishing but could have been so much better! I weighed in 11-8-0 which was some way better than the previous day from that area, but there was a 33Lbs+ off peg 94, (Dace/Chublets on mag and wag), plus a 27Lbs+ (mainly Chub/Chublets) off 96 so my weight was the lowest in my 5 peg half-section and probably 2nd or 3rd lowest in the 10 peg section. 32 Lbs off the middle of the Courts (!!), loads of 20Lb plus weights through the 80s as the river improved in response to a warmer night and a better level and flow.
Day 3 Yellow Zone peg 52. Just as well because I had a school run first and needed a short walk when I turned up at about 9.15. As it was, a single rod approach with the 6g bolo meant I was easily ready on time for the 10.30 all-in. Two early Dace, then three Chublets followed by a long gap before I took two Roach and a further Chublet. So not brilliant, tipped back 3Lbs odd and I was quite happy to wrap it in at 1.00 pm so I could do the school run pick-up. Ben Roberts below me weighed in 6Lbs odd with a late run of fish so I was probably level pegging with him when I had to pull stumps.
So, an unexpected and fairly cheap introduction to the Wye Festival (as in £50 of bait and £45 of fuel!!). I wasn’t able to capitalise on what looked like 3 decent draws, definitely not up to speed on match fishing the venue, haven’t got a handle on the feeding which tends to be more aggresive than anywhere else I can think of. And there is a clique of real venue experts plus some real class ‘visitors’, and they will bag up given half a chance. The other thing that was noticeable this week, and possibly a reminder that I’m still waiting to find out what my heart issues are, is that I was absolutely shattered by Friday. It is a far more physical river than most, I’ve basically spend 12.5 hours lobbing out a biggish bolo and firing out groundbait or loose feed. And the three early starts and return journeys probably haven’t helped. So quite a few issues to consider if I were to get offered my own ticket next year.