Wild River Barbelling

Dean Macey spent the day plundering the prolific River Wye on the Welsh Borders recently. He fished the Wyebank stretch, banking well over 20 barbel. Dean adopted simple tactics, using a large blockend feeder with a 2ft IQ Hook Link and a size 12 MWG hook. Wading out to the centre of the river, just upstream of a nice, deep run, Dean simply flicked out his feeder just a few yards downstream. As the rich, black groundbait tricked out in the flow, knocks and trembles on the tip alerted Dean to the presence of fish heading up the scent trail. The first bite was quick in coming – taking all of five seconds! Although he missed the first bite, it didn’t take long before Dean was fast into his first barbel of the day. The wild-river fish bored hard and to reach the rocky riverbed but Dean’s pressure told in the end. He hand landed the mid-single fish by letting it swim upstream and then coaxing it back down towards him with the current.
The rest of the session can only be described as a true red-letter day as Dean lands a succession of beautiful barbel and the odd chub.
He doesn’t even seem to need to loose feed to keep the bites coming. The fish are so switched on to the groundbait that they’re smashing into the feeder as soon as it hits the bottom. Even though he hadn’t actually fished for very long, Dean declared that this had been his best day’s barbeling ever. He reminds me of a philosophy that’s well worth remembering if you’re coming to the Wye… “My mate Nigel Botherway always likes to stop when he knows that he’d have caught another fish or two and I feel exactly the same – I don’t want to use up all my luck because I’m off chubbing next week!” He’s right of course. Because the Wye can be so prolific, it’s better to enjoy it’s wild appeal on an occasional basis because you really wouldn’t want to ever get bored of the best barbeling in the UK now would you?