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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


A Hair Rigged Pellet and Meat Approach on the River Wye

After a delightful weeks fly fishing in Ross-shire on the Fairburn Estates water for brown trout and a nearby loch for pike, it was time to travel south to fish the River Wye near Ross-on-Wye, I had booked 2 nights B&B at New House Farm, Barrel Lane, Aston Ingham, Longhope GL17 OLS Tel 01452-830484

A mile away was a delightful inn, The Penny Farthing which served good food, the soups were extremely delightful. 2 days before my arrival the River Wye had 17 feet of water, no chance of fishing in those conditions. Driving into Ross I was greeted by a river the colour of a thick khaki coloured soup and way over the fields. Fishing was out of the question. I spent a couple of days bird watching chatting with the guys in Wye Angling a tackle shop in Ross situated in Crofts Court off Broad Street not too far from W H Smiths. I also spent some valuable time with my daughter Sharon her husband Greg and my granddaughter Jessica who were over from Dubai for a few days. If you planning to fish at Ross I can recommend the Golden Crust Traditional Bakery in Broad Street Ross, Their wholemeal vegetable pasties and bread are excellent.

Thankfully we only had a few light showers and with the river dropping I thought I might get the chance to fish on the Wednesday, late Tuesday afternoon despite a few football size puddles on the riverside banks I felt I could find a couple of suitable swims the next day. Arrangements were made for my wife Kate to go off shopping with Sharon Greg and Jessica leaving me to fish the powerful river Wye.

Weather conditions on Wednesday morning were good with plenty of cloud cover and a warm breeze with the river between its banks. My mates Will Carter, Martin Salisbury and I joined the Ross angling club ( this season, it was a wise choice and excellent value for money. I had over a dozen good swims to fish in the first hundred yards of river bank. I was spoilt for choice. I chose to fish 2 Harrison 12 foot Triptych rods matched with Shimano baitrunner reels with Gamma 12lb breaking strain line, this is an excellent abrasion resistant line, I have used this line now for about six years and I cannot fault it qualities. On one rod I chose a stonze weight on a running link stopped 18 inches from the size 4 hook, on this occasion I chose to fish a Pallatrax braided hook link. This was my luncheon and sausage meat set up. On my second rod I chose to fish an inline Stonze set up with a short braided link of 8 inches with a size 10 hook and a short hair, to which I would superglue to 2 Ellipse pellets back to back, a bag of PVA Cotswold baits micro-mix pellets attached a foot above the hook bait.

The first swim I chose was at the mouth of a feeder stream, chosen on the advice of the guys from Wye Angling, using a large bait dropper I put in a pint of hemp with some broken bits of meat. the 2 upstream swims were just over the second drop off where the water flowed over a smooth bottom which I reckoned was clay. At the upstream end of these 2 swims I had a very large willow bush which offered cover and shelter. Having baited both swims with hemp and mini pellets I left the baited areas alone for an hour. It was time for a brew, sandwich and catch up with the news in the Anglers Mail. I suppose I had been sitting in the stream mouth swim for some 45 minutes when a fish rolled close to the bank, an encouraging sign.

A Nice Common Carp

I suppose it was around 11am when I cast out a chunk of meat into the mouth of the stream, twenty minutes later the rod tip whacked over and I found myself hook up to a fast moving fish which then shot out into the main flow of the river. As it did so the rod top got pulled over savagely. Barbel I though, but I was wrong as a fish rolled on the surface some twenty yards downstream. With the stream blocking any movement downstream I had to pump the fish towards me. Not an easy task in the fast swirling water. Thankfully all the knots held, after about 10 minutes I netted a common carp estimated at about 12lbs. After removing the hook I turned the fish loose to hopefully grow into a 20lb fish.

I fished on for about an hour during which I had another fresh brew, but no more bites. I didnít see any fish movements or taps on the rod tip. It was time to move, after putting in half a pint of hemp and some more chunks of meat, I moved upstream to swim number 2. I chose to fish with 2 rods one baited with meat which I positioned at the extreme downstream range of the swim . My second rod baited with Ellipse pellets with a small PVA bag of small pellets clipped on the line close to the Stonze weight, was cast and positioned upstream at the end of the trailing willow branches.

Barbel Take Pellets.

I suppose half an hour must have passed when the upstream rod tip sprung back, the line went slack, and quickly picking up the rod, I tightened the line before striking, though I reckon the fish had hooked itself. Soon my first barbel of the session was in the net a nicely coloured fish estimated at 6lbs. As I was releasing the fish my downstream rod whacked round, I was thankful I was using a bait runner otherwise I would have lost my outfit. Five minutes later fish number 2 was in the net, I estimated the fish to be about 6lbs. In fact both barbel were like peas in a pod. During the next hour I had 5 bites 2 missed and 3 fish landed, two about 6lbs the other fish would probably have gone 8lbs plus. For the next 3 hours I had just 1 bite which I missed. Though it did give me plenty of time to make several fresh brews and watch the kingfishers which seemed to be around in profusion. I packed up about 5pm then went off for some food before driving home. A journey of 190 miles which I completed in just under 3hours. For company I had the England match where it was nice to hear Walcott get his hat trick.

Martin James Fishing