No barbel in the river Wye

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Troydog
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No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Troydog »

Its hard to imagine the Wye today without any barbel in it, yet that's how it was when I set up home here in 1977. Or at least no one knew of anyone that had caught a barbel on the Wye. And that's how the H&DAA committee liked it because most of them were salmon fishers.

And then one day on the Wye Championships in 1979 I think it was, a competitor on the Moccas stretch landed three barbel for 21lbs. I was stewarding Byford that day and many of the 25 pegs were blanks. So this extraordinary news was greeted with shock and horror from one set of anglers and delight from another. "So who put them in?" went up the cry. But we never did find out.

Some double figure barbel started appearing in Bulmer club matches at Monnington in the next few years and several of us went in hot pursuit. John Harding from Newbury had an 11:3 in 1983 and a week later I had an 11:14. It was great fun, pioneering stuff it felt like as we snorkelled and sub aqua dived bits of river. Thirty years on and the barbel are everywhere; I have a few babies swimming round my tank in the front room.
Trouble is, the fish just don't read the books......
John Harding

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Dave Burr
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Dave Burr »

Great tale Troydog. I've heard that a barbel appeared in the Builth Wells area and the local paper ran a story about 'a mystery fish' being caught. There was also a stocking in the Lugg. It is of course, pure coincidence that both areas had stretches run by Birmingham AA.

I've also been told of several other stockings done on the quiet in various locations but I think some were just trying to claim that it was all down to them. One thing is for sure, you were very fortunate to be there at the very beginning especially having so few people fishing for them. Changed a bit now eh?

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Troydog
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Troydog »

Thanks a lot Dave. Yes it was good to be barbelling when so few people fished for them. It started to get a bit crowded for me towards the mid eighties so I had some ten or more years on the Lugg. It was great fun because, unlike the Wye you didn't have to dive in to find shoals, you just needed a whole lot of alder trees growing close to likely looking swims. Very many hours of tree climbing and feeding hemp gradually revealed about a dozen grade A barbel swims between Wergins bridge the bottom of the club water - about six miles. A grade A swim ALWAYS had barbel in it, but of course you didn't always catch them!
Trouble is, the fish just don't read the books......
John Harding

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Carl Hier
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Carl Hier »

Appreciate this is an old thread but it struck a few chords with me. I fished the Wye as a 'junior' in the 70's. My local angling club in South Wales would run competitions. We were only allowed to fish through October and November. The seniors would regularly catch 100lb + bags of Chub. Cheese paste was the prominent bait, with some luncheon meat used but it was nothing like as popular as today. Hundreds of salmon parr were caught but didn't count.

A few specialists would concentrate on Pike, with 25lb fish caught on most visits. On stretches like Clyro Court and Glasbury, anglers wee encouraged to kill the Pike at that time.

Sadly, I only ever came second in the junior comps so never won a trophy.
I fished those competitions between 10 and 15 years old - nothing but immensely fond memories.

Fast forward to circa 2007, and following years of work and a young family taking priority, I rediscovered the Wye.
It took several visits and lots of Chub, before the memorable first Barbel came to the net (4lb 4oz).
Barbel and the River Wye have become firm favourites over recent years.
Typically get day ticket access via the Wye and Usk foundation.
Catching a barbel on a float was a special experience.
I've been on 9lb 6oz for a long time now so a key ambition is a double-figure Wye barbel.
One day !

Have always wondered how the Wye barbel got there.
Someone must know?
Never saw a single barbel through the 70's but they've become a major attraction for me these days.
Carl
It's not just about the fish, if waters are calm or rough, even if the net stays dry, just being there's enough.

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Tengisgol
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Tengisgol »

I have written this before but May Berth-Jones writes in Tony Meers' book 'Redmire,' I think it is, of Gerry going off to the Wye at Ross and catching a barbel in the fifties, during a break from the carp. I haven't got the book in front of me as I type so forgive any minor inaccuracy.
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Carl Hier
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Carl Hier »

Thanks Tengisgol. Very interesting. They could well have been in parts of the Wye all that time !
Carl
It's not just about the fish, if waters are calm or rough, even if the net stays dry, just being there's enough.

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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Dave Burr »

Tengisgol wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 1:53 pm I have written this before but May Berth-Jones writes in Tony Meers' book 'Redmire,' I think it is, of Gerry going off to the Wye at Ross and catching a barbel in the fifties, during a break from the carp. I haven't got the book in front of me as I type so forgive any minor inaccuracy.
I've never heard that before Phil, very interesting. I don't think we will ever know who put the first or even subsequent barbel in the Wye, I've heard so many claim to have either done or to know the answer but nothing is corroborated. BAA sections feature highly in early catches though :eyebrow:

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Tengisgol
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Tengisgol »

I think Aitch has still got my copy but I’m sure someone could find May’s chapter and corroborate.
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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Kingfisher »

I moved to Wales in 1980 (march 1st to be precise). That year was a hot summer and I remember wandering along the Groe at Builth Wells and seeing a huge fish under a bush. Later on and after a few more years experiencing catching Barbel myself and I now know that fish was the first Barbel I'd ever seen. Also that year, whilst wading around in the river Ithon (A tributary to the Wye) I was catching stone loach in a butterfly net. I came accross a foot long stone loach which surely must be a new Record. The record dashed off in a clowd of silt and eluded my net. It turned out that looking back, that fish wasn't a record stoneloach but a barbel and the first and only one I've ever seen in the river Ithon to date. I spent much of the 90's being older and now driving fishing the Severn over at Atcham to catch my Barbel. They've never been prolific in the higher reaches of the Wye but they are there. If I remember rightly John Wilson and Martin Bowler shot one of their videos about Barbel fishing on the Wye at Boughrood near Lyswen (Where The Dderw is in casting at the sun). At that time hardly anybody fished that stretch of river for Barbel but there must have been someone clued up enough to tell them to go there, because they caught a few that day.

God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.

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Re: No barbel in the river Wye

Post by Dave Burr »

Kingfisher wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 10:44 pm I moved to Wales in 1980 (march 1st to be precise). That year was a hot summer and I remember wandering along the Groe at Builth Wells and seeing a huge fish under a bush. Later on and after a few more years experiencing catching Barbel myself and I now know that fish was the first Barbel I'd ever seen. Also that year, whilst wading around in the river Ithon (A tributary to the Wye) I was catching stone loach in a butterfly net. I came accross a foot long stone loach which surely must be a new Record. The record dashed off in a clowd of silt and eluded my net. It turned out that looking back, that fish wasn't a record stoneloach but a barbel and the first and only one I've ever seen in the river Ithon to date. I spent much of the 90's being older and now driving fishing the Severn over at Atcham to catch my Barbel. They've never been prolific in the higher reaches of the Wye but they are there. If I remember rightly John Wilson and Martin Bowler shot one of their videos about Barbel fishing on the Wye at Boughrood near Lyswen (Where The Dderw is in casting at the sun). At that time hardly anybody fished that stretch of river for Barbel but there must have been someone clued up enough to tell them to go there, because they caught a few that day.
That's not far upstream from Galsbury isn't it Matt, and there's quite a few barbel around there.

The early barbel at Builth Wells and those on the Lugg were, I believe, both near or on waters controlled by BAA. Just saying is all :whistle:

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