by Darren Davies
Having fished the River Wye since I was a lad, my original love affair with this beautiful river and its tributaries was in search of chub, which was something of an obsession at the time. My love for barbel came a few years later.
After being encouraged to fish for the barbel by a local bailiff on several occasions and hearing the stories of their fighting qualities I finally decided it was time to target these golden torpedoes. Barbel are quite plentiful in the Wye especially with fish in the 5-6lb bracket so it was no surprise that my first session resulted in a couple of fish of average size. The bites were rod wrenchers, the fights memorable and the fish were in perfect condition.
As an all-round angler, I still kept fishing for the chub, however when the conditions were right, mostly in the warmer months I would again pursue the barbel, they were enjoyable days, there seemed to be less anglers on the bank back then, the scenery was spectacular and the fish obliging.
Eventually over the years, my barbel PB increased with a respectable fish 9lb 2oz and the following seasons saw me catch numerous 9’s with the biggest going 9lb 8oz. Having fished various methods over the years, certainly the most consistent has been the good old open-end feeder, filled with groundbait, pellets and a boilie hook bait generously covered in paste.
The Wye draws thousands of anglers from all over the country and for very good reason, you are often placed in magnificent surroundings, deep in the heart of the countryside, enveloped by nature, wildlife and best of all there are a wealth of fish to target.
As I enjoy fishing for all species, I have never dedicated any length of time fishing for the barbel and a 10lb+ specimen still eludes me as I tried to rectify this last season and decided to put some time in to catch a double, however with the travel restrictions in place and with the river often flooded my chances were kept to a minimum, although I did get close to my target last autumn during a time when conditions were good, the river was carrying a bit of extra water, bit of colour so I arrived at the river early.
Four barbel graced the bank that day, from memory a couple of 7’s preluding the brace of nines, resulting in a PB of 9lb 14oz (pictured below), the funny thing is my barbel PB has increased by 2 ounces everytime since it stood at 9lb 8oz!! Surely the next one has to be the 10lber?
My search will continue, however like most rivers the bigger specimens don’t normally fall until later in the season, lets hope I am not distracted by the pike fishing or the venue that I know that holds big perch and lets not forget the roach on the Severn……….I could do with an extra day in the week!