November 7, 2014

Home Fishery and Thomas Wood Fishery Breaking News 7th November 2014

From January 1st 2015 HOME and THOMAS WOOD coarse fisheries, collectively known as the Upper Courtfield Fishery, will be run by Adam Fisher as part of his fabulous ANGLING DREAMS portfolio.

This will allow these great Wye coarse fishing beats to benefit from Adam’s skills and experience and to be managed to the level necessary for fishermen to best enjoy the diverse potential that they offer for specimen barbel,chub,pike and perch.

Spring Salmon fishing between 3rd March and 15th June will continue to be run by Don Macer-Wright through Lower Wye Fishing. See Upper Courtfield Spring Salmon pages Home Beat Thomas Wood Beat

“The salmon fishing continues to be difficult on the Wye. However there is nowhere where salmon fishermen are more likely to catch MSW salmon upwards of 20 pounds in weight in the British Isles than on the river Wye, as recent seasons have demonstrated. Courtfield fisheries get their share of these wonderful salmon and Upper Courtfield beats provide some historic pools and runs where great fish were regularly caught in the past. By concentrating on the salmon side of the fishing only I shall be better able to promote and maximise the salmon fishing potential for the benefit of salmon anglers. My policy is to provide fishing at reasonable and for that matter unbeatable prices for the lower Wye.”  Don Macer-Wright

April 30, 2014

April 2014 salmon fishing on Wyebank and Courtfield

I would have liked to see a few more fish for April, but 2nd equal for the month with Severn Sisters and Wyesham and one fish behind Ingestone deserves a mention. Courtfield also produced the 2nd largest fish at 24lbs behind Caradoc with 25lb. It is hardly worth boasting about with only 5 fish caught for the month, but it is worth pointing out that Wyebank at £25/day and Courtfield at £35/day is hugely less than most of the other mentioned fisheries.

May 5, 2013

Sedimentation and no Ranunculus in the lower River Wye at Lydbrook 2013

Water levels have been slowly falling and at the beginning of May are now 2″ and more below summer level. Clear water and bright conditions have allowed a full inspection of the stone and gravel  river bed through the Lydbrook shallows at the bottom end of Courtfield and Wyebank. As suspected the bed has significant sedimentation and hardly any ranunculus. From my experience I believe it is the only year in a decade or more when  ranunculus growth at this point in time has been limited to a few patches here and there. I believe  it is probably the result of protracted turbidity since May 2012 up to early 2013. More worrying is the extensive growth of blanket weed showing over much of the river bed combined also with extensive covering of blanket weed stifled by sedimentation.

Ranunculus whilst important in the habitat of the lower Wye for providing shelter for fish species, is vital for maintaining water levels. As flows drop through the late spring and early summer ranunculus grows and creates an expanding biomass, which acts as a natural dam, thereby raising and maintaining water levels, whilst maintaining daily oxygen levels. Without the ranunculus there is nothing to prevent the important shallows from rapidly drying up.

There must be a concern that with an enriched river bed, as demonstrated by the blanket weed, and a rapidly falling river that we may be facing a high risk of excessively low water, high algal blooms and de-oxygenation, if the weather moves back to low rainfall and high temperatures. There is probably no single greater issue on the river Wye at the present time than the appalling loss of soil from the land, being carried directly into the river with every flood, with the diffuse pollution it brings, combined also with storm discharge policies allowing untreated sewage and chemicals to flow freely into the river.

April 15, 2013

A river Wye monster salmon?

I am back both physically and mentally exhausted, after the best part of two hours bank work, whilst struggling with my conscience and replaying what appeared to have happened this afternoon after lunch.
Simon this morning reported filthy water on its way from the Ithon which will put paid to any fishing for days, so with 3ft of water and only one place that I know of with deep water and a fishable flow at this level I headed for Legg meadow crib and the last chance of a last fish before this water takes them all upstream.
This is the story of what happened. I should start by saying this is the first time in what I have to admit is 45 years of river keepering and occasional fishing, that I have ever fallen in, whether river, stream, lake or pond. I have always maintained this fact as rather a proud boast, and if you have ever cleaned rickety chalk stream weed racks, worked on hatch control in all weathers of flood and ice and once upon a time worked the eel traps in the pitch dark of August floods, electro fished from punts for spawning pike and walked the gunwale with loads of chalk for bank repairs, you’ll know why. Today’s experience was also the scariest thing that has happened to me in those 45 years.
I cast out my yellow belly devon minnow with a sliding weight set up I use and after a number of casts snag free, I had the sort of take which I have now experienced several times on the Wye, and particularly in this stretch when the slow retrieve of the devon just stops and everything goes solid. These aren’t aggressive takes but seem to be big fish moving to the minnow and sucking it in before closing their jaws on it. The previous two occasions when both fish were lost, the fish moved after about 15 seconds to half a minute, this time it didn’t budge and the steady side strain I applied did nothing. I was sure it wasn’t the bottom as I was fishing what I am pretty certain was mid water. For what seemed to me a good 5 minutes but was probably half that, nothing happened beyond a periodical tremor through the line and what felt like head shaking but could have been the play of the current, Although I have rewound this over and over in my mind I think I was convinced it was fish as there was none of the give and take from a snag and I think there was a subtle movement in the body of the beast.
Then it was really over,  the fish moved 4 or 5 yards or so up into the pool allowing me to exert massive, and I mean all or nothing, side strain as for once I was as convinced as I could be that my line would hold. The fish must have suddenly freaked as without any warning it turned and came towards the bank fast when I saw this monstrous shape, all black, and I have this frightful image of its eye as it turned making a huge vortex like swirl and sped into the deep water causing a huge hit to the rod which pulled me off balance, and you all know what these Wye banks are like. I slipped and went straight in to my waist on my back. With rod grasped in my right hand it was pointing straight across the river and the fish would have pulled it clear of my hand had not the line stretched giving me that sickening knowledge that it was all over, as I grasped at the roots to prevent me sliding into the depths. The line went slack and in my subconscious I’m sure I heard the line ping as it broke. You’re probably thinking what an idiot for not releasing the clutch a little!

I had tightened the clutch to allow me to keep a constant heavy strain on the fish. When it moved it came up river so that I could gain line and then I gave it stick, not expecting the fish to rush the bank. I must have then reeled some line but it was all happening so fast. I think the fish either surprised itself or saw me. I don’t think it realised it was tethered by the line until I got the side strain on, when it suddenly took fright rushing towards the bank only to realise its mistake. I in the meantime literally had no chance to lessen the clutch tension and found myself staring and I think transfixed by this beast of a fish which looked huge and black, and I saw its eye as it turned at about 2feet below the surface. The water literally opened into a hole and the next thing I knew was the rod hit by the tightening line as the fish took up the slack it had created, I slipped lost my balance and was in the water foolishly grasping for the bank as the rod pointed towards the river and it was all over.

As I crawled back up the bank, having pulled something in my leg I thought to myself what was that fish, had I hooked a sturgeon I thought. of course not. I possibly saw a streak of silver but all I can see in my mind is a big black green fish as long as my computer table that I’m now sitting at. in fact it seemed bigger than that but of course it can’t have been. Fish are reckoned to look smaller than they are in the water, well to me this one did not. It clearly was all wrong for a big pike and no way was it a pike’s head. It was a great salmon, that in Adam’s words of the other day “was to big to lift”. I cannot possibly put a weight on this fish, It really was a big one that got away. Adam Fisher has had one, I saw one the other week before Adam’s fish was caught, which looked hugely bigger than a low thirty pounder. Last year a fisherman in Legg meadow saw a huge fish “porpoise” in Legg meadow of Courtfield in late January/ early February. I believe Gilbert’s famed portmanteaux may be back in the Wye and it is now only a matter of time until one is photographed on the bank.

The sensation this fish created in me was one of pure adrenalin filled fear for the unknown, the type of fear I have experienced as a surfer committing myself to a danger filled wave carrying the banner of drowning writ in invisible writing along its pitching crest.

April 15, 2013

River Wye Courtfield, what a day for running fish

What a day yesterday proved to be. Perfect conditions except for the subtly rising river which can probably be blamed for the failure of 4 fishermen to catch anything. The ferry pool, willow run and Craig y Heul run all had fish showing. Clive between 3.30 and 4.30 never saw so many fish. I was talking to him at 3.25 at the metal steps when he said he had seen absolutely nothing all day. it was then 13 degrees, clear water and started raining lightly but not drizzle. I saw a rise and a head show and said there you go, followed by two more. Clive legged it down I got Ocean, my rising 5 yr old son from the car and went down to watch. Fish started rising regularly and head and tailing in front of us. Left Clive to it and saw him later. He saw at least 20 good fish, small springers and big, head and tail and generally show but couldn’t interest anything! Rene saw fish in the ferry pool and Craig y Heul run early morning but no takers. Clive has never experienced anything like it.
If your line is not in the water you won’t catch fish, if it is you probably won’t, if you do you are either lucky, its a perfect moment, or a falling river and fish have arrived Very recently, or you are a very clever salmon fishermen. They say salmon are free takers on the Wye. Well not always so! I am pretty convinced salmon are in there most of the time and that most of the time they will not take. Not that many years ago they would start prawn fishing about now and that was pretty deadly, we’ve moved on!

I am pretty convinced that for Courtfield we need a rise of only a few inches at 1ft of water which will bring salmon up the long shallows and through the Lydbrook rapids into the ferry pool. If the water drops rapidly they will stay there and if it drops back quickly to 6″ or less Courtfield and Craig y Heul will have a bonanza. If it stays around a foot but drops slowly I think they will move into Legg Meadow pool and rest up there as demonstrated last week.

This week I hope to finish clearing willow at the pipes and alders bottom end of Legg meadow pool but with 2ft 2″ today I doubt we shall reap the benefits of this run, that will be the luck of beats above, between us and Hereford and I think up to Glasbury miay be seeing fish by tomorrow.

July 31, 2012

Salmon and barbel update 31st July 2012 Wyebank and Courtfield

The river has been at a perfect level between 1ft4″ and now 6″ over the past week. We have seen significant numbers of salmon and grilse on both Wyebank and Courtfield and already salmon on Courtfield are settling down and difficult to catch. Rudi had two salmon last Thursday on Wyebank including a grilse of 5lb and a slightly larger fish of 6-7lb which may have been a 2SW small summer fish and I had two on Wyebank the day before of 8lb and 14lb.

The barbel fishing has become slower with the drop in water and still difficult fishing conditions but is now settling in towards a rhythm of fish early morning and again good sport after 5pm. Double figure fish have become elusive, the odd ones are being caught, but it is fish in the 9-10lb bracket which are being caught in good numbers. A very large double was lost through a line break at no 5 swim a few days ago, from the star spot towards the opposite bank in front of the hole in the willow bush.

Chub catches continue to be a good support for a days fishing enjoyment with plenty of lovely chub in the 4-5lb class. If the barbel fishing is slow the rewards for some dedicated chub fishing can be fantastic. The 6 pounders are there in Courtfield and a 7 pounder is annually on the cards. There is no reason why there might not be an 8 pounder lurking somewhere. These are top ranking specimen fish.

Everywhere is now fishable at last. The boat pool and swims below are very underfished and hold fantastic promise. One local fisherman regularly had barbel to 12 and 13lbs along here. My advice for August is to make the best of the fishery and do not just plump for the same swims which are most fished, sometimes  out of convenience. Take a copy of the where to fish guide with you.

What the forecast unsettled month of August will do to the river only time will tell. At the moment my guess is that we may not see the below summer levels that we have been so used to the last few years. This will make the fishing more challenging especially on Wyebank. However the quality fish are there with doubles to be caught just as on Courtfield, so persevere and when the water is low enough give all the pools a good working over. Keep the groud bait going in – remember the Wye is teeming with small fry which empty those swim feeders pretty quick.

July 23, 2012

The River Wye is down at last and fantastic barbel catches.

As at this morning Monday 23rd July the river Wye at Wyebank and Courtfield is at 2ft and should be 1ft 6″ tomorrow. It is starting to clear at last. We have had five continuous weeks of high and coloured water. The salmon fishing has been at a standstill. However significant numbers of salmon have been seen passing through with one very good run of fish seen at the end of the first week week of July.

Barbel catches have continued steadily despite the fluctuating river levels with some superb catches. Last week Andrew Sands fishing under Kenny Parson’s guidance caught 16 barbel on Tuesday and 14 on Wednesday, best fish bang on 10lbs, while his friend Paul had lots of barbel to 9.5lbs. They both also caught lots of chub to 4lbs plus. The catches have been mainly from the top swims of Leggs Meadow, where at times the banks have been very slippery and treacherous. However the swims are now all accessible and the banks dry and firm at last.

There are plenty of vacancies for bookings on both Courtfield and Wyebank in August and now is the time to make that booking for what promises to be some spectacular barbel fishing once the river is down to summer level, which should be in a week or so from now. A superb barbel of 11lbs 12oz was caught from Wyebank and fish over 10lbs from Wyebank and Courtfield, with 10lbs 12oz the largest so far from Courtfield. Get on the water early is my advice, certainly before 6 am if you can and also fish to beyond dusk.

Salmon fishing could take off again any day so watch the reports and go to the Lower Wye Fishing facebook page for daily updates.

nb. Please note i shall be away throughout August but Rudi will be around when he can.

June 20, 2012

Lower Wye Fishing on Facebook

There is a facebook page with regular updates on river heights, catches and prospects etc., for all coarse and game fishing.

June 12, 2012

Latest big Wye flood charges through

After Rudi Lighert’s catch of two small springers last Thursday the river came up with a vengeance following Thursday’s rain in the Welsh hills of the western catchment. By Saturday the gauge was showing 13ft at Lydbrook which climbed slightly to 13ft 6″ by Sunday evening. Monday morning showed an astonishing drop of 10ft overnight. Having expected the river to be closed here for a week it was just about fishable along Wyebank’s left bank Monday afternoon and Tuesday showing little change in level at 3ft 4″ was nonetheless definitely fishable with more than a foot of visibility through the slightly clearing water. Courtfield is still too high but those pools that can be fished may be worth the effort tomorrow, Wednesday 13th.

There are plenty of salmon days available at present through the latter half of June  on Wyebank, but not so many on Courtfield. Anyone wanting to fish either or both of these beats should ring on 07748534782 and ask for Don. The total catch for the Wyebank and Courtfield fishery is currently 22 salmon caught and released, which rather remarkably places the fishery 3rd behind the giants Bigsweir and Wyesham.

June 12, 2012

Another good salmon week for Wyebank and Courtfield

Another six fish between Friday 1st and Thursday 7th June. An 8lb and 10lb for Don Macer-Wright on Bann shrimp last Friday from Wyebank followed by a 12lb on yellow and green devon on Saturday from Courtfield. Then a 15 pounder for Jason Conlon on Wednesday followed by two 8 pounders for Rudi Lighert on flying c, one from Courtfield and one from Wyebank on Thursday before the latest flood comes through.