Well, I didn’t think I’d be sat here writing this 3 months ago – it’s been some ride! From no fishing, to no fishing in Wales, to almost back to normal. The shop has been absolutely mental and the number of new or returning anglers is truly astonishing. We’ve had the juniors too, which has been nothing short of inspirational. Of course during the early release of lockdown (May 11th in England) it was people fishing the stillwaters – lots of reports of tench, bream and carp, and people generally just having a nice time being outdoors and fishing. What a wonderful sport it is.

We’d just had a full stocking of Patagonia in the shop, but due to the timing we didn’t get a chance to launch. This will wait until next year now, as will my trout fishing. It was pretty tough not being able to travel a few miles and over the border to fish for spotties (brown trout) – but rules are rules. The Westminster government relaxed the overall rules in England for June 15th, and as the day before the start of the season we were happy with this date! It seems everyone else was as well – it’s been absolutely mayhem, and we’ve done well to keep up. The problem the industry had was of no stock and as I write, this is still the case. No one’s got any fishing chairs for example – not one. Fortunately we were well stocked ready for the end of the season, so much of it carried over.

For opening week I was fortunate enough to be on the famous Redmire Pool with friends, and although I blanked over 8 nights it was as truly a spiritual trip as I’ve ever had there. Here is the write up I posted on the Redmire Pool Facebook page – this may give those of you who don’t carp fish some idea of what Redmire is about…..

As you can imagine the anticipation was all consuming in the days leading up - it's one of my favourite parts about it actually, and although it all seems a bit intangible at times, as you come over the cattle grid, presented with that view off into the rolling Herefordshire countryside and beyond into Wales, it suddenly all falls into place.

As you can imagine the anticipation was all consuming in the days leading up - it's one of my favourite parts about it actually, and although it all seems a bit intangible at times, as you come over the cattle grid, presented with that view off into the rolling Herefordshire countryside and beyond into Wales, it suddenly all falls into place.

I've been fortunate enough to have around 15 trips to Redmire, and I look forward to each one more than the last - it really does get better. This trip was no exception, and was up there as the most emotional and spiritual week I've experienced, and I didn't even catch a fish! 8 nights, 7 days fishing, with only a dropped run for my efforts. I stalked, floatered, stalked again, tried Les's bait, tried the going bait (Brasil nut), stalked a bit more, and even had a dabble for the gudgeon and the charming 10 inchers from 2019 year class. Alas, a big fat blank.

I did however have the pleasure of helping others with their captures - Nigel's 2 x 20lbers on the 16th, Simon's 4 fish in 4 hours fishing, and perhaps the most memorable...Jody's first Redmire carp at 1.35am, landed on the punt in heavy rain. The image of that fish coming up through the weed frongs that tower up from the depths, all in the head torch beam, will stay with me forever.

I left the week a happier man than when I arrived, and after an emotional goodbye to the dry patch where my simple life had been spent, I drove the 7 minutes home in a daze. I slept on the floor that first night (like Tom Hanks in Castaway), and the withdrawal was real, but we have to leave to go again right?

No other water I've ever fished has the effect on me that Redmire does - it really is a very, very special place. As for my lack of fish, well I lived the cliché last week - there really is more to fishing than catching fish, and if I fished only to catch fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.

Even though I wasn’t on the river opening week myself, I was of course party to captures and the going methods etc. The biggest concern come opening day was the algal bloom.  This was certainly prevalent in the lead up but with a small spate it relented enough for the start. We then had a ridiculous hot spell, some 30+ deg, followed by a slight cold snap that was enough to drop the temperature of the river. This seemed to kill off the blanket weed, but instead of flushing straight through, we had a steady conveyer of it even up to time of writing. It tumbles down hugging the bed of the river. Within a few minutes it would build on your and lead, and if your hookbait was masked you may as well have had no bait on. Yes, the usual suspects of hemp and caster worked, as did feeder, but it was rolling meat that really stood out. See images for examples of what it was like.

As is common each year now, we had the algal bloom – yes it colours the water and the tumbling silk weed that goes with it does seem to put barbel off feeding static on the bottom, but the the worst thing in my opinion is it’s just very unwelcoming – the river looks dead. It’s not though, and although it stuck around for the first 2 weeks this season, after a short wet period and a slight rise, soon cleared. Still, with the blanket weed tumbling down we resorted to float fishing on the couple of days I had. In the company of my mate Bill, we caught a dozen or so barbel one evening on banded pellet. Yes, I wax lyrical about maggots for this method – but with a maggot ban in place until September 14th you’re left with little choice. The bites come quicker on pellet than maggot, probably due to the small fish unable to intercept the baits as they fall through the water column.

The following week we were honoured with the company of the mighty Dean Macey, firstly on a social trip and the following week filming with Guru Tackle for a new set of short fishing films. As usual these guys did not disappoint and a more professional fishing outfit I’m yet to see – there were barbel caught on the pole as well as feeder and amongst them they had it away. Over 50 barbel and chub over a couple of days. They make a return next month when they’ll be filming Fishing Gurus for ITV again – this is pretty exciting stuff as they’ve left the Wye alone for a few years having been accused of using it too much. Their return is testament to the quality of the fishing though and nowhere has given them the same consistent sport that’s so important to make good entertainment and informative TV.

On to catch reports and there’s been a considerable amount of eels caught, some large ones too (maybe 3lbs). This has been a growing trend during opening weeks and although annoying to many anglers as they tend to destroy a rig, this is a really good sign to be having these wonderful fish increasing in numbers.

Whilst some think the fishing has been poor or patchy, it’s actually been an excellent few weeks – plenty of chub and barbel caught. Catches of 10/15/20 barbel and as many chub a daily occurrence at least somewhere. Those that struggled maybe should be thinking outside the box, and perhaps trying the moving baits that seemed so successful.

If a fishery did start slowly, it soon picked up and by the end of the month, into early July, everywhere has been fishing superbly. Don’t listen to those in the angling press who try to tell you otherwise. Get out here and get fishing. The river is alive with fish and the amount of happy anglers through the door of the shop is testament to this.

Going forward we now have another spate and this can only be good – it should wash all the algae through and early reports suggest the fishing has really kicked off. Try those moving baits if you get chance – we are in the shop and happy to give advice on how to get set up for this.

If we get a warm spell and those oxygen levels drop as the river does, please be mindful when releasing barbel – there’s a barbel handling code on the WUF website. The chub fishing could see some action on the surface, and where there’s small fish, mark the spot for the autumn as I have a feeling we could see some real dace numbers this year.

Whatever you’re fishing for, wherever, I wish you good luck and overall that you enjoy as much as we do.


Adam Fisher is a coarse and game fishing instructor and guide with a wealth of experience fishing the Wye. He also writes for magazines such as 'Improve Your Coarse Fishing.' For more information can be found here.

Please note that the views within this report are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Wye & Usk Foundation.