My first session of the new river season on Saturday evening was mainly spent cowering under my cheap and cheerful Argos brolly, beside an extremely high and coloured river Wye.
Despite the fact that, as I arrived, three anglers that had been on the stretch for the day were pulling off, bite-less between them, I decided to give it a go in spite of the conditions. I settled into a swim that at least had a bit of a slack right under my feet, where my feeder would hopefully settle.
The rain had pretty much held off all day, but of course as soon as I arrived the first drops started to fall from the heavy, slate grey skies. And it didn’t relent, pushing the already swollen river up even further as the evening wore on.
Despite such tricky conditions there were clearly a few fish about. I had two eels and lost another on Spam hook baits before a switch to pellet produced another series of tappy, eel-like bites. When the tip went around just a little bit more deliberately and then stayed there, I decided to hit the bite.
Instead of the expected writhing, fidgety fight of a small eel I was confronted with the powerful resistance of a good fish hugging the bottom in 12 feet of flood water.
A barbel! I was able to play the fish quite hard having geared up with 10lbs line and my old Hyperloop barbel rod, but she battled well and it was a relief when I finally got her in the net. A lovely fish of 6lbs 7ozs was the perfect way to open my river campaign and a memorable first ever Wye barbel.