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Old 07-05-2012, 15:01
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Default BFW Wye Fish-in 2005

With the intended Wye fish-In following quickly on the heels of the immensely enjoyable Teme bash, which IMO was the best to date?
Then to have a hand in the organising of this one was rather daunting, and both Ray and I did have numerous doubts as to whether this one, would live up to the high standards set by previous events.

Well!

Suppose the word fools comes into mind, as with the bunch of lads and lasses that BFW have brought together, what other than a most enjoyable fun filled weekend was going to be had, and this was most certainly the case this weekend.



Friday 05-08-2005

Once the old tank was packed with my gear along with the weekend’s supply of cider, it wasn’t long before the quite little cul-de-sac that I live in was disturbed by the roar of boy racer Ray. As he turned up in yet another different car, this one being a RS 2000 I believe, what is it with Ray and fast cars, doesn’t he know he’s getting too old for them, just glad it was my car we would be making the journey up to the Bib’s in, as that should slow the bugger down a bit.

With heavy rain having fallen for most of the previous evening, it was pleasing that just after we left, the sun broke through the grey cloud laden sky and hopefully this bright sunshine would continue throughout the weekend.



Let us in please

Getting to the entrance at the Royal Hotel car park, we were quickly joined by Tommo, seems those concerns over the weekend being a failure were to surface once again, as try as we might, with three different keys! No way was the lock to the entrance gate going to open. As we drove up to the entrance on the top road, praying that the key would still work in this lock, it was decided that Ray and myself would take it in turns and ferry the cars round to this gate for the weekend.

Yes!
Success the key worked, so this meant I was to be taken on a Colin McRae style drive down along the track, as Ray explained he’d done this drive many a time on his PS2, so he knew every bend. So with Tommo left in a trail of dust, down the track the old battle weary tank of mine flew, with me holding on for my life.
Within minutes we arrived at the top meadow which was going to be base camp for the weekend, here we found JW in residence and as usual the kettle was on. After a quick cuppa and a discussion regarding John’s latest choice of chair, (see later) Ray and I made the first of what was going to be many treks back up the track, to greet and direct any new arrivals.



Wye Views

Here is a selection of just some of the spectacular views awaiting the first time visitor to this beautiful stretch of the Wye.
The chairs are just one of a number of amazing wood carvings to be found in the area, these are down by the swing bridge, not as some of you would believe, placed there for Rayo and myself for a well earned break when that bloody key don't work.



Bivvy Meadow

As the afternoon trundled into early evening, the peace and serenity of the top meadow that we had found on our arrival, slowly dissolved into something resembling a Butlins holiday camp. As tents, bivy’s and the odd crèche were erected, along with the coming and going of anglers, each looking for that perfect swim for the weekend, that is the one not that far away from the beer & bbq.

With gate duty over for the day, it was time to catch up with the ones who had gone fishing, or at least that was my intentions. Deciding to start off with a visit to the bottom of the fishery, where I knew Tommo would be and then work my way back along the track to drop in on Tony & Dr D, Steve (scubasteve) & Lee, Mel (Hydropsyche), Tony (Pendost), Dave (barney11) and any others who I had missed whilst doing my car guiding duty. Somehow this never got off the ground as at my first stop came a suggestion from Tommo for dinner in the Saracens, this seemed too good an idea to refuse, so the Saracens it was. Whilst at the pub a few of the later arrivals turned up and were given directions up to the top gate, as no way was I taking them around and going to let my faggots get cold!
Seems Matt didn't quite understand these directions though, as some twenty minutes after leaving Tommo and I to enjoy our pint, back he came, as he could not find the gate. (Matt) now I was more than happy to down the cider and have a lift back to the base camp, but you try getting Tommo to rush his cool smooth pint of Guinness! No way.

Returning from the pub with Tommo we could see the fishing had ended for the day, for most of the party, as we were greeted by the sight of twenty or more anglers sat round the base camp. As to be expected many a great story and tale was being told, and it was great to learn that fish had been caught by quite a few of the party, seemed JW was leading the way with a couple, also Boris had been banked by Andy D, Dave , Mel and Lee.

With the beer now flowing freely, it wasn't long before the banter and joke telling began to take over the evening and no better story was to be told, than Ray's version of Calamity Jane. Seemed embarrassment though prevented him from telling the three female members of the party this story, so guess Claire, Mel and Sue would have to wait until Saturday eve, when a few more beers would be downed, to understand just why the words "Yippee aye yea" seemed to be following Ray around the base camp.

With the prospect of a full days fishing tomorrow on the minds of many, slowly the party broke up as anglers made there way to there tents and bivy's for a good nights sleep, with only a few of the die-hards carrying on with the drinking and joke telling session.
There was to be one other rather funny incident before the night ended, which resulted in Rayo telling a rather loud Ray (tarquin) from the confinements of his tent "there's a youth hostel across the river". Can't really elaborate on this incident, except to say in true BFW fashion handshakes and laughter were to be exchanged in the morning.

Saturday 06-08-2005

As per usual on these fish-In's the early morn breakfast was one to be savoured, with top chef Martin making sure everyone had there full of bacon rolls, along with an endless supply of coffee, which was much appreciated by the late night owls amongst the party.
With just a few more members due to arrive on the Saturday morning, hopefully Ray and myself would get a few hours fishing in, later in the day. But for now the call to gate duty was back upon us, as Paul and his friend Chris arrived and once again, a trek along that bloody track was due.



JW Puts a bend in his i-power

Deciding to give it until mid-day for any late arrivals, Ray and myself remained
around the base camp chatting to the sleepy heads amongst the party.
Here we were entertained by JW, who as we can see from this great action shot
taken by Claire, was soon putting his i-power rod through it's paces, as yet another
Biblin's bronze beauty is expertly played to the net.

Now as for that chair!
For all you Tackle Tarts out there, then this is the latest must have item of tackle.
The Throw Away Chair, JW picked his up on the way to the fish-In and got himself
a real bargain, as the cost was nothing.
Apparently these chairs can be picked up on the bank of any riverside pub with a beer
garden, being of an extremely light weight construction, along with, an easy to maintain wonderful wipe clean finish, these chairs are due to take the angling world by storm.
(You read it here first)



You really going fishing Tony?

It did take quite a bit of persuasion, but eventually a few of the lads convinced Tony, that fishing is allowed when on these fish-In's.



That's not a Barbel Steve

Around lunch time the last of the anglers due for the weekend had arrived, but unfortunately for a few of the party it was time for goodbyes.

Steve & Lee had a date with what turned out to be a rather large Eel, (sorry Steve the Chub maybe but the Eel?) but it was great to hear they had both managed to catch on Friday eve.

Also Tony (Pendost) was to say his goodbyes as a holiday to Spain was on the horizon.



Lee's 4lb Barbel

With everyone settled in there swims for the day, now was a good time to get the gear out of the car and actually do what your suppose to do on these fish-Ins, go fishing. Was shocked to find the swim that I decided to fish still vacant with so many anglers on the bank, especially as the area in question had been mentioned to quite a few of the party, as usually being somewhat productive.
After two hours of inactivity I was glad to have some company on the bank, but was somewhat surprised by the company, as this was a most inquisitive fox!



My furry friend

It seemed to me that this poor little critter had not had a decent meal for quite a while, as straight away it was sniffing around my bucket of Waka's.
Not content with just sniffing around my bait, the fox made a grab for a bag of paste that was on the bank next to me! This seen foxy and me having a right old tussle, with me eventually winning but losing half the bag to him.

Having made the mistake of giving him a number of pellets, bolies and a large dollop of my paste, it seemed I had occurred a friend for life. This would have been no problem, but when one his trying to concentrate on the rod tip, having a fox mooching around no more than a foot away, can be a little distracting!

Eventually a slight nudge with my landing net pole seen foxy scurrying away through the undergrowth, allowing me to get on with my blanking.
Within ten minutes of the fox departing a strange wet sensation on the back of my head, had me all but falling in the water! As my friend had returned and given me a nudge to let me know! Time for a move I think?



Thanks Foxy

This fox induced move seen me having to negotiate quite a steep bank, something which I was reluctant to do at first, with having a dodgy knee.
It did mean however I was able to fish the same swim I had been fishing, but from this new location it was far easier to get the bait where I expected Boris to be.

Just as expected, the fish were just out of reach from where I had been fishing, as the tree canopy prevented me getting the bait out into the flow. But within minutes of putting the bait where I wanted it, the rod tip hoops over and my first BFW fish-In Barbel is on its way to the landing net.
This was being held by John (john fisherman) who had stopped off on his way back up river, having had no luck just down below me. With John being in attendance a decent picture of the fish was taken, so now Ray would have to believe I'd actually caught a Barbel.

The move proved to be quite a productive one, as in what was a great action packed two hour period, four more Boris, along with a couple lost due to hook pulls, kept me entertained.
But with Ray picking me back up at 6 pm the time soon came around, to pack the gear away and head back up to the base camp for the nights entertainment.

Seems the bbq and socialising was about to be put on hold for Ray and myself, as a rather excited Ray came rushing through the trees exclaiming "quick Malc you are about to see the biggest Barbel you've ever seen".
Going on to explain some chap down river was having the fight of a lifetime with some monstrous fish, which he had been fighting with for over an hour, quickly the gear was thrown in the car and back down river we headed.

Getting to this chap my first impressions were "cheers Ray this is a wind up," as Ray directed me to, what appeared to be yet another of those fabulous wood carvings, that can be found along the stretch. This one being of a motionless angler, with his rod in a outstretched hand across the river, not until this figure uttered the words "I still can't move her" did I know it was indeed a real angler.
It seems this chap had been fishing for Chub and was totally under-gunned for the fish he had hooked, it quickly became apparent that no matter what this angler did, he was not going to land this fish with the tackle in hand!
Now having finished my last can of cider some two hours back and by now the bbq in full swing no doubt, it was hard work trying to convince Ray "we really should get back to the others, as I'm sure we'll be missed". But it was even harder work convincing this angler, "that you'll still be holding on to that bloody rod come breakfast time".

Eventually the inevitable happened, as the moment this chap applied some pressure to the rod, him and Boris parted company as his hook length snapped. With a quick explanation from Ray and I, that, maybe fishing halibut pellets on a four pound hook length, on this stretch of the Wye is not a good idea, we at last headed back up river to join the nights festivities.
This incident however did get the nights banter off to a cracking start, as with such a bevy of talented, knowledgeable anglers gathered around the base camp, it was quickly established that this fish would have indeed smashed the current Barbel record into oblivion, think Chris's (Felix) suggested weight of 97lb, was finally agreed upon for this fish.



Andy's on the Waka

With the bbq now in full swing everybody was getting into that relaxed, comfortable mood that these occasions bring about, and as to be expected with Martin supplying the food for the bbq, this was of top quality and once again far more available then what would be eaten, even if Ray did try his hardest to make sure none would be left. With more than twenty anglers sat round the base camp enjoying a few beers, seems one member of the party was braver than most, as Matt decided now would be a good time to trundle a piece of meat through JW's swim. This is when it became apparent to those on the bank, that Matt is one of the shorter members of the male species, and he did look kind of strange with the water lapping up around his chest, especially in that little pink hat. (Why didn't I get the camera out?) Not sure if it was the cries from the bank of "stand up Matt it's easier that way" - "stop kneeling down Matt" or the little bootlace eel that he managed to catch, but know this must have been one of Matt's shortest (pun intended) sessions ever, or was it the call for the group picture, that seen him scampering back up the bank.



Top row left to right

Darrell
Sue
Martin
Ray Whittaker
Chris Netto
Malc
JW
Andy F
Rayo & Dolly
Dave Gawthorn
Brian
Andy Notts
John Holmes
Mel
Matt


Bottom row left to right

Dave Riach
Ian
Jeff
Claire
Paul
Chris
Tony
Andy D




Chilling out

This sequence of pictures shows a few of the boys enjoying a chat, along with the usual beer or three, that is all except the last kind of fuzzy one of Tony.
This so Claire informed me, was taken with her new camera, apparently this camera takes what the user is seeing and not what the camera views. That picture was taken at 8.30 pm Saturday by Dr Davies, make of that what you will.

As darkness descended on the banks of the Bib's, it brought with it quite a drop in temperature for an early August evening. So with the bbq now over, the disposable trays were quickly refilled with wood from the forest and anglers jostled to get just that bit closer to the fire.
This meant we were to take it in turns to go out into the darkness of the forest to forage for firewood, was a strange sight, seeing little headlamps appearing through the blackness of the night, as each returned with there collection of wood. Somehow I didn't think it was quite fair that Claire was voted top collector, as this meant she took the brunt of the collecting.
This collection of wood however did lead to a spectacular sight, as each person deposited there wood on the fire, a swift little blow on this newly placed wood by old dragon breath himself Andy F, had the flames leaping up around the gazebo.
All I can say Claire if ever he wants to whisper sweet nothings in your ear, "don't go there"

With a few of the party having called it a night, they were to miss what appeared to be an apparition, as out of the darkness of the night two stunning girls appeared with drinks in hand. Quickly followed by two more just as attractive beauties, never have I seen so many anglers willing to give up there chairs, along with a willingness to squeeze up in there one man bivy's, if these girls needed a bed for the night.
It is pleasing to say, the situation was handled superbly by Tony, as a request from these girls to join the party, was flatly refused, think somehow though they may have had second thoughts themselves.
As whilst standing there chatting to us, one of the girls leapt back with a startled look on her face, this came about after a low groaning, growling noise rose up out of the bivy they were next to. "You've got a guard dog in there" exclaimed one of the girls, this had the entire base camp rolling about with laughter. None more so than Dave G (Bornslippee) who having made the journey up earlier in the evening, just for the social, found this event alone worth the effort, as the noise was none other than JW getting forty winks.

Just after the girls departed the willingness to collect firewood seemed to increase for quite a few of the party, as the chance of bumping into these girls of the night, did kind of have it's appeal. It wasn't long before all but a few remained around the dwindling fire, and a glance at the watch exclaimed why!
With tiredness now strongly taking over body and maybe drink taking over mind, when the call came for me to collect wood, it somehow seemed an easier option to burn my socks, boy did the little blighters glow. Seems this may quickly develop into something of a ritual for future fish-In's, as both Tony and Andy Notts quickly followed with there own, flame producing beauties. With one or two anglers beginning to stir around us and daylight now beginning to break, it really must be time for bed I was thinking. This was quickly confirmed when a conversation about twin tip rods, led to Andy asking "what are the strengths of a tin twips rod" on three occasions "Yep it really was bedtime".

Sunday 07-08-2005

Did I really get just the two hours sleep or am I dreaming, these were my thoughts as I stood there along with a few of the other early risers, drinking what was already my second cup of coffee. It wasn't long before the smell of the bacon that was frazzling on the stove, was wafting down through the top meadow, this had it's desired effect, as in no time at all quite a gathering had amassed around the base camp. With stories being told over the bacon rolls and cups of coffee, of the previous nights antics, to those more sensible anglers amongst us, who went off to bed at a decent hour. (My head wished I was one of them)



"Bump it off Darrell"

With quite a few of the party having long journeys to make back home, it was obvious not a lot of fishing was going to be done today.
This however did not stop JW having a go and with quite a crowd upon the bank, he had plenty of support and advice shouted down to him. Not sure however if some of this advice was constructive, but it was all offered in good spirit.

Especially when master gillie Darrell was about to land a small Barbel John had just caught, to the usual cries of "bump it off Dar" Darrell was having none of it however and another one was added to John's tally for the weekend.

Just after this fish was landed another bite resulted in John missing the culprit, but on retrieving his rig from the water, he found rather strangely, a fin perfect one inch Barbel which was fairly hooked in the top lip. I wonder if he added that one to his total for the weekend.



The ultimate remote control baitboat

Within minutes of JW vacating his swim, top poacher Rayo dived in behind him, this led to one of the most amusing incidents of the weekend. With Ray having not used any of the hemp he had brought along for the weekends fishing, he decided to ask one of the many canoeist passing through the swim to deposit the hemp in his swim.

This alone was quite amusing, as just lets say, the canoeist is not exactly Ray's favourite river user, but with the crowd of anglers on the bank, each offering there advice as to which bush Ray wanted it tipped under , it's no wonder the canoeist got confused.

This entertainment was to no avail however as Ray didn't manage to winkle one out.



My turn with the camera John

Deciding to have a few hours fishing with Chris before packing the gear away, we headed off down river to see what swims were available, spotting John's car alongside the swim I'd fished the day before, we parked up to check on how he was doing. This was just about perfect timing for John, as nestled in the bottom of his landing net was a beautiful Barbel getting on for nine pounds by the look of it.

This time it was my turn to operate the camera and what a pleasure that was, with this being John's first visit to the Wye it was great to see the smile on his face. Seems he had every reason to be pleased with himself, as this fish was just one of a five fish bonanza.

Chris and I did wet a line for an hour or so, but unfortunately Chris was not to savor the delights of his first Wye Barbel.
This may not have been such a bad outcome however, as Chris was suffering from tendon damage in his arm. "They don't half pull a bit Chris"



How much!

Getting back to the base camp it was obvious the weekends jollies were coming to an end, as just a few tents and bivy's remained, along with a few bleary eyed anglers, who no doubt were now feeling the effects of the evening before.

Fortunately Andy had regained his wits after the nights festivities, as I'm sure he would have been convinced the £25 asking price for JW's new found chair was a snip.

Ray on the other hand was having great difficulty in convincing Dolly "we really must get the gear packed away and head off home."



Come on Dolly it's home time

With the last of the gear finally packed away and Ray having eventually convinced Dolly that, "yes there will be other fish-In's we can attend" it was time for the final farewells to be said.

Once again the meadow was back to it's beautiful best, and this was a credit to all who attended the event, as no signs whatsoever were left of the weekends activities.

As with any of these fish-In's, appreciation is shown to those who help put them together, but as Tony posted after the event.
The real congratulations and appreciation must go to those who actually attend these events, "as it is you who make these fish-In's what they are".

With £400 being raised for The Children's Paediatric Ward University Hospital Wales, during the course of the weekend. Then I personally would like to thank and congratulate all who attended, as this amount raised was the icing on the cake, to what was a most truly enjoyable weekend.




Tranquillity returned


"Here's to the next one"

by Malcolm Clarke
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