The one that got away.

Written By
Adam Bowen.

I have fished many of the rivers in the North West, with a few on my hit list like the Bollin and the Ribble, but I am consistently surprised by every adventure for Barbel or anything that swims, by the sheer enjoyment I get from not only from seeing a new stretch of river, but you never know what it is going to throw at you regarding depth, features, flow and all importantly what lies beneath, as you never know there could be a PB just around the next bend or hiding under the next tree.

The river Vyrnwy was this particular adventure, a tributary of the Seven, and a fantastic section of river, not as well known as the Severn, Trent of Ribble, but one of the sexiest looking stretch of moving glass I have seen this  year, bags of character, intimate with a wild edge to it. One of the issues I believe is missing from most day ticket or 24hr tickets is the roaming availability, as the opportunity to practice this can be limited on the more popular stretches where Barbel are hunted. With a twisting turning mile to go at, comprising of deep glides, holes and over hanging trees with fish holding back eddies, this body of water lends itself to the static or roaming Barbel attack, waggler or stick float and even some fly or check nymph fishing.

The Campsite and river are set in a picturesque village, with breathtaking views and a feeling of true tranquillity, and where else can you wet a line in the shadow of a 14th century church. The atmosphere at the campsite is one of relaxation and beauty, worked into the country side, to give your stay and your angling a traditional authentic feel. The bank of the river at the campsite has pegs which are high but manageable if you like you fishing interesting. The swims downstream and in the field to your right from the campsite are better for access and are very fishy, the rest of the upper river has plenty of opportunity to drop in for half an hour to try your hand, or bait and move depending on what you want to do.

Now the fishing, once we had fishing walking the length was a mixture of static, trotting and roving. My company for this adventure was Danny Stone and Graham Tasker, two anglers who share my love of Barbel and all things wet that run. Danny settled on the peg behind the church, with over hanging trees, deep runs and fish holding features he was set. Graham chose the upper stream peg of the camp field with a deep run down the middle and over hanging trees on the far bank. I chose the field to the right of the campsite, first peg which was narrow and fast, but looked like it would produce a few fish.

Danny managed six Chub between four and six pound falling to boillie  with pellet and ground bait in the feeder, Graham managed a mixture of small chub to a pound, on 10mm bollie and 8mm pellet. I fished the stick as my Barbel rod never moved at all, but I managed around 45-50 small Chub and Dace for some epic and frantic sport on maggot. The Barbel angling I'm told will produced doubles and can be fantastic, unfortunately we never landed one on this occasion, but that's why it's called fishing and not catching. Graham missed a run while we were having breakfast and I missed an absolute screamer, I mean one of my alarms sang and that fish wanted  my rod, but I was half a field away chatting to the owner, I left my rods in as a last cast under a far tree scenario as I was packing away, never thought it would hoop over, I battled what felt like a double,  fighting it back up stream under the trees on the far bank, to eventually lose it at the last tree on the hook length, I was gutted I lost that fish, all my own fault but it gave me a sense of achievement, knowing I was using the right tactics and chose the right place to land my feeder. I fished 11mm punched spam, coated in garlic salt with hemp in the feeder.

The entire stretch is fantastic and gives you the opportunity to try new things or have a go at things you have not tried in a while or not had the right stretch. Paul and Lisa who are the proprietors are more than welcoming and Paul is more than happy to point you in the right direction regarding swims and tactics, Paul has a great knowledge of the stretch and understands its ecology and every twist and turn. If you want a relaxing, quite and more than interesting fishing adventure testing what you already know and giving you a great opportunity to learn new things then make your way to this beautiful stretch.