Set in the beautiful countryside of Hereford’s lush green fields, breathtaking scenery and high wooded valley lies the river Wye.

Quietly marauding along its passage through sleepy towns and villages, the Wye is an awe inspiring place to be walking, birdwatching and for fishing.

The magical and astounding scenery covered by tree lined trees covering miles upon miles of stretches it is easy to see why this place is held in high regard by lots of barbel angler’s up and down the country. If you were ever looking for answers as to why you love fishing so much, then just being here tells you everything you need to know, this is why!

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty sits ‘Flanesford Priory’ which was to be our accommodation for the week, Flanesford sits about 4 – 5 miles from Hereford town centre.   

The road leading into the priory was the only noise to be heard, however this was set well back from the priory and sleeping quarters themselves so the place itself is very quiet indeed.

Looking Upstream Of The Wye

The river, some 300yds walk from the accommodation sat deep in the Wye valley, overlooking some of the most gorgeous green forestry I have ever seen that perfectly set the scene for a beautiful backdrop. Flanesford is the perfect idyllic setting for getting away and enjoying some peace and quiet watching the bird life sweep across the valley whilst watching your rod tip for that inevitable twitch from a barbel.

We set off by learning the swims accessible (some were very steep) that many hadn’t seen an angler for months, that much was visible has long grass and nettles were protruding out of a lot of what was once a peg. 

Although some of the pegs were steep (a dog spike would have been handy) with a little ingenuity and brute force (smacking them with a bank stick) a few pegs were obtainable for some fishing.

Hereford launderette’s

Over the week, we spent time looking around the city centre which was nice, this Launderette’s caught my eye, can anyone guess why?

The rest of the time was made up of fishing of course, spending time learning the art of rollin’ meat with the man himself Patrick Oliver, who is quietly making a name for himself with such a tactic. 

However the fish didn’t want to play with the method, preferring instead to take static baits judging by people’s catches.

We ventured out to about a mile away to fish a stretch known as ‘Bishopswood’ that again boasted a stretch of beautiful lined tree’s and fabulous tempting runs, creases and glides to which to roll a nice bit of meat on a size 8.

I know matchbox size is usually the norm but 1) I am tight, and 2) I don’t think it makes a huge difference. I am a firm believer that if a barbel see’s something flying past their line of vision, if they’re hungry they’ll instinctively mouth it and turn regardless of size.

From the outset of the previous day where we blanked (apart from 3 Eels) it looked like rollin’ the meat was going to be difficult everywhere we went, why was anyone’s guess considering the level was up and yielded such a nice colour.

A nice chub taken on rollin’ meat about 1 1/2 pounds!

However starting out, within 25 – 30 minutes I had my first fish on the bank, a nice chub of around 1 1/2 pounds, next cast produced a very obvious twitch that just stayed there, then sprung back, signifying a bite, the result a lovely pristine 6lb barbel. What was unfortunate and rather upsetting to be honest was that it seemed to have a protracting eyeball which wasn’t nice to see. On the picture I snapped the good side. 

A nice little barbel of around 6lbs on the rollin’ meat!

After this early action, spirits were high for a good haul of barbel and chub on the method, alas this never materialized and remained the only fish we had on that particular morning.

By this time, many of the others were on different stretches or indeed the Flanesford stretch catching regular on the static feeder approach.

I was however very keen to start on the feeder and start fishing my dubby boilie, but upon opening my bag of bait I realised I had bought the wrong batch with me, one’s that I hadn’t even gave to any testers because of the two or three vital ingredients that was missing and a base mix that just didn’t bind well at all.

Not good, but I guess it didn’t matter, just being there was enough, taking in the rays and enjoying the whole peace and tranquillity of it all. I knew however I’d find it hard to land (but not impossible) a barbel where I was fishing, a very steep gradient lead to a deep(ish) part of the water. It wasn’t exactly the safest peg to fish, but during the first day of using the feeder and the dubby approach it quickly became apparent that getting through a series of small chub was beginning to upset the swim. I know barbel will follow chub but in scenarios such as these where nothing is really breaking the pattern hour after hour, you’re much better to move to another spot. I however was enjoying just being there, fishing and catching wasn’t really high on the agenda and If I was taking it seriously I would’ve moved, but as it was I stayed until late evening enjoying the beautiful sunset over the horizon…

Barbel 9lbs 5oz

As the moon began to glisten and the stars began to shine, the witching hour fast approached, I began to rest my head on my unhooking mat and no sooner had I done that, WHAM! the rod arks over that could only be from a barbel, after a great tussle and luring it from several snags the fish was mine, all 9lbs 5oz of it, although I did think it was bigger, a Trent fish this long would be a double all day long!

After this fish I decided to call it a night as the bank was not safe putting fish back as I found out trying to get this one back to safety and to recover,  luckily Patrick was on hand to help this time.

The rest of the week was rather fragmented with regards to fishing time, early starts and early finishes or late starts and late finishes, but everyone had done fantastically well at the end of the week having around 230 fish between us. I added a couple more but this holiday was not just about fishing or indeed the catching of loads of fish for me.

A barbel of 6 – 7lbs (not weighed)

I wanted to relax and do little as possible (some might say like I always do). I knew where people were catching but I just stayed away from it hoping to get me a big fish from this one spot.

The next time however I am hitting it big time, taking the right boilies, some elips pellets and will be setting out to catch many more fish than I did this time as I never moved from that one spot all week really, why I don’t know but something kept bringing me back.

One thing is for sure I’ll be going for quantity next time and as we’ve already booked back there for next year I’m looking forward to it already.