This has been a very active fishing month with plenty to report on. In fact altogether I have never known the countryside so busy. There were some negative aspects to that; who hasn’t lately been irritated by cyclists three abreast blocking the roads, columns of roaring motor-cycles overtaking on blind bends, the remains of impromptu barbecues and wild camping, not to mention fly-tipping? Deliberate canoe trespassing has become a daily occurrence on the upper Wye and no, they won’t take the canoe out of the water when asked, but rather paddle on with an angry curse. Many of these, I suppose, gave a silent prayer of thanks to Rishi for the furlough as they set out on their day of fun in the countryside. Some may even have been working from home. (As a matter of interest I think the absolute prize for imaginative “working from home” must go to a nephew of mine who managed to accomplish this from the Istanbul apartment of a very attractive young lady). On the positive side, those hotels and restaurants still open in Wales found themselves very busy indeed. Sales of fishing tickets and licences shot up and many people introduced themselves and their families to fly-fishing for the very first time. More of that later.         

Let’s begin with the bank holiday reports and you will recall that August ended with cool, rainy conditions and quite an extensive flood gradually falling off on all our rivers. Without going into detail, the stocked Beacons reservoirs seemed to benefit from the cloudy weather and a number of anglers pronounced themselves satisfied with the sport there. The river fishing also perked up considerably. The upper Usk was still pretty high when TB from Worcester fished it on the Friday, but using heavy nymphs at Penpont he achieved a remarkable 32 trout up to 2 pounds. On the Saturday while fishing the Carmarthen Amateurs water of the Towy, AS from Bridgend scored 4 sea trout. I know of a few more from the Loughor, taken by spinning high water during the day.  JL from London fished with dry flies at Dinas to take 5 trout to 18 inches – that is a likely 2.5 pounds fish.

On bank holiday Sunday and JL of London with a friend fished at Fenni Fach for 14 trout to 15 inches taken with dry flies and nymphs. DR from Bristol had half a dozen to 15 inches fishing up at Pantyscallog. KL from Bristol also had a fine 15 inch trout from the Hindwell Brook at Knill in a bag of 4 taken with nymphs. JH from Chepstow had a large bag of trout up to 14 inches from the Edw at Hergest. M from Shrewsbury headed up to Llyn Bugeilyn on the moors of Central Wales and took a dozen trout. On the Monday CT from Cardiff fished the Honddu at Lower Stanton again and took a very creditable 17 trout to1.75 pounds using French leader tactics. Back on the Usk, JL from London had half a dozen to 15 inches from the Llandetty water of the Gliffaes Hotel using the duo method. KL from Bristol had an excellent afternoon in the Forest of Dean fishing the little Cannop Brook. Despite the surrounding woods being busy with walkers, he managed 24 trout to 10 inches on dry fly. SC from Llandeilo Graban also fished the dry fly to take half a dozen from the Ithon at Llandewi. After long weeks of salmon starvation for the upper Wye, a couple of the big fish were taken at Nyth and Tyrcelyn to round off what I thought was quite a reasonable weekend.

Lower Stanton trout - CT from Cardiff
Upper Wye grayling - Dave Collins

On the 1st September JA from Leominster fished the ever-reliable Edw at Cregrina for 14 trout. Dave Collins was working his usual magic on the upper Wye below Llanwrthwl to catch 14 trout and 10 grayling to 15 inches. Some sedges and pale wateries were around; he used both dry fly and nymphs to make his catch and expressed the thought that we had enough water in the river for just now. With clients held back from fishing due to high water, I was wishing the same. However, you never seem to get what you wish for and more rain on the morning of the 3rd brought another sharp rise, although it didn’t last long. I was on the Rectory with a salmon angler and it went up nearly half a metre during the afternoon.

Catches began again on the following day with a falling river, when a few salmon began to turn up in upper Wye catches. SN from Ruislip fished the Irfon at Gofynne with a Tenkara rod to catch 3 trout to 16 inches and 2 grayling. On the 5th MD from Barry caught 12 trout from Ty Newdd as an aside from salmon fishing, while DE from Worcester reported 3 large trout at Llangoed and Llanstephan. JD from Hereford fished at Abernant for 5 trout and 6 grayling to 16 inches. IG from Pontypridd caught 2 trout and 12 grayling at Craig Llyn, while AS of Newent took 4 trout and 12 grayling at Lyepole on the Lugg. The lower Honddu seems to be producing some particularly good sport at the moment; CT of Cardiff with a companion fished it again at Lower Henllan and caught 25 trout to a pound. GM from Hereford fished the top of the Wye at Clochfaen and in his subsequent report written from overseas had words of thanks for the people at the WUF who make this fishing available. If GM habitually works abroad, I know how he feels. It’s a comfort while away to think of all this wonderful fishing waiting for you when home on leave. I can recall landing at Heathrow and immediately telephoning Allyson at the WUF with a whole list of beats to be booked for the holiday. (I would like to think I called my wife first, but I’m not sure I did).

On Lower Henllan - CT from Cardiff
Pandy trout - CT from Cardiff

JR from Stroud reported from the lower Grwyne Fawr with worries about a family of otters seen nearby. Honestly, I wouldn’t be overly concerned. Most of our valleys have otters visiting them and you would be surprised to learn how far an adult otter can travel in a night. It’s not in their nature to form dense populations, wild fish are relatively hard to catch (don’t we know it) and I doubt that otters would be capable of wiping a stream out. On the other hand, the owner of a lake stocked with specimen carp worth hundreds of pounds each might have more reason to worry. A low-level electric fence seems to be the solution for that case. On the 8th GH from Wirral fished the Lugg at Dayhouse and had a very good day taking 1 trout and 15 grayling. This time GH saw a mink fishing the river. This is quite interesting because otters definitely use that part of the Lugg valley and otters and mink are usually in conflict over fishing and living rights. It’s not only otters that dislike mink. The other day on a steep bank at Goodrich Court I watched a stand-off between two hissing swans and a mink. Eventually the mink backed down and disappeared into the brambles.  

Is the stress of watching the poker game being played between London and Brussels starting to affect the nerves of our anglers now? By the 8th September a few of our reporters seemed to be reaching the end of their string. NS from Worcester wrote after fishing Craig Llyn: “Blank number 9 in a row. Have left all my fishing tackle, waders etc in a pile in the car park and given it up as a bad job. Please feel free to help yourselves.” Well, it seems NS was joking and I truly hope he has a better day next time out. PM from Newnham wrote of Pembrokeshire AA’s Eastern and Western Cleddau: “One trout of 12oz returned. Fought hard for an hour and 35 minutes before I overcame it with the help of local farm hands and a tractor.” Depression and sarcasm seem to have bitten deeply into the soul there. It sounds like an account of the giant sturgeon taken from the Towy by Alec Allen 90 years ago.

Explanations
Happiness on the Irfon

It has certainly been a bad year for Wye salmon, but in fact by the 8th and 9th of September a few salmon were turning up at last, both in the upper and lower river. I usually find what Righyni had to say about salmon rather obscure – so different from his writing on grayling – but he may have been right on this occasion. When the level settled and the colour finally left the water, salmon began to be reported quite regularly. Goodrich Court, which seemed to be virtually empty on an early September visit, had doubled its annual catch a week later! An 8 pounds trout, initially believed to be either brown trout or sea trout, was reported by Ross AA member Rob Leather who had been spinning for perch at Ross. From the photo of this one I’m sure it’s a brownie in magnificent condition. We also heard about some salmon catches from the lower Usk, but nothing like the results from further west in Wales where rivers like the Towy have fished really well for late salmon this year. In fact the salmon fishing has been better than the sewin fishing. On a more celebratory note, GO from Hoddesdon wrote about his companion in coarse fishing on the Wye at the Creel: “Red letter day for Alfie, 22 barbel, his head is growing as we speak. River in great condition.”

Now the weather settled to a period of warm sunny days with cool nights and morning mists. The usual pale wateries and willow flies were to be seen on the rivers. These are the kind of Indian summer conditions which persuade both trout and grayling to rise. On the 9th MR from Winchester booked both Dinas and Abercynrig beats on the Usk and took 14 trout with French leader tactics. JA from Leominster fished the Edw at Hundred House and took 11 trout from 6-10 inches. He also remarked on the need for maintenance trimming on this beat and that there is about a morning’s work for half a dozen people. After a visit later this month he commented again on the need for the “habitat team” to visit the same beat.  I’m sure JA is right and it would be great to have him on one of the volunteer teams this winter. In the case of wild stream maintenance, we really do depend on volunteers, either to adopt and be responsible for a stream convenient to them (I do three in the Forest of Dean) or to give up a couple of winter mornings for a joint pruning action with others. Don’t be shy in coming forward.

Rob Leather's 8 pound lower Wye trout
Bankside friends - LH from Hereford

KL from Bristol had a good day at Knill on the Hindwell Brook on the 13th, taking 13 trout on the duo method. AB from Bromsgrove fished the Dayhouse Lugg on the 16th, taking 3 trout and 5 grayling. ST from Galway City with a friend fished Dinas and Abercynrig together and in very bright conditions they recorded 12 trout, mostly on dries. JB from Tewkesbury recorded 4 trout and 7 grayling from Craig Llyn on the 17th, while Dave Collins of W Herefordshire fished at Cefnllysgwynne for 4 trout to 13 inches and 8 grayling to 17 inches. I was intrigued by the photograph of a damaged up-wing fly sent in by DG of Hereford who had been fishing the lower Crai. That looks to me like an autumn dun, not so very common, but certainly present on the upper Usk system. You can use a March Brown pattern as an imitation. On the 18th KL from Bristol had 19 trout, some of them very small, from the Cannop Brook in the Forest of Dean. As usual this year the stream was busy with dog-walkers, which made fishing difficult. We can only hope there will be a return to work eventually. I was concerned at the report from GT from Alcester, who described himself as a novice fly fisher, and who recorded a nil catch from the Abergavenny Town Water. Apparently he fished only one location on this mile of water, having loaded himself down with chair and equipment. GT, as you explain you are new to this game, forgive me if I offer some advice: next time leave the chair and surplus equipment behind, take a net, box of flies and spool of tippet, and go roaming for your fish. Equipped with waders you can fish through a mile of water in a day and it is the travelling angler who can put a good catch together.

Autumn Dun - DG from Hereford
Hindwell at Knill - KL from Bristol
Knill and the infamous signal crayfish - KL from Bristol

A report from the North: DF from Glasgow with 2 friends fished the Raby Estate water of the River Tees and recorded a very large catch of trout, supposedly more than 40. On the 19th RW from Bristol with a friend caught 6 trout and 11 grayling at Ty Newydd, using dry flies on the fast shallows. JD from Patrixbourne was one of several who commented negatively on the new parking arrangements at Ty Newydd. The entrance and exit to parking allocated to anglers is very close to a blind summit, and – whether they should or they shouldn’t – drivers tend to travel very fast on this national speed limits section of road. I must admit that it worries me somewhat. Would a warning sign on the main road make the situation safer? On the 20th WD from North Nibley caught 1 trout and 10 grayling from 10-13 inches at Doldowlod. JP from Retford had 2 trout and 8 grayling from Lyepole. Dave Collins was out again the following day at Abernant and recorded 1 trout and 16 grayling. A report on the 22nd by LK from London after fishing the Pontardulais Angling Association stretch of the Teifi had us sit up and take notice. He caught 4 trout and a grayling. A few miles of the middle Teifi are known to have a small population of introduced grayling, but PAA members have not previously recorded a grayling from our stretch near Lampeter. Dave Collins was out again fishing with dry flies (mainly a Hare’s Ear Emerger), and recorded 6 trout to 16 inches from the Gwent AS water of the Usk at Gilwern. On the 23rd AB from Bromsgrove took 5 trout and 8 grayling with heavy nymphs from the Lugg at Lyepole. PB from Churchdown with a friend fished the upper Wye at Doldowlod and reported 16 grayling, some of which I gather were big ones. TL from Tenbury Wells reported 10 trout from the Usk Reservoir.

The 24th was the day of a sudden temperature drop, initially of 10 degrees, and the balmy September weather seemed have come to an end. Showers of cold rain and even sleet along with a cold north wind made it feel quite wintry out of doors. Grayling can put up with cold weather as we know well, but sudden changes can make them out sorts for several days. It was necessary to work quite hard to find rising fish during this period while a relentless wind kept nagging out of the north east. MN from Bristol fished the Usk at Fenni Fach on the 25th and finished his trout season with 9 fish to 16 inches. On the morning of the 26th I recorded just one degree of air temperature and a ground frost in the upper Wye valley. Nevertheless, by lunchtime we had 12 degrees, the usual pale wateries and willow flies were on the surface and a few grayling put their heads up. A few salmon were taken also, although we aren’t seeing them much in the upper river. On the same day a report came from CT of Cardiff on Pond Rhosrydd, one of the Aberystwyth AA upland lakes. By fishing round the weed beds he managed 7 trout including an impressive specimen of 3 pounds. AN from Birmingham with two friends reported 30 grayling and 2 trout caught on nymphs from Gromaine and Upper Llanstephan. On the other hand, the following day at Llangoed and Lower Llanstephan they reported 30 sea trout! I can only assume that was a mistake. On the 28th MR from Monmouth reported a big trout, not measured, in a bag of 4 from Pantyscallog on the Usk. KL from Bristol using the duo method had 20 small trout along with a perch on another visit to the Cannop Brook in the Forest of Dean. On the 29th BB from Norton Presteigne had a comment about the rather strange situation that anglers at Abernant who are expected to park on a layby just off the main road are also expected to make themselves responsible for clearing up any fly tipping occurring in the layby. BB stated he “…did not pick up litter as requested as it contained wet wipes and face coverings.” I don’t blame him and I certainly wouldn’t plan to pick up bin bags containing unknown material and drive it 65 miles home in my car. I think this problem should be referred back to the owners and local authorities. On a similar subject, it would also be nice if some better arrangements can be made for angler’s parking at Abernant as the ever-increasing traffic on the B4567, better known nowadays as “the rat run to Builth,” races past the designated layby at a frightening speed. At one point it used to be possible to park a few yards down the access track.

September grayling on the Irfon
Top of the Usk at Pantyscallog - CM from Braintree
Season's end

Some of us got a bit lost while planning the August bank holiday weekend because the WUF river gauge at Llanstephan was knocked over by a drifting log. I’m guessing that particular gauge is checked more often than any other, several times a day in my case. For a while we were thrown back on the Environment Agency gauge at Erwood; the Wye level was up and down at the time and for the life of me I couldn’t remember the equivalent metric readings. (In fact that critical 18 inches on the WUF gauge is about equivalent to 1.145 metres on the EA gauge). Then one morning the 8 o’clock photograph from Llanstephan caught the unidentified occupant of a pair of waders in the act of pulling the WUF gauge back into its proper position and after that all was well. Inevitably there is some variation between beats and pools, but for what it is worth I would reckon that 18 inches on the WUF gauge is the upper limit for safe trout and grayling fly fishing. 18 inches to 2 feet is still viable for the salmon fly rod, and anything above 2 feet really calls for the spinner, at least during the period when salmon spinning is legal. In the case of trotting for winter grayling, most Wye beats where trotting a bait is allowed will give you some opportunities when the level is as high as 2ft 3 inches or more, provided there is not too much colour and you can find a safe place to stand.


It has been the strangest of years in many ways. From the point of view of angling and particularly angling guiding, due to the virus there was virtually nothing to do during the spring. When we got started again, as it turned out in England before Wales, many booked clients had already opted to delay their planned spring trout fishing trip until 2021. Nevertheless, guiding quickly became quite busy, mainly due to short-term “staycation” decisions from British clients who might otherwise have gone abroad. Many of these were absolute beginners who wanted to try out fly fishing for the first time and some opted for one of the commercial rainbow trout waters as a starting point to learn casting, line handling, and the interesting matter of how to play a fish. A couple of times last month at Big Well Fishery near Monmouth I was able to see a beginner using a dry fly at long range to hook and play their first fish. You have no idea how much pleasure an instructor gets from watching something like that!  Whether we do it on a lake or a river, I quite enjoy that sort of introduction day for newcomers, and I always live in hope that a seed might be planted which might grow into a life-long interest.

I will take a moment aside now to advise that in the case of families with children, particularly small children, no matter how keen the parents are on the idea of wild fishing on a river, they should think quite carefully about the young child’s attention span and capacity for addressing difficult tasks. This varies a lot with children just as it does with adults and it varies very much with age. There needs to be some success, just to encourage small children. The most important thing is that, quite quickly, they should get the feel of catching and playing a fish to the net. A long river fishing day when the fish are hard to reach and hard to hook – as we all know sometimes it’s the luck of the draw - could be quite off-putting to a small child. However, 4 hours on a rainbow trout fishery gives the same child a very good chance of catching a sizeable fish. Whatever else remains in his or her mind afterwards, that thrilling tug on the rod top will be remembered.

Sooner or later, however the start was made, every new fly-fisher wants to fish rivers. “I’ve been fly-fishing for a while, for rainbow trout in lakes. But I’m keen to start river fishing for wild brown trout or maybe grayling. I have tried, but not much luck so far. What do you suggest?” That opening question must be a familiar one to every river guide. And any guide worth his salt should be able to organise a suitable day, probably on easily waded main river pools, with much discussion of tackle and tactics.

A secondary question might be: “Is there anything I could read which would help to start me off on river fishing?” This follow-up question requires some thought, in fact more thought than you would imagine. There are plenty of books about aspects of trout fishing, but not so many which would lead a beginner with sure steps through the process of learning to fish rivers. One which does stand out as an immensely practical “how to do it” book, even though it was published as long ago as 1991, is Mike Weaver’s The Pursuit of Wild Trout (Merlin Unwin Books). Mike Weaver must be in his mid-seventies now, but he still writes articles for Trout and Salmon on occasions, while copies of his book still seem to be available on the internet.

Weaver’s description of his own angling journey probably mirrors that of most modern fly-fishers and, what is more, it began in this area. He was brought up in Cheltenham, began fishing at Chew Reservoir and graduated to fishing association waters on the Usk and Monnow, rivers for which he still retains a great affection. He makes the valid point that hard-fished association waters, places where the trout are cast over a good deal, make the best schools for learning tactics and presentation. Mike Weaver’s fishing developed over the years and he has travelled and fished over much of Europe and the United States. He has had a long-term love affair with Ireland’s River Suir, there have been visits to surprising places such as the Falkland Islands and he has some famous fishing contacts around the world. But this is no confused gallop through glamorous angling destinations, because for most of his life he has been firmly established in England’s West Country. Here, with the exception of occasional expeditions to Derbyshire’s limestone country or a small chalk stream like Dorset’s River Piddle, he concentrates on fishing small and medium sized free-stone rivers. These are the kind of rain-fed rivers also familiar to us on the Welsh borders and he provides a detailed description of the equipment and tactics needed to do the job.

Given that The Pursuit of Wild Trout was published in 1991, some of the equipment recommendations are inevitably slightly dated – imagine having to send away to the USA to get hold of a fly fishing vest! I could vary slightly from some of his leader construction recommendations and of course the East European heavy nymphing methods, which arrived slightly later, are not described here. But in every other department he gives outstandingly good advice about the fishing of British free-stone rivers.

The Pursuit of Wild Trout

There is a month by month description of fly hatches which can be related directly to our waters and a very good (and short) list of flies with which to fish them. This is a wisely chosen mixture of some proven standards, a few modern developments (he likes tying with deer hair) and a couple of adaptions of his own. I particularly like his mayfly pattern with three different hackle colours. There is a slight West Country bias to the list which includes old Devon standards like Blue Upright and Half Stone – but it’s none the worse for that. If I had to quibble, I would point out that he includes no parachute hackle designs.

Weaver is, like many of us, first and foremost a dry fly fisher by choice. He uses a single nymph when needed and by all accounts has a wonderful time. He would always prefer to catch wild fish and is no champion of stocking, but he also makes the point that one of last year’s stock fish, having spent the winter in the river, has become pretty much wild enough for him. Such a catch probably happens more often than we realise and I can appreciate his point. He came relatively early to the catch and release philosophy and puts forward arguments in favour of this which I need not rehearse here, although probably it seemed necessary to do so in 1991. That debate has largely been won in this country, at least as far as trout and grayling are concerned.

If you are new to the game and would like a plan of action for tackling the rivers, you could do worse than to follow Weaver’s lead as described in his book, at least until you are ready to make some experiments of your own.


17 inch Irfon grayling - HL of Herefordshire
Chalk stream grayling
Duck's Dun Pale Watery - Dave Collins

What has certainly been different this year, at least at the time of writing, is the lack of foreign visitors. I find that I am particularly missing the Americans. Every normal season there are at least a few, along with the Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and every other traveller who has a taste to try our rivers here on the Welsh borders. But the Americans stand out, if nothing else because so many of them are very good anglers. This is not always true, and in fact I have just taken out two young Americans who haven’t fly fished before. But it is often the case. Is that because they all take the sport more seriously than we do, or is it that the real masters are the ones who show up in Britain with a fly rod? Perhaps I should be more defining, because there will be a big difference in the angling experience of some-one who learned the craft in, for example, upstate New York, to one from the Pennsylvania lime-stone streams or the great wild rivers of the West. When these visitors are with me I get to hear about some (to my mind) unfamiliar and exotic types of fly fishing, maybe salt-water fishing in Florida, steel-heading on the Pacific coast, landlocked salmon running from the Great Lakes or trout from the high sierras of California. Knowledge of fly-fishing today is available globally, thanks to the internet and, rather more slowly, the exchange of angling magazines before that. Not so long ago, almost within living memory, our Welsh border fishing was the exact opposite, a parochial affair in which fly patterns, skills and methods were mainly exchanged by word of mouth or gleaned from the very occasional visitor. This last, the “occasional visitor,” must have been responsible for most of the exchange of ideas which occurred. Long conversations at Tregaron between the English amateur Edward Powell and the Welsh professional Dai Lewis make a famous example. The Fishing Gazette probably also played its part along with a few well-regarded books.

At the same time, I get the idea that the exchange of angling information between the UK and the USA has been going on for a very long time. In Charles Frazier’s remarkable novel Cold Mountain, the lovers imagine an idyllic and rural life in the North Carolina woods after the Civil War ends. They would shoot during the winter, using “fine, simple shotguns” which they would order from England. And in summer they would fish for trout using tackle from “the same sporting country.” We don’t get to hear Inman and Ada (Jude Law and Nicole Kidman) musing these plans in the movie – no room for that – but I wonder if Frazier got that right, given that he was writing about the 1860s? It would be nice to think so. There can be no doubt about the fire-arms; British small arms manufacturers made a lot of money from both sides on military production during the war. By the beginning of the 20th century there was no doubt about the fishing tackle either. Pennsylvania anglers were already using North Country spider patterns, which I can imagine an immigrant taking across the Atlantic. Famously, Skues could not praise his American Leonard split cane fly rod highly enough. Orvis and others were by then selling products on both sides of the pond.

I often notice differences in style between us and the Americans. For example, I have watched some very good dry fly men who insist on sinking the whole leader. The end of the fly line is on the surface and so is the fly, but everything in between is thoroughly sunk. Typically, such American anglers use relatively short tapered leaders, 9 feet or even as short as 7 feet, and by careful line-mending achieve some very long drag free drifts. My approach – and I guess the more common British one – is to use a longer leader and grease the whole thing, excepting maybe the last two or three feet. My own taste is (except for fishing at close hand on the brooks) to use a relatively long greased leader of 13-16 feet and to recast quite frequently. I am quite happy with this approach and find that, even with an 8 foot rod, I can deliver the fly relatively accurately. Also, I am pleased to avoid that annoying “suck” which a sunken leader makes when being lifted off to recast. For all that, I do enjoy watching the Americans with their sunken leaders and how they manage the fly as it runs downstream.

Another matter, if you look inside an American’s fly-box, is that you will likely find some much smaller artificial flies than we are used to. I tend to regard size 18 as the “small” end of the spectrum although I do have a few more diminutive ones. Americans, who may fish streams in which tiny midges are important, may carry patterns running down from size 20 even to 30. They will likely have also some 7X and 8X tippet to fish them on. It’s surprising how often the same tiny flies work on our rivers, particularly in high summer, and a lesson which we can surely learn.

I doubt you will hear an American using the phrase “North Country spiders,” but rather the term “soft hackle flies,” which is at least as descriptive and the method and the patterns are more or less the same. Plenty of Americans have experimented with teams of unweighted wet flies fished below the surface in various ways. When it comes to fishing the nymph, Americans tend to fish weighted flies at a greater distance across the stream than we do – so-called “high sticking” – and I think it’s fair to say that they are less familiar than we have now become with the East European close-nymphing styles. They are also very ready to use split-shot on the leader, something which we, for some reason, are generally not very comfortable with. Streamer fishing is a branch of the sport in which the Americans have definitely led the way, although many young British and continental anglers experiment with it today.


Late season at Talybont
Middle Wye sunset - MB from Bristol
Perfect pool on the Irfon

Just after the equinox, while the weather was still fine, we had one of our days of babysitting grandchildren over by Ross. I took the smallest one up the hill to watch the harvesting. He is just two, has a thing for big coloured tractors and likes to wave and make his thumbs up sign to the drivers. This was perfect for him, quite a show with a machine mowing the corn field and trailers queuing up to be filled alongside. It was one of those golden Herefordshire afternoons with the clump of trees on May Hill very clear against the horizon. The leaves were just beginning to turn. I was thinking to myself that October, one of the loveliest fishing months of the year, was close at hand. Back at the house, while he played with a balloon I watched the news and despite the BBC telling us again how absolutely awful everything is in our country and how much worse it will be in a few more months, I didn’t feel too disheartened. Our media has almost overlooked the fact that, after many years of trying, two more Arab states have normalised their relations with Israel. Settlement building is apparently halted, and meanwhile the UK has concluded a trade deal with Japan. I’m a glass half full sort of chap, me. Enjoy the autumn grayling fishing and tight lines!

Oliver Burch 

Wye Valley Fishing