I have always wanted to fish the river Wye for the massive pike that reside in its water and in November 2018 I finally planned a trip with my fishing companion Jamie. Our plan was to spend three days fishing around the Bredwadine area staying at the famous Red Lion pub located only a short distance from the river. The journey was a good four hours from my home in Kent but we made it up there in good time and after getting settled in our accommodation we went to have a look at the river with the intention of fishing until dusk.
I was aware that the stretch had produced some massive Pike to over 30lb in the past but I knew it would be a tricky affair to hook one of theses beasts . This part of the river doesn’t exactly scream pike territory being very fast paced with only a few deep holes and slack water sections available to present a bait in. The plan was to cover as much of the river as possible, fishing in likely looking areas hoping to find the fish rather then wait for the fish to come to us. My rigs were my standard go to river rigs which has produced multiple fish for me in the past and it is a set up I feel confident with when fishing such rivers. I was fishing with a float style ledger set up using a sliding pencil float for indication and a 3oz gripper lead to hold the trace on the bottom river bed. The trace was a standard trace with semi barbless size six hooks.
The scenery on the Wye was beautiful and with the browns, yellows and reds of the Autumn leaves it made it an enjoyable place to wait for a bite and this is what we did for “two days”!. We couldn’t find a fish for love nor money and we tried everything from different baits, swims and methods but nothing could entice our intended quarry. It was time for a plan and as we sat having a carvery accompanied by a few needed pints we came up with a game plan. We decided to try a stretch a few miles further down river where the river was deeper with a steady flow. The fishing here was on day ticket and we felt that it was our best chance and staying on the Bredwadine stretch would be a waste of time in such conditions. So it was decided, we checked out of the hotel and made our way down river for our final days fishing.
On arrival to the “new” stretch we could instantly tell that this was the place to be for a pike. It was idyllic and looked perfect for a fish or two so you can understand our disappointment when we fished hard all day and didn’t have sniff. It was now becoming dark and it was agreed that we would fish one more swim then begin our four hour journey back to the garden of England. I settled in a swim with two large concrete slabs protruding from the bank and flicked out my mackerel just off a small crease. The float twitched and then vanished which kicked the bait runner into frenzy. I picked up the rod and bent into something that certainly wasn’t a 20lb pike. I was sure it was a small jack but when it surface I could clearly see it was a large chub. When I say large I mean massive and I estimated it at well over 6lb before it threw the hook. This session was now turning into a nightmare and the only bite in three days was a chub that I ended up losing at the net! Still I had one more cast and I literally mean one more cast.
It was now dark and I could barley see the float when suddenly it began to traverse across the water before slowly disappearing. I actually thought I was seeing things and had to do a double take to ensure my eyes were not lying to me. I concluded that the float had in fact disappeared and I bent into what could only be a big pike. I was shaking with adrenaline and knew this was the last chance to catch a Wye pike as we would be heading home straight after whether I caught it or not. It felt big just hanging in the current and not really doing much. I managed to bring her up and Jamie scooped her up first time in the landing net. I had done it and had finally caught a pike from the river Wye. We lifted her onto the matt, unhooked her and had a good look. It was a lot smaller then I originally thought and on the scales it went 16lb 2oz but it was obvious that the fish was very old and having problems feeding probably due to it being blind in one eye. It was such a long fish but was the skinniest pike I had every seen. I believe that in its day this fish would be over 25lb. Despite this I was ecstatic to have caught such a character from the Wye after such an intense three days of fishing. I slipped her back and we made our way home. What an end to such a difficult session and it just goes to show you should never give up and always keep trying because eventually it will come good even on your last cast.
Picture. Top. View of the river Wye, Bottom. 16lb 2oz pike