If I lived on the doorstep of the stunning river Wye instead of the Warwickshire Avon it would be my favourite river bar none. The fact that it is my second favourite river is only borne out of logistics. From its source in the Welsh mountains to where it meets the Severn estuary it is stunning all the way and there isn't much that it doesn't offer to us anglers. Salmon, Trout and Grayling, monster Pike, big Chub, Dace, Roach, Perch and our target, some of the hardest fighting Barbel in the UK.
Thinking about it I really should make the effort to grace its banks more often, it is only an hour away!
When Martin suggested a trip accompanied by the legendary Trefor West I jumped at the chance. He entertained us for the whole day and gave us some useful pointers that I took on board and led to a bit of success.
The conditions were not ideal, a low and clear river(as they all are at the moment!) but perseverance paid off and just before lunch I landed my biggest ever Wye Barbel weighing a healthy 8lb 7oz.
This followed about an hour later by another battler of 6lb 15oz.
Sadly Martin didn't connect with one himself but he did hook and subsequently lose a huge Pike that will probably give him nightmares for a few days.
I also fished a second rod in the hope of my own big Pike using a Bleak as bait. To attract more bait fish and therefore the predators I fed half a dozen maggots little and often into the swim. It had the desired effect and within half an hour I think every Bleak in the whole river was in front of me. The Perch followed them and every time they surged into the bait ball there was a huge spectacular eruption of fleeing fish.
The regular disturbance also attracted another beautiful predator interested in getting an easy meal.
Using my rod as a makeshift perch he helped himself to his supper but didn't shoot off in a blaze of blue and orange as these skittish birds usually do but instead he hung around to pose for his photo to be taken giving me several angles and opportunities to capture his best side.
He must have realised that he had no need to fear me as he stayed around for ages and wasn't disturbed by me moving round the bank side.
I am no expert but he looked to me like a young bird and made what was already a good day, perfect.
Not many people can say they have taken a 'selfie' with a Kingfisher!!