Some thoughts on the new coarse season.
Club News

Some thoughts on the new coarse season.

Every year about this time I ask a prominent Club Member to comment on the start of the coarse fishing season. This year I asked Club Committee member John Cheyne who also works for the Angling Trust when he’s not fishing for his thoughts on this exciting time for all coarse anglers. 

“Well June the 16th is looming and for most of the club, thoughts are turning to the coarse fishing season. The river is running at 0.36m as I write which is a very decent summer level and with a little bit of rain, but not too much forecast in Wales in the lead up to Sunday, we should at least avoid it being a summer flood on June 16th (yes I’m touching wood and crossing my fingers).

A wise man once told me that there are three key assets you need to become a good angler, Preparation, Observation and Optimism. This is particularly true I think at the start of the season.”


Right, if you haven’t done it already now is the time to make sure all your tackle is in order and ready for the new season. One particular item I would suggest you look at is reel line. It can be very easy to just decide that it’s not worth re-spooling your reels and that the old line looks fine, but make sure it’s not just out of laziness or false economy. All monofilament line degrades over time due to sunlight and the River Wye with it’s rocks, gravel and weed is particularly harsh on lines, so my advice would be to change your reel line every year, unless you don’t fish very often and store your reels out of sunlight when not in use. For Barbel feeder fishing my own preference is for Gardner GT80+ in 0.35mm (12lb) but to be fair there are lots of good quality lines out there these days. For Trotting a float when there are big barbel and chub about I use Dave Harrell Pro Match in 0.22mm (7lb). The Dave Harrell stuff comes off the reel very smoothly and floats well, It’s pre-stretched so thinner than many 7lb bs lines, but that means it ‘gives’ less in a fight with a barbel or big chub, so be prepared to play the fish with “soft hands” and don’t try to bully it too much if it’s a big fish. Lastly on spooling line, don’t forget to recycle your old line via the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme, You can send it in the post or just drop it off at Fishers Tackle shop in Ross.

Checking your nets is always a heart in the mouth moment if like me you store them in outbuildings. What is it that mice love so much about nets ? I actually think we should put a small piece of micromesh landing net material in mousetraps at bait, I swear it would be more effective than peanut butter, mars bar or cheese! So make sure your net and net pole are in good order well ahead of the 16th. I witnessed a club member trying to land a barbel near Wilton Bridge in some difficulties. His extendable landing net handle had seized up, but he only noticed at the point of trying to extend it to reach the fish. Thankfully I was on hand to help, but it’s a good illustration of what can go wrong if you don’t get your preparation right. A quick word on hooks in this section, not the sexiest bits of tackle and often overlooked in the desire to have the new trendy rod, super smooth reel, cool looking tackle quiver or the latest and greatest new-fangled bait. The wrong choice of hook or worse still a blunt hook is responsible for more bites that don’t turn into fish on the bank than any rod, reel or bait so here are a few pointers. Use “beaked” point hooks, particularly for feeder fishing on the Wye. That slight inward point of the hook will protect it from being blunted and turned over by rocks and gravel and will save you having to change it constantly. Do still check your point frequently though. Hooks are not expensive, so whenever they begin to feel blunt, change them. You will catch more fish I guarantee. One last thing in the preparation section – Don’t forget to make sure you have a valid rod licence, it’s easy enough to buy online these days and if you really don’t like using websites, you can phone up and get it sorted on 0344 800 5386


You probably think I’m going to suggest you walk for miles, looking for tell-tale signs of barbel flanking, perch chasing minnows or chub sucking in flies under a bush. Well, all those things would all be useful, but actually I’m going to tell you to drink in the beauty of your surroundings. For me, being a “successful” angler involves enjoying every minute that I’m out there fishing, even the blanks. As members of Ross On Wye Angling Club we are blessed with one of the most beautiful stretches of river in the country, so while I encourage you to be observant of what the fish are doing, I would also encourage you to be observant of what the kingfishers, egrets, dragonflies, bats, deer, otters and voles are doing too. Fishing is a wonderful excuse to spend time by the river, so make the most of it. Our Club Secretary runs a Wildlife reporting WhatsApp group for members, it’s a fun way to share what you’ve seen when fishing and it will help us build a picture of the bio-diversity and health of the river over time. If you’d like to join the group drop an email to Peter Richardson via

On a more practical note, one of the best things to observe is other anglers, and not just the successful ones. Chatting to others on the bank and finding out what works for them (and what doesn’t) can be a huge help. None of us ever “know it all” and I learn many new things every season, so keep an open mind, and share your successes and failures with other members, that way we are all learning. One thing to keep in mind when you are experimenting with baits or rigs, is that it’s best to do it when the fish are feeding. Too many people only try new baits or tactics as a last resort when their usual way of fishing isn’t working, but that’s hardly a fair test ! Instead, next time you’ve had a few fish and things are going well, take the opportunity to try a new bait or tweak your end tackle. If the bites slow right up, or come even quicker, you’ve learned something. Making the changes when the fish aren’t feeding rarely teaches you anything.


Optimism is the most important of all angling attributes. With the constant talk of pollution, older members telling us how they used to catch “40 barbel a day, just to take a break from the endless salmon!” and climate change meaning that we seem to have far more days when the river is unfishable than in the past, it’s easy to feel glum about the chances of a good season. That should not make a good anglers optimism wain. Optimism isn’t about facts and news reports and statistics. It’s about dreams. It’s about finding a new swim, that has a lovely gravel run that you are sure is going to hold a couple of big chub. It’s about hacking your way through the nettles because if nobody has fished it before it could be the best spot on the Wye ! It’s about knowing that no matter what, you will be by the river, full of anticipation waiting for the rod tip to bounce or the float to dip. The greatest gift that angling gives to us, is the ability to remember the joy of being 12 years old and unable to sleep because tomorrow you are going fishing. Keep that optimism in your heart and you won’t go far wrong. The very best anglers never grow up !

John Cheyne (aged 12 ¾)