A Case for Catch and Release?

by Alan Fitzpatrick

Fishing on the middle Wye has been so frustrating for the last six seasons that last year I took a rod with a friend on the Wyesham Beat below Monmouth. Wyesham is the river's most prolific beat with catches of 10 or 20 times those of upstream beats, so I expected my fair share of excitement.

For some reason my colleague and I did not fare well on Wednesdays. In fact, I only caught two fish all season. I could have had one or two more but I stuck rigidly to fly throughout the year.

In early spring, however, on two or three occasions on Tuesdays and Thursdays there were exceptional catches of 12, 18 or even 20 fish in a day. On two or three occasions individual fishermen took 8 or even 10 fish.

To my surprise, when speaking to the ghillie, on no occasion was any thought given by the rods to returning the odd fish, except later in the season near spawning.