Grayling fishing on the Ty-Mawr Beat

Ty- Mawr is set in stunning beautiful country, deep in a valley surrounded by wild mountains covered with lush shades of green trees, as you turn off the main road stop at the top of the farm lane, take your time to study the view of the river below you in the distance, you can see the end of the beat right hand side, (Hendre Farm bridge end) as the river twists through a series of tight bends and covered vegetation areas To the left hand side, you can see for ¾ of its twisted route through open fields and the boundary of a small spinney. (Binoculars’ would be handy).

This beat is approx 2miles from the start of the Wye at Plynlimon high up in the Cambrian Mountains, where it starts its 134 miles to the Seven Estuary at Chepstow. As you drive down the mile and half lane to the cattle grid to park up, the river is 100yds in front of you.

The last time I fished this beat was October 2020, when it poured with rain the whole time, torrential rain, after several hours I returned to the car and went home, today the sky is blue,  it’s warm, although showers are due in from the west later today.

Today I was joined by Tony Mitchell, a member of WFD and C&G Fly Dressers, his first time fishing the Northern Wye.

This beat is approx one and half miles, both banks are available to fish. Where we park by the cattle grid is approx in the middle of the beat, so Tony went down and I went up the river, then to meet back at the cars for lunch in 3hours time and then swop beats. Neither of us made it to the beat ends in the time given.

Although it had rained heavily for days before we arrived, the river was not flooded but the channels were full and the current was very strong and extremely powerful. The edge channels were 6/7ft deep, the pools even deeper, so to fish this beat without a wading stick is suicidal, in these conditions the water is gin clear, but be very careful of the dark black water, do not try and enter this as it will be very deep. You will have to cross this river many times, it’s the character of how the current creates the channels in the winter floods and moves all the stones round. Now whether you go up or down the stream always cross were you can see the bottom even if it’s a longer route. Both Tony and I had a few moments in the current where we were saved by our sticks, otherwise we would have had a soaking.

I fished this beat last in October 2020 and blanked then and unfortunately we both did the same today. We were fishing 7/8ft, 3w, rods, we used gold and red beaded nymphs, standard nymphs, spiders, bushy sedge, long/short leaders, 2 and 3 droppers, also no droppers. I only had one take all day and even then I wasn’t even sure it was a fish.

As I said before the water was very fast, as noticed when a sedge was on the top dropper, going so fast the other fly’s did not get down to the bed of the river where the Grayling should be feeding, even bushy heavy weight nymphs were tried. The only stiller quite water I could find was under fallen trees, with large boulders and small inlets where you had slower water but even there the under current was too strong to get the flies down.

The only fish I saw caught was by a Heron, I sat on the bank and watched him for 20mins as he stood on the edge of the river. He then took off and flew towards me, went and stood on a feeder stream and promptly caught a small fish.

I lost 5 flies, 1 complete leader and flies, Tony lost 3 flies.

Wild life was Wild Duck, Herons, Wren, Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Buzzards, and Red Kites.

On the fishing, I am not an expert but I think the current was just too strong to get the flies down, I expect if we could have got the flies down in the deep pools or gully we may have had a different result. But a great day, good company, fabulous weather for this part of Wales, and wonderful setting. It’s not all about catching fish, but one would be nice.

Till the next time. Maybe a ball bearing on a 4ft leader and troll the fly down the gulley (desperation tactics)!!

Tickets from the Wye & Usk Foundation for £11.00 phone 01874 712074 ref, Ty-Mawr

Andrew Ayres

WFD,C&GFD and Grayling Society Member

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