News & Pics 2020

Entries are in reverse date order

            2020 News & Pics

20 December 2020

            David McCowen

       David Evason, one of our long serving committee members, who probably knew David McCowen better than anyone else in the Society sent a few thoughts to add to those on the 17th  :-

      " I first met David McCowen over 40years ago at a Severn Fisheries Consultative Council meeting in Birmingham.We arranged fishing trips on the Lugg and Teme and eventually he got me into the Izaak Walton.

       We made many trips to the Wye together to Caerwnon and Newbridge with the Izaak Walton and the return journey always involved a stop at the fish and chip shop in Leominster with one or two other members to discuss the day's fishing or to put the world to rights.He was very active until quite recently   when he began to find it a problem to walk too far because of difficulty with getting his breath and our fishing trips were confined to pools with shorter walks.

        Probably one of his favourite fishing venues was the Wye at Bishopswood which he very much enjoyed fishing with his friends.

        David had many interest beside fishing. He was  a keen gardener and took a pride in his garden, a good badminton player who kept playing into his eighties and also enjoyed playing croquet. 

He was a very friendly and generous person who had given a lot of his time over the years to angling club administration.

       Everyone who fished with him enjoyed his company and he will be greatly missed."

17 December 2020

            David McCowen

      We were saddened to learn yesterday that our president David McCowen had passed away at the age of 93. He had led an active life until he approached his nineties but the last time he fished with us at Newbridge in October 2015 he was becoming short of breath getting up the river bank. He still continued to fish at a small pool belonging to the Worcester City Angling Club for some years after that. His father was a keen angler and a member of the Society before the War (WWII) and David joined on 1st January1943.I didn't know him then as I was less than eighteen months old at the time.

       I never saw David fish with anything other than a float but he caught many, many fish doing just that and I was amazed at his perseverance. I can't fish one spot using one method for more than ten minutes without wanting to try something different (unless I'm catching of course) but David was sure of his method and it usually worked. I came across him one day at Newbridge and he had hooked a salmon on sweetcorn and had been playing it for some time. He confessed that he had never caught one before so I was delighted to net it for him and made him stroke it on its head before releasing it. Two years later he hooked another in the same place and again I chanced upon him as he was playing it. Once more I netted it for him I made him stroke it on the head before letting it go but we didn't see it again. The only two salmon he ever hooked and I was delighted to have netted them both.

        He was a wonderful committee member and officer of the Society and served as one of the Society's auditors for many years. His knowledge of the owners and  stretches of the Teme made him an invaluable source of information. We always had lots of banter whenever we met and we will miss him very much.  J L Burton. Chairman.

12 December 2020

         Steps down the bank at Tenbury. When we bought the fishing at Tenbury our first objective was to make it easier to access the fishing but because the Teme valley is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (jargon names it a "triple S I") we had to jump through a lot of red tape hoops. Eventually this Summer the permit arrived but the pandemic restrictions stopped much in the way of bank activity. 

          Anglers are easy to control so long as you don't try to stop them doing something they want to do i.e. fish. If steps are necessary to enable them to fish then steps appear as if by magic. What we are hoping to do  is to strengthen the steps so that they become permanent from one year to the next.  We insert a length (about 2 1/2 feet) of preserved round pole along the lip of the step to prevent it breaking down as you walk on it. It also acts as a guide to the position of the step after a flood has filled it in so it can be quickly reinstated. It is mainly hidden by the soil so doesn't impact visually even when first inserted.

          The Society is very grateful for all the hard work that Kevin Tandler and Tony Quarterman have done making the pegs fishable by clearing brambles and vegetation and overhanging branches and marking out where the steps should be positioned. Nobody appreciates the amount of work that goes into making a good fishing peg because when it is done there is nothing there! By that of course I mean that there is nothing to catch the rod-end; there is nothing to trip you up, there is nothing to stop you casting. there is a nice step to stop you falling in and to help you to land the fish. It just happens!

          So thank you Tony and Kev for just making it happen.

          I spent a few hours on Thursday and Friday strengthening the steps at Peg 9 well aware that the forecast was for heavy rain on Sunday. I didn't have much time to wait for the water to rise and test my work. It started to rise on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday mornning it was up 4 feet. It dropped back a litle then this afternoon (Wednesday 16th) has risen to the 6 ft 4ins mark and is still rising. I might take some more poles over to Tenbury tomorrow to see if any of the steps are visible.


8 November 2020 Tenbury

            One of our members, Kevin Tandler, who is familiar with the new Tenbury water had a good day last Sunday (8th Nov) landing two barbel (8lb and 5lb), a 6lb bream and a 4lb chub. Two lightly hooked big barbel pulled free. Hookbait was hair-rigged 15mm pellets which usually prevent problems with minnows!! He took a selfie with the bream, so you may recognise him if you meet on the river bank, and photos of the other fish.

22 October 2020   Newbridge on Wye

      We missed most of the heavy rain but there was just enough to colour the Ithon a bit which ruled out fly-fishing below where it joined the Wye. I had acquired a pint of maggots so thought I would try that to start with in the hope that it might clear enough for the fly later in the day. I started where Dave Mac often fished in the run-in to Corwall but couldn't settle there so moved lower down the pool to where the pool widens, deepens close in and has a gravel bottom. The sun came out and I was trotting right into it so changed to a light leger. After feeding for a while I caught a small trout  and then a grayling of 1lb 6oz. A couple more trout and a heavy fish that I thought was a big grayling but got away before I could see it. 

      Back to the car for lunch stopping to tell Dave where I had caught some fish. After lunch checked on height and colour again and decided to carry on with the maggots. Richard had tried fly for a while but only caught a few leaves so was tying bread and Dave had moved down to where I had caught in Cornwall. I moved down to the bottom pool and fished the deep gravel gully that had been scoured out a couple of years ago when a big oak tree had beached in a flood. The oak has gone but the gully remains so seemed a good place to try. I caught quite a number of trout and a small chub about 7 inches long. Two nice chub followed (3-04-00  3-05-00) and then the swim went dead.

       Time to call it a day and Dave had gone early as arranged to catch some of the daylight. When I met Richard he admitted to having been water-whacked but told me that Dave had fallen in trying to net a big chub. All was well as he had managed to net the chub which weighed 3lb 4oz so had gone home triumphant !!

        I phoned him the next day to find out the details. The fish had taken an age to come to the net which had slipped down the bank a little and as he reached down for it he slipped and fell sideways into the water which was about 3 feet deep. The tip of the rod had become entangled in an overhanging tree and the chub was now held at the surface so he retrieved the landing net and waded out to net the fish successfully. Having thoroughly disturbed the swim and discovering that he had snapped the tip ring off as well he decided to wring out his clothes, empty his waders and call it a day.                

        Dave caught qyite  number of Trout including a monster of about 3lb which ran around the river like something demented which in retrospect because of the way it played and its red colour was probably a small grilse. He fished with maggots both above and below the Ithon but didn't catch a single grayling.

       Another interesting day's fishing.

15 October 2020   Newbridge on Wye

     On Wednesday morning all the rivers had settleed down and there was no rain forecast and Thursday was going to be a super fishing day but out of habit I checked the heights. To my horror the Elan which conveys the water from the dams into the Wye had leapt up a foot !! which meant that the water would be racing through where we fish. I cancelled the trip and 24 hours later after numerous phone calls and promises that "he will phone you back" I found out what had happened. The heavy rain in the previous weeks had filled up the dams (one had been 10 metres down) and on Wednesday morning the final dam had just started to trickle over but not enough to register on the monitor. Some maintenence was taking place on the Claerwen dam which required them to drop the level a few inches so they opened a valve to run some off into the Elan valley dam. As that dam was now completely full it promptly gushed over into the Elan river which ran a foot above normal until Friday evening when they turned off the water from Claerwen.

        I hope I'm not tempting fate by saying that conditions look good for the last trip of the season to Newbridge on the 22nd. Maggots are permitted so plenty of grayling should be caught even if the weather is a bit cool for good fly-fishing.

1 October 2020    Newbridge on Wye

      The eight hours heavy rain forecast had not materialised, the monitor station up in the hills and at Rhayader showed the river steadily falling, the extra water from the dams which had affected the fishing on the last visit had been turned off so we were good to go. I nipped down to the river at 9 am and it was fairly high but clear so although no-one had informed me they were coming I went back to the car park in Newbridge to wait until 10 in case someone did turn up. 10 o'clock and I have it all to myself - great!

      Back to the bridge and Steven the river keeper is leaning over the bridge said it was ok but a bit coloured -What!! There must have been a bit of a downpour on on of the side streams and it was a horrible grey colour. I fished my little socks off but only caught 4 trout which were out of season of course. At lunchtime the water had dropped a couple of inches and had cleared quite a lot and I fished the bridge pool really hard but only caught one trout.

      I could only imagine that a flock of Goosanders had driven all the fish out of the pool. All was revealed when I spoke to Steven at 6 pm who came to see how I had got on. He said that there had been very few Cormorants visiting the river this season but that morning when he went down the river it "was black with them". He had never seen so many at once. They must have gone down the bridge pool and driven all the fish out. I must have killed a robin.

26 September 2020       Tenbury

       When I arrived at the car park Tony Whittney and his friendly tree surgeon were just about to remove the half-fallen tree at Peg 8. I was convinced that it would fall into the river and destroy the platform in the process of tring to pull it out.. What I hadn't realised was that the so called branch chipper they had brought to the site was a lightly disguised military vehicle originally designed for pulling disabled tanks out of swamps. (The trolley wheels had been replaced by caterpillar tracks which was a bit of a giveaway). To complete the pretence once the tree had been pulled out onto the field the surgeon lopped off the branches and fed them to the machine which converted them into a pile of chips. 

        Our thanks once more to Tony and his friend for a truly  professional performance which made a very tricky job go like clockwork. The tree did not fall down the bank and destroy the base of the platform which can now be reinstated

        Then it was the turn of the anglers to strut their stuff. Excuses first - the water was dead low and clear and very cold and the sun although very bright didn't get onto the water due to the high banks. I had struggled to get into my car due to the doors  being frozen up which indicated what a cold night it had been. Richard said he enjoyed the fresh air, Dave Evason claimed a victory of sorts as he caught more than anyone else with 4 chub and three minnows but was let down by the size of the chub - let's just say that they were bigger than the minnows! I had a couple of minnows and two chub about 12 ounces each, on maggots. I think I may have missed a trick because right at the death I put a worm on to beat the minnows and caught a grayling about a pound. No time to have another cast. Peter Mountford showed his class again by catching a chub about 3 1/2lbs.


17 September 2020   Newbridge on Wye

       Good weather and good water conditions made for good fishing although the release of extra cold water from the dams was not quite what we wanted but was not enough to ruin it. I think it affected the sport in the morning although Geoff Rimell who hadn't fished there for 10 years was into a nice grayling on his third cast of the day. As the day warmed up so did the sport and a visiting angler, Richard Panton, who is a skilled river coarse angler got into his stride after lunch and had several fish including the first grayling he had ever caught. His friend Gordon Davidson who had joined last year and had caught many fish previously also struggled in the morning but soon was into the swing of things after lunch. 

13 September 2020   Junior Contest at Wickens

       Due to all the restrictions imposed by the pandemic it was reluctantly but very sensibly cancelled for this year.

3 September 2020      Newbridge on Wye

     River was rising in the morning so I phoned Dave at 7am as prearranged so he didn't have a wasted journey. Richard arrived before it was too high so we caught a fish each before it became unfishable. Very frustrating.

29 August 2020         Hambridge

      Richard and I turned up and walked the length of the bottom field. The water was a reasonable height but quite coloured so that we could not see in to guess where to fish. No-one had fished from that bank this season to provided a guide to where to fish so reluctantly the sweetcorn and meat were left in their tins. 

      We retired to Wicken's Pool and enjoyed ourselves catching lots of carp. Shirley was fishing so we had the opportunity to thank him once more for the work he and Ian put in to make it such a great place to fish. Once a branch is cut off to make it easier/possible to cast, or a half submerged branch pulled out so you can land the fish, it has gone without trace. So all the hard work put in to make it fishable is gone as well. So when you cast in from a carefully cut lawn through a gap in the bushes thank Ian and Shirley for all their untraceable work.

20 August 2020    Newbridge on Wye

     The river was tantalisingly just too high and very peaty and with heavy rain forecast was cancelled.

15 August 2020     Wicken's Pool

       Lovely fishing day. Connor caught the largest carp pole fishing. The two Dave's both had a big roach with Hemmings's being the bigger of the two. Richard helped himself to several carp on a feeder rig. I tried maggot fishing and caught lots of small roach. Then I tried bread punch over liquidised bread but gave in to the siren song of the carp feeding off the top and caught them on punched flake.

6 August 2020      Newbridge on Wye

      River was up an inch with a slight peat stain. The peat sometimes seems to put the fish off and so it seemed to those of us who fly-fished before mid-day but Dave caught fish all day on a small worm. After lunch they seemed to turn on to the fly although Roger had a frustrating day. I stuck to nymphs all day and Richard stuck to dry-fly.

       The Bridge Pool which had proved so disappointing for Darren on the previous visit was transformed by Steven, the river keeper, removing a small tree which had fallen into the pool preventing fishing on the right bank (facing downstream). The fish which had been displaced by the gravelling-up of the pool had moved over to the right bank. I had a couple of grayling from there and lost a good one of well over a pound and another fish which I assumed was a big trout which raced all round the pool before slipping the hook. David caught several from there at the end of the day.

Angler                 T    G    C       Weight             Best T        Best G

Dave Evason      5    11   -         15-13-00          2-00-00      1-06-00

Richard Stowe     -     6     -         5-14-00                             1-05-00

Lance Burton      1     5     -         5-14-00                              1-07-00 

Roger Onions      -     1     -               8-00

                            6   23     -       28-01-00       

Four fished and four weighed-in

23 July 2020    Newbridge on Wye

       Meet at 10 am in the car park it says on the fixture list so the time approached I was relieved when Tony Whittney and Darren Bore arrived. They had followed a bird migration route from  Leominster to Newbridge which took in Brecon. We didn't wait for Roger Onions to arrive in case he was following the migration route of the Passenger Pigeon but went to the river. When he turned up a few minutes later he was sporting a grey moustache and beard and swore he had been clean shaven when he left home. (To my shame I forgot to take a photograph of the hirsute apparition but I'll get one for the next chapter.) He claimed that roadworks and non-functioning traffic lights had delayed him.

       I went off upstream to look at the three stiles that the water keeper had re-instated and the paths down to the river from each one. I nipped down from the top one to the river and had two nice grayling then to the middle one and had two smaller ones there then scampered off satisfied that the top  length of the beat was now available once more. (It had become very overgrown and health hazard to breathable waders).

          Darren was disappointed that the Bridge Pool which had yielded so many grayling to him last year had gravelled up but he found some more in the run-in to Cornwall. I ruined Tony's day by taking him down to the bottom pool and demonstrating how to get nymphs stuck to large rocks. On inspection it revealed that the Spring floods which had dumped so much gravel into the Bridge Pool had swept quite a bit of the gravel from between the stones in the bottom pool so that the nymphs had plenty of room to get stuck. 

           Eventually I gave up trying to assist Tony so he caught a nice trout of about 1 1/2 lb. The day was the coldest of the week which depressed the fly life and Roger's dry fly hopes. I hardly saw a fly all day until the last half hour - just as we were packing up of course!  

          Many decades ago we used to visit Newbridge in a coach and called at a hotel on the way home for a meal. It was traditional to start the meal by saying grace of course, and then once everyone had sat down the chairman would ask all the mermaids to stand and we drank a toast to them. Mermaids!?!  Yes, these were people who had fallen in during the day  and I reckon that Darren would have had a toast to him on each  visit. No wonder he catches more than me - he's falls in nearly every visit so he is a mermaid!

         Angler                     T     G     C        Total Weight       Best Fish  

Darren Bore                     -       7     -            6-00-00

Lance Burton                   -        6    -            5-15-00                                  G  1-06-00

Roger Onions                  1       1     -            2-05-00            T  1-01-00     G  1-04-00

Tony Whittney                  1       -      -           1-08-00             T  1-08-00

Four fished and four weighted-in.

16 July 2020    Wicken's Pool  3 - 8

       What a cracking start to the informal fixtures - a warm, cloudy almost windless afternoon just made for Summer fishing. Almost all methods worked with Tony Quarterman float fishing fishing luncheon meat on the bottom, Richard Stowe feeder fishing sweetcorn and I was catching them off the top with floating flake. I think Dave Evason was also fishng with bread but I forgot to ask Dave and Connor what they were fishing with. (I will have to find out).

       I started with bread punch, ground-baiting with liquified bread and caught a number of roach. Some of the bread floated and the carp moved in and I couldn't resist going for them. I ended up with the float about 2 feet above a 16s hook and dangled the  bait in the surface in front of me. The carp sucked it in but didn't bolt off, so I slowly lifted it up and sometimes pulled the bait slowly out of their mouth and sometimes slowly hooked them!  I don't know who was more surprised - me or the fish.

       Amusing, bemusing and bewildering fish but always entertaining, the carp is such a mixture of cunning and cupidity that I sometimes think I ought to spend more time trying to catch them. We didn't have a weigh-in but I think it would have been very close. I weighed the two largest fish in my catch at 4-14-00 and 5-02-00 and had about 7 more but Richard and Tony both caught more carp but nothing over the 3lb mark so we will call it a three way tie.

       I am going to ask Shirley if he can make a muddy patch somewhere so that I can go home with some genuine red marl on my boots to prove to my wife that I have been fishing at Wicken's Pool. He and Ian Wilson look after the borders of the pool brilliantly with mowing and strimming and making bridges over boggy bits and pulling branches out and cutting overhanging branches off and a hundred and one other things that you can't see because they have been fixed. Long may it continue so that we can carry on fishing in such wonderful surroundings.

14 July 2020

        The Welsh Assembly have agreed to allow angling competitions to take place  so long as social distancing rules, etc.,  are adhered to, This means that our adapted fixture list (see below)  can now go ahead including the trips to Newbridge on Wye. Our first meeting will be the afternoon/evening meeting at Wickens Pool in a couple of days time (Thursday 16 July 2020) followed by our first trip to Newbridge on Thursday 23 July 2020.

8 July 2020

      All the Society's waters are now open to individual members. See the circular below to see how we are dealing with the fixtures. Please observe the general rules on hand hygeine and social distancing at all times. Please do not attempt to disinfect the fish you catch as they do not carry the Covid-19 virus and the disinfectant will harm the fish.

      We are hoping that in the next few days the Welsh Assembly relax the rules on groups meeting outdoors to permit us to

meet at Newbridge. We will update this entry as soon as we find out.  Watch this space!

20 May 2020

     Tony Whittney has been getting the Tenbury water ready for the off by running his brush cutter down the side of the stretch to make a path through the vegetation along the top of the bank. 


12 May 2020

       Angling ban under Covid-19 restrictions lifted for individual anglers with social distancing still in force. No competitions yet but a great step in the right direction. 

25 March 2020

        Please be aware that Angling Trust has written to the Sports Minister highlighting the benefits to both physical health and mental wellbeing that angling provides.  The Trust has asked whether fishing is an allowed form of exercise although until clarification is received the recommendation is that fisheries are closed and that we should all refrain from fishing.


Pending further guidance from the Sports Minister/Angling Trust please therefore also consider all Society waters closed for the time being even for individual (non-fixture) fishing.

23 March 2020

      I spoke too soon. Big,Bad Boris says that no more than two people can arrange to meet. This is an attempt to slow down the spread of the Corvid-19 virus. So that does for fishing competitions at the moment. We will circulate the membership when the ban is lifted.

22 March 2020

    The AGM that was arranged for Tuesday 24th (two days time) has been postponed until further notice due to Coronavirus concerns. The fishing fixtures have not been affected of course.

    We fished at Wickens yesterday and the bright sun and cold east wind made for a grueller. We had decided to finish fishing at 5 o'clock to be able to weigh-up in daylight despite knowing that the last hour would be the best chance for a carp. Ian demostrated how true the prediction was by catching four carp in the last hour of the competition - hooking the last one on the whistle!

     I will put the results up when I get the list from Richard but in the meantime if anyone has any ideas who or what has mangled a few dozen toads and left the remains along the bank I would be interested to hear their theory. Tony Quarterman thought that it might be the pair of Canada geese doing a "Mad Axeman" act of wanton violence. Richard maintained that toads are quite venomous and reported that his dog had chewed one and frothed at the mouth. I thought it was probably rabies but didn't like to mention it because he is a bit of a worrier (the dog - not Richard).

 March 2020.

    The snowdrops are almost gone and the daffodils are fine and St David has been and gone and trout fishing starts tomorrow on the river so Spring is on its way.  The AGM, combined with the presentation of the prizes, is on Tuesday 24 March 2020 at Redhill Social Club 7 for 7.30 and I'm not going to spoil your evening by disclosing who won the Fly Cup. To see the AGM agenda with more details of the ending of the fishing at Rhyse medow CLICK HERE