Fishing in the Brecon Beacons: Peace and Quiet in the Heart of Nature

A Mid Wales fly fisherman’s diary, fishing in the Brecon Beacons and beyond…. Fly Fishing Wales with Kim Tribe 2011

The links below are from photos hosted on Yahoo’s photo hosting site Flickr; with some of the highlights of the fly-fishing season here in Wales.

The Seasons Summary – 2011.
Here’s a summary on what goes on in a year for a fly fishing guide, teacher and fishing holiday provider Kim Tribe, from Fly Fishing Wales.  

The beginning of the year started with an unusual assignment, “could I help a video production company produce a commercial for a financial services business?” Choosing a location, easier said than done when the  requirements were, waterfall,  mountains with snow in the background, big deep clear pools, nice scenery and teach an actor (he had film credits like Gladiator under his belt) who had never Fly-fished before. In a short time I had to teach him some basic casting errors, as that was the assignment, and then the remedies, all in under one hour.  Setting up the camera for each shot takes time and finally “we’ve got 20 minutes before we run out of light, can you go and catch a fish now”

I thought it’s not something you can do to order, but hey, this was the result!

March and April were some of the driest and warmest months on record here in Wales. Warm I don’t mind, but no rain in the spring and rivers lower than in summer doesn’t make for easy fishing. Casper however was keen to get out as his wife had given him a voucher as a Christmas present. This was the result.

Eric and his wife Anne had booked a beginners lesson. A few years previously they had thrown themselves into the sport as something they could do whilst holidaying together. At that time, I advised them on the kit to purchase (getting the right kit for the job is essential if you are set on taking up fishing as a hobby) and they managed to get six trips under their belt before we got a day on the river together.  With a few tips and a bit of luck, Eric managed to hook into this monster.

The warm dry spring had seen the hatches appear weeks earlier than usual, there were mayfly appearing in the last week of April, so with this in mind when David, John and Charles’s day arrived (we have fished together before so I was confident that a days guiding to the best pools and gentle coaching would best suit them).  My plan was to fish a large stream and for the guys to leap frog each

David Naisby & Small Trout

other up the water, fishing a pool each as they went. Even using this technique we still didn’t manage to cover all the water, the guys had dry fly sport all day on various mayfly patterns, it would be rude to tell you how many wild fish they had between them, however thank you David for this great testimonial .

Grayling for Detlef Beyer from Germany

The May fly sport carried on with Detlef from Germany catching this 47 cm 2.5lbs plus grayling on a dry Mayfly pattern.

Now I guide and coach residents staying at the Lake Country House hotel in mid Wales, it has some excellent fishing with some specimen trout and grayling as the next couple of photos will testify.

The River has some difficult wading so you need to know your way around.

Kim Tribe - Grayling

My second largest (49 cm and over 3.lbs) came by chance at the end of a hard day of fishing with a client.  I had been past the rod to demonstrate how to tackle the water; however until then it had not been the easiest days fishing. So far we had a few fish but they were being pretty elusive due to low water and bright conditions.  We had come across some rising fish in a deep pool in virtually an impossible place to cover and present the fly correctly with fast water between us and the fish, which were drifting with the current around the eye of the pool picking up something small in the surface scum. We managed a small trout but refrained from killing or pumping out its stomach content (you can get stomach pump but be carful when you use them and only take contents from the throat) but on further examination of the water the difficulty was obvious, how to match their current diet. As they were eating one of maybe a dozen different food forms but which one, there where invertebrates in various sizes in the water column and in the surface layer, down to equivalent in size to 30 hook. I personally love these challenges the sport throws up, but be prepared, it can drive you crazy and to be honest we should have walked on a lot sooner than we did.

Sea trout at River Towy with Mathew Gale

Matthew is based in the south of England and normally travels to Scotland to fish for salmon and sea trout, only previously venturing into Wales on a couple of occasions.  On this trip he was looking for a sea trout guide who could sort out a beat for a spot of night fishing. Matthew was particularly interested in being taught tactics to use over different fish lies, which flies to use, the depth, angle and speed to fish them.  It was very important to understand what angle and distance he needed to cast at night so his wet fly would represent a small fish trying to swim in the current, and how also that related to the depth it was fishing, he must have got it right as this was the result, Wales has a new convert (sorry Scotland).

David contacted me to arrange a two day break at the Lake Country House hotel in mid Wales.

His plan was for his wife Sue to use the Spa facilities, while I taught David and their sons to fly fish. The boys are aged 11 and 16 and had never fished before, but they were interested to learn and have fun and that was all I needed.

I judged the hotel waters (river Irfon) not suitable for the boys as the torrential overnight rain had made wading dangerous. The Wye catchment had however not suffered from the same amount of rain so I took them to a suitably easy section where we could wade safely.  (I make a rule of offering the use of  buoyancy aids but insist when children are involved, making sure everyone has a safety brief before we start, the first day- essential!).

The boys wanted to get fishing as soon as possible (as boys do) and not spend time learning to cast which is where I would normally start a beginners lesson. To get around this, I offered to teach them “Czech nymphing” which got them into the river and fishing. By working my way around everyone, first demonstrating and then coaching they picked up the technique quickly.  The proof was in the eating as we started to catch fish, wild fish, some being of specimen size. This got us off to a great start and planted the seeds for a family pastime.

The second day I spent time teaching them to cast and fish the wet fly, down and across mending line.  David was doing this when he hooked into a salmon.  This was a serious amount of excitement on light trout fishing tackle, a great lesson for all the family to take it in

Pugh brothers taking it in turns play salmon

turns to battle the fish over 20 minutes and a great lesson for the boys in how to play a powerful fish on light tackle.  Unfortunately it took a last dash for freedom and snapped the 6lbs line just as we where looking to land it. (another lesson in itself).

I have also added three lower river Usk salmon and trout beats to the already extensive network of waters I fish, there are some guided days available on these named day beats which are not available other than directly as season rods so if you are interested in a day or taking a season rod let me know?

I will refrain from turning this into War and Peace and stop here.  So when you have Christmas behind you, you can start to daydream of a warm spring day, standing thigh deep with trout rising all around and a fish on the end of your line. If I can help, passing on the tips I have learnt over 40 years of fishing around Wales, please get in touch.

To find out more about guided fishing holidays in the Brecon Beacons, please visit,
Fly Fishing Wales. 

Or for information on fishing in the Brecon Beacons National Park click here.

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One Response to Fishing in the Brecon Beacons: Peace and Quiet in the Heart of Nature

  1. Kim Tribe says:

    One fish in these photos was despatched quickly and humanly all the other were returned safely back to their environment, as I try and promote catch and release and teach the best methods of handling a fish without harming them, angler make some of the best guardians of the water environment !

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