It was a cold, wet day when we arrived at Gliffaes Hotel recently for a four day fishing break on various beats of the River Usk. We were met by Frank Williams our guide for the four days. Our first beat was to be the Lower Hotel water which was running quite high and slightly coloured. Frank asked if we were comfortable wading in the conditions and yes, we were. We fished for a couple of hours in quite difficult water but never the less picked up four nice fish.
Being pretty cold by this time we checked in. This is a wonderful Hotel with a genuine Edwardian feel to it. Each public room was warmed by a log fire, the best of which is main lounge , with afternoon tea being served as we arrived back. It could very easily have been 1923 such was the charm of this place.
Later we dined in a delightful room facing the river. The menu is reassuringly short as opposed to the usual thirty odd options generally found these days. Needless to say the food would not be bettered anywhere, I can only recall it being equalled on one or two occasions in the UK.
Second day found us on another Usk beat in the grounds of a large Italianate estate. Once again Frank has us into several fish with uncanny observation. We fished until lunch time on the lower beat before stopping for the packed lunches provided by Gliffaes. The upper beat was fished after lunch with a couple more fish caught, one falling to an olive dry after a very brief hatch.
Back to the Hotel for a repeat of the first night, the staff by now making us feel pretty spoilt. The following two days were equally productive with Frank demonstrating some modern nymphing techniques that we had not tried before. His skill at this is a revelation.
It was with great regret that we left Gliffaes on a sunny Monday morning. Both my son and I have been on countless fishing expeditions but this one will stand out for a very long time. If you love fishing as we do, a weekend at this splendid Hotel with Frank Williams will probably change your perspective for good.
Could I just assure any readers that I have no reason to write this piece other than I know the disappointment of trips that fall short of expectation. This one I can assure you did not.
Bob Polley – 26th April 2012