A farewell to Grayling Wherewell 14 Mar 2017

I have not gotten to the river as much as I would have liked this year. This time of year is always a bit hit or miss, more miss than hit so far! I had hoped for a day out with Adam Stafford from Wet Your Knot. Adan has a busy day job as well as administering the WYK Facebook page so a bit calendar wrestling saw us agree on the last day of the Grayling season. There are not that many venues available for day tickets so a welcome return to an old stomping ground was on the cards. Although I have not fished here for some time I know the venue really well. I used to fish here every other week for in the Grayling season. After a couple of lack lustre visits to the river Avon I was keen to shake the cobwebs of and go and catch a hat full of fish.

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I also wanted to use the opportunity to do a little product testing. I had been given the range of Hunts Original Products to try, you can find my findings and conclusion in the new part of the website here. Rather unfortunately Adam was to be delayed for a few hours and would not manage to get along until lunch time. I got there bright and early and spent a bit of time in the hut with Robbie and Bill. Robbie was giving me all the latest gossip and we all spent half an hour putting the world to rights. Keen to get on though I was soon tackling up, a quick look at the river showed the water level to be good if a little murky. I opted for a Duo rig with a Parachute Adams and a small herl nymph about 2’ of the hook bend. I always drop into the weir to just net a couple of fish to get into the swing of it. Today was no different except the fish part that is! Not so much as nudge it looked good but there were no signs of Grayling. Flies were changed heads were scratched to no avail, a good half hour for nothing.

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It was time for a move to another of my favoured spots. A bit more head scratching and changing of flies and an hour in not a scrap! Another angler was moving upstream and I asked how he was getting on. He had managed one sprat but declared that it was hard going, no shit! A move to Greg’s stream that always has fish in. I started in an area that has always produced for me and was relieved when the Adams dipped and I lifted into my first fish. As the fish tore off upstream though my heart sank this was no Grayling. To add insult to injury the fish didn’t stop and took my nymph with him. It’s at this point it dawned on me that it had been over a year since I last fished here and the river may have changed in character. Areas that had in the past were no longer producing it was time to adopt a new approach and approach the river like I had never fished it.

So, I wandered the banks looking for likely water that Grayling may inhabit. Still on Greg’s stream I moved up and found a likely looking run, a slow meandering stretch that I often find Grayling favour. I generally pick the sweet spot out, then fish everything before it in case I get a bonus fish but time was wearing on and I was staring the big donut in the face. I cast straight to the prime spot of the run and was immediately rewarded. At first I thought it was another Brownie but my fears were alieved when I spotted the huge dorsal fin of a decent Grayling. Luckily, although it scraped like a Trojan it came straight down the river to my waiting net. To be fair it did not look in too good a nick, and seemed very dark and a little war torn.

A couple of small fish started to come but not in great numbers, but hey at least they were coming. I moved back to the lodge area to greet Adam on his arrival and while there fished just in front of the hut. This was to provide the most consistent sport of the day for me and I had three fish on the bounce to the Adams. I discarded the nymph in order to fish a straight dry but the takes just dried up, without the nymph I did not even get fish to come and look despite several changes. I decided a bite to eat before Adam arrived then we could go at fresh in the afternoon.

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Adam arrived and got his stuff together, we opted to walk down to the bottom of the beat and then work our way back up towards the hut. As we walked down shooting the breeze we talked all things fishy and the London Fly Fishing Fair, Adam had gone on the Friday and like me was very impressed. I started right at the bridge and fished on my knees to several good Grayling. It was fairly frustrating regardless of my many offerings and different presentations the fish seemed not to be interested. Eventually I slipped into the river and started to fish upstream spooking the fish I had failed to catch, not my finest hour! The Brown trout were not shy though and a beast of a trout had me chasing it round the river. Thankfully no one was watching because it looked like an end sequence to the Benny Hill show. Eventually I managed to get the fish in the net and then safely back in the water.

We fished hard all the way up throughout the afternoon picking up the odd fish between us. I have known Wherewell to fish tough on the very odd occasion, but generally the fishing is really good. It seemed my run of bad luck was continuing. We met other anglers on our travels, heads held low some reported that they had not even managed one Grayling. Their day only saved by some sporting Brownies. I couldn’t point to why it was so tough the weather was OK as was the water level and the clarity though not crystal clear like it can be was not bad. I will have to chalk it up to the barometric pressure, yes that’s it, the pressure was all wrong….lol.

We finished up our day above the bridge by the hut. After taking one on the Adams and spotting the odd fishing coming up I again discarded the nymph. I could see nothing coming off and there seemed to be nothing on the water itself. Hey Ho, I tried everything from very small to stupidly big not even an offer. My back was broken, my moral low it was time to call it a day. I had just about scraped double figures not the bumper session I had hoped for from eight hours fishing but it was great to get a catch up with Adam. We will get them next time pal.