I had the opportunity to go fishing on Wherewell with my river fishing mentor Graham. I had excellent sport over the Christmas holidays on Wherwell with catches on the best days up to 80 fish. In fact, until this point, the lowest number of Grayling I had taken in a day was 45. So, as you can imagine I could not wait to get back at them. I picked Graham up on the route and the morning was a crisp and clear one. Robbie the Riverkeeper was in good form apart from the usual time of year health problems, colds, bugs and back problems. I tackled up my 11’ rod for a 3# and fished a tapered leader down to 5lb of around 10’ to a duo rig. My duo consisted of a Hi-Viz Dry fly and a Mary Nymph size 16 (see the video on how to tie these flies on the YouTube link) and we decided to start at the bottom of the beat. As we walked down the river I could see that the water clarity was not as good as it had been on previous visits. More worrying however was the fact that there did not seem to be as many fish showing as on previous visits.
We started to fish fairly quickly up the river and it was soon apparent that the fishing was going to be a lot tougher than we both expected. Usually, when you get into a shoal of Grayling you can take a fair number of fish. Today though if you were lucky you would pick up one then have to move some considerable distance before getting another. I had been brought back down to earth with a bang, with my Qualifier next week I am worried that it will be a grinder. By lunchtime I had managed 7 fish, Graham had fared better with around a dozen. During lunch I spoke with a couple of other anglers that were fairing much worse than ourselves so here is hoping it was going to be a better afternoon.
The afternoon provided a little better sport at the upper end of the river and I managed to grind out a few more fish. Having fished Wherwell a lot the last few months I am hoping that this was just a bad day. The water level is very low and it was quite coloured on my visit, I did manage to catch 18 Grayling which is fairly respectable for a day’s fishing, but after experiencing days with upwards of 50 fish I could not but help feeling disappointed. Role on next week where I hope the river will be back to its old self.