Well, I was planning to do a review of last year and that may well still happen. The choice was simple stay in on the laptop or go fishing……no choice really. I had been out prior to Christmas but the river was in a sad old state high with no visibility. A great shame as I had been invited along to the Services water by Ian Pinder. As it was we sacked it by lunch and Ian treated me to a KFC instead.
Santa came and was very kind bringing me a new camera the Olympus TG-5 to replace my trusty Lumix. I will be doing a review on the Olympus in the New Year once I have had a good play with it. Needless to say, I was as keen to get out with the new camera as I was to have a crack at the Grayling. The leave pass was granted by the long haired general and I was hot footing it down to the Avon. We had not had much rain in the last few days and I was hopeful that the clarity would be good.
I decided to go with a two rod approach one my 11’ #3 with a single light nymph and what has been a great allrounder for me this year the Wychwood XL #3. I set this up for Duo with a parachute Adams and a small Mary Nymph off the back. As I got to the bridge my heart sank the river was still carrying a good deal of colour. It was more milk chocolate than dark though and a quick look in the catch returns book showed an angler had managed 14 Grayling the day before.
I decided to drop into the weir pool first and target the Perch with a Squirmy wormy they love that shit! It didn’t take long and I was soon getting the odd perch to the net. I seemed to have the fishery to myself so I decided, for a change that I would fish the water I usually walk past and see how I got on. The first spot which I know is normally shallow was a lot deeper than usual so the nymph rod was in my hand for my starter for ten. First couple of chucks and I pulled another Perch it was of a better stamp than the ones from the weir pool. The next throw of the dice produced a nice little Grayling.
As I moved upstream dipping in here and there more often than not the Duo rig was being left on the edge of the path as the versatility of the single nymph was much more effective. I just could not find water where it would be effective and it was not for the want of trying. I had beat my way through the reeds to get access to a bit of water that I have often left. After ten minutes of standing on my line catching my fly in the undergrowth and generally making a complete arse of fishing it dawned on me why I walk past this section. That said I did manage a couple of small Grayling and lost another in a very short period.
Onwards and upwards as they say, I got to one of my favourite pools and although the river failed to show her wears I was sure that there would be a few Grayling here. The Duo failed to produce even one fish and once again was set aside in favour of the nymph. It worked on the first time of asking and a nice Grayling came swiftly to the net. A cast or so later I lifted in again only to find I was attached to a big Brown trout. I played it as hard as I dared on the light gear and it made the net. It had obviously been in the wars but seemed to be well on the mend.
Having pushed up I decided to have a break and a hot brew. Watching the river while kettle boiled I noted the odd fish popping up. I scaled down the dry fly on my XL and got rid of the nymph, despite my best efforts I only managed to net one fish. Another two were hooked at distance and lost in play. I kept moving upstream but the going was hard and Grayling were scarce I really think the lack of cold weather has kept the Grayling from shoaling as is there usual behaviour.
I had walked right around the horseshoe and was now at the bridge, this can be really good. I had left the nymph rod on the bank in favour of the Duo rig and began to winkle the odd one or two out. It was not quick but I was starting to get a bit more sport by changing flies regularly. I watch as the water erupted in front of me, it gave me a bit of a start to be honest but the next thing I was playing another big trout. The trout are still really active and a bit of a pain in the hoop when you are targeting Grayling. The fish was in super condition and after a quick snap with the new toy he was back in the river.
Nine Grayling nothing of any size, three perch, four trout and a grand day out all and all. May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading my inane drivel and wish you all a grand holiday period and all the very best for the New Year when it comes.