The last hooray to Wherewell, the Grayling season finishes on the 14th March. Prices for trout fishing are a little rich for my blood so this would be the last trip until the start of the next Grayling season. I was fairly concerned about the weather on Monday and Tuesday it had been bitterly cold. I had received a phone call from my fishing buddy on the Monday that he was snowed in at Worthing. Anyway I kept my fingers crossed and prayed to all the deities I could think off and low and behold on waking Wednesday morning there was no frost on the car and the wind was not worrying the tops of the trees. I left a little earlier than usual as I was picking Graham up from Arborfield and then stopping for breakfast along the way. We stopped at the Little Thief on the A303 and I was duly ripped off for a breakfast butty and a cup of coffee. The waitress was just as well dressing up as Dick Turpin, I did check for pistols but there were none in evidence. I will be sticking to McDonald's in the future.
We arrived at Wherewell a little after 0800hrs and Robbie was there to greet us and take what was left of our money. The qualifier done and dusted for another year there was no point in going to areas to see if fish where forthcoming, so we decided to hit all the sweet spots! I started just in front of the lodge and before Graham had walked ten yards I was into my first Grayling, sweet. Graham tootled of downstream and I stayed a while to reacquaint myself with the ladies. After landing a further six fish I decided to move down and see what Graham was up to. He had not gone too far downstream and reported the capture of five good fish. He had lost a number of flies to overly keen Brown Trout but all in all, was having a good mornings sport. I decided to walk down to the very bottom of the beat where Andy had done so well in qualifying. On the way down, I noticed how clear the river was and how far it had dropped away since my previous visit. As I got nearer the bottom of the beat I hugged the fence line so not to spook any fish near the inside bank. I knelt beside the bridge keeping my profile low and was about to make my first cast when I noticed the water getting coloured. It was not too bad though so I got into the river and started to fish up. Very quickly the colour got worse until the river was just a chocolate brown colour. Had Robbie got his digger out again! After persevering for around ten minutes I abandoned the idea and started to walk back upstream. I met Graham who asked what had happened to the river, as he had found that there was no colour in the water until the right turn at the bridge near the bottom of the long straight. It seems as though a large blockage had been disturbed and had caused the river to colour up. We decided to split the water down the long straight I fished from the bridge to the hut and Graham fished from the hut down we both added several more fish to our tally before knocking it on the head for a spot of lunch. Although it was not super cold by any stretch the hot tomato soup put the heat back in my bones and after half an hour we were both keen to get back at it. I did not venture far and both of us were trying to target some of the larger Grayling that can be found in Wherewell. We had varying degrees of success, Graham more so than I. The fish seemed to go through patches of switching on and off and it was a frustrating couple of hours changing flies, different sizes and different colours. There was one huge fish in particular that Graham nor I charm although Graham did land several of her buddies. By quarter to four, the cold was seeping into the bones again so we decided to call time on our last trip to Wherewell, we both had a great day and look forward to returning later in the year.
The fishing at Wherewell has been more challenging than the year before and I would say that my catch rate was almost halved this year. I am unsure what to attribute this to, the water for most of the season has been exceptionally high. I am told the Grayling fishing does change year on year as large numbers of fish die, there is also the problem of predation although I have to say I have seldom seen a cormorant anywhere near the river. All that aside I can’t wait to get back there next season, I have one more trip river fishing on the River Don planned with Clark Coleman later this month. It will then be a case of making sure my loch style kit is ready to go!