Even as I am writing this up I can’t help thinking I should be on the Welsh Dee right now! Anyways the weather cannot be helped. I had written the week off at work for the International Grayling Festival, which left my calendar empty, what to do, what to do. After checking availability my old stomping ground Wherewell had space, there were five other rods booked in but it’s a lot of water and I was sure I would find a decent bit to fish. As it was they did not turn up so I had the whole place to myself…bonza! Robbie had said the river was low and clear, I was a little skeptical considering the amount of rainfall in recent weeks. Sure enough, when I arrived it was spot on as low as I have ever seen it and clear as a bell. I arrived early and set up with a head torch, keen to bleed every second of light from the day. That’s when I realised I had failed to pack my rods in the car with the rest of my fishing kit! If I could have managed it I would have bent over and kicked my own arse! Still, I had my little 8’ 6” in my tackle bag and the river was low enough that I would get away with fishing Duo. After paying my dues to some bloke in the fishing hut that I had never met I was on the river for eight am. It occurs to me now that it could have been some Buckfast bandit that had just spent the night in the hut! Robbie didn’t nab me for money when I saw him later so I am assuming it was all kosha.
I started as is my routine at Wherewell in the weir pool just down from the lodge only a few casts but it usually produces
a fish or two. Not today though and I made a start to walking down to the bottom of the beat. Looking into the water there were lots of Brown trout darting for cover, I am assuming they are still very active due to the mild conditions, it was fourteen degrees yesterday. I was not seeing many pods of Grayling which was worrying. On my way down I dropped into the big weir pool at Greg’s stream for a quick go. Two or three casts in the dry was ripped from sight and my rod bent into a healthy looking arc. I did not need to even look to know this was not a Grayling, the big Brown trout carted right and left leaving no area of the pool unvisited. I eventually managed to net the fish it was a clunker between 3.5 -4lb, not wasting any time I recovered the fish and got on my way.
It was a very pleasant day if only the Sun would make an appearance it would have been perfect as it was the light was pretty grim. As I got nearer the bottom of the beat there seemed to be a few more Grayling about, very encouraging. I stayed as close to the fence as the barbed wire would allow and crept up the side to the bridge. I made a couple of casts just at the edges for no reward before getting into the water it was very low. I could see all the little gravel pockets from a good distance and targeted them nearest to me first working my fly line further out. As my flies drifted over one of the spots I saw a fish dart from cover towards my nymph and lifted instinctively. The first Grayling of the day a fine specimen of about 30cm. From the same hole, I took a further seven Grayling varying in quality from 25-35cm and a Brown trout to boot. It’s surprising how many fish you can catch out of one spot. I was fairly convinced if I changed through patterns there would be a few more to come. It’s a lot of water to go at though so I started moving up. The sport was really good lots of Grayling, nothing big mind but all very welcome. I reached the black pipe and realised I had spent the best part of two hours fishing 100m of water, how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself! I continued to fish up from the black pipe but after catching several Brown trout it was time to move off the area.
I wandered back up towards the main carrier on the way I spotted a nice fish in the shallowest of water and sneaked up as close as I dared and made a reasonable cast. The nymph trundled by the fish, not even glancing at my offering. I tried again but my cast was poor and this spooked the fish it shot up stream moving lots of other fish in its wake. I was thinking it was nearly lunch time but I would just have a quick go by the first hut on the way back. It was a good choice many Grayling and two and a half hours later I was back at the car for some refreshments. Fuelled up it was time to get back on it and squeeze what I could out of the diminishing light. I had not seen any big Grayling all day with the best of the ones I had only reaching around 35cm. Robbie bless his cotton socks sent me upstream where he said he had seen some huge fish. I wandered up looking into the river as I went there really is too many Brown trout in the river. I had mentioned this to Robbie and he says it’s because the Trout anglers keep returning them. I think they might run into some problems down the line of they keep putting fish in and their not being taken, do the math. Anyway back to the fishing I had wandered a good ways up when I noticed a huge Grayling in the margin. It was obviously an old warrior and had picked its lie perfectly. It sat in a deep hole with a raft of debris and vegetation in front of it. I knew I would not have a chance with the Duo so switched it out for a heavy bug. Try as I might I was not good enough to get the bug in front of the fish. I moved closer thinking just to drop the nymph on its nose but with such a short rod I spooked it and it darted for the cover of the debris.
Switching back to Duo I fished upstream for several smaller fish I spotted several bigger Grayling that were laying just two deep and steadfastly refused to leave the bottom of the river to take my nymph. Lesson learned don’t forget your fishing rods when you go fishing you plonker! After leaving my whole rig in a tree re-rigging was very difficult the light which had been poor all day and was now almost non-existent. I persevered for several minutes trying to make sure the knots were good. The first cast with the new rig and a muckle big Brown came for the dry and smashed me to bits. Resigned to spending the next ten minutes trying to start again I packed up. A great days sport, though I did miss the company of another angler the fishing more than made up for it. Now I have had my fix all will be well in the Simpson household this weekend.