February 28, 2015

Spring Grayling

In mid 2013 I organised a grayling competition through a forum and two lucky chaps were to accompany me and my old mate Mike Perry on a trip to the river Wylye during the winter months. Alas the weather gods had other ideas and we eventually convened at Bird and Carter farm shop for a superb full English last Wednesday. Dave and Richard were the competition winners and both were eager to wet a line having, like me, driven well over a hundred miles for the privilege. Dave had done it in his immaculate Morris Minor who's odometer turned 32000 en route.

Its fair to say that the morning was not as productive as we would have liked as the river, which 'looked' perfect, played hard to get but a few fish came to the net and the afternoon's entertainment was assured. We moved to the 'Farm Stretch' just a little area of the seven miles that the club owns but which is simply full of grayling.

As I was a ghillie for the day and have a buggered shoulder, I only dabbled when pointing out a method/swim for the guests but I still had fish. Dave experienced the heart break of a big fish only spot where he missed a couple of bites but successfully landed a stick that put them down. However, when we all met at the bridge pool is was like those halcyon days of our youth when Dave and I ended up sat on the bridge, legs swinging above the flowing chalk stream and watching a little float drifting thirty or more yards below..... until it disappeared time and time again. Dave's old Alcock Isis bent well as a fish was hauled back from the next county to be met by two beaming men in their element.

Meanwhile Rich and Mike were making a mighty catch amongst the shoal that sits in a little eddy and the day was filled with the banter that easy fishing provokes. It was great fun.


Two days later and I was back, this time with my good friend Bunny with whom I haven't fished for about a year due to the weather and my annoying health issues. Anyway, we filled up on another breakfast and set about putting the long absence to rights. Poor Bunny, he puffs and wheezes like an old train and had to take a few stops along the short stroll to the first swim but he never stopped smiling well, he rarely does .... unless he's discussing immigration or the government.

The swim was known to me and one that we had been unable to fish the other day. Its simply full of grayling that queue up for red maggots all day long and when the sun hid behind a cloud for half an hour the average size vastly grew. Once Bunny was catching I decided to go for a wander downstream and fish for as long as my shoulder would allow. Stopping just long enough to tie a new hook for the old bugger I dropped into a lovely run and tossed a few maggots in - left handed.

It was one of those swims where virtually every cast brought a bite, most bites brought a fish and each fish brought a smile. I took a quick snap of the first as it was the first on that rod, a Lucky Strike just back from being refurbished by Andy Sliwa. It really is the perfect grayling tool as it absorbs all of those thumps and lunges beautifully. The fun lasted barely half an hour before I had to concede and return to Bunny, just in time to tie him another hook.

I've no idea how many fish we took, it doesn't matter. Its a type of fishing that we all need from time to time, bites and fish guaranteed, an easy pace and great company, I also spotted the first celandine of the spring which means that winter is drifting back to where it belongs and although there will doubtless be a sting in it's tail, better weather is only a short wait away.

I won't pick up a rod again until I've recovered from the operation I'm having in a few weeks time but I shall certainly be spending time on the banks - nothing can keep me away.


  1. Nice write up Dave. A wonderful couple of days weather too, as predicted by our friends at Countryfile.

  2. Thanks lover, I'm looking forward to our next grayling outing ;o)

  3. Wasn't I going to be taken Grayling fishing? Blake

  4. Yes, if I was able which I am not. Maybe next winter if you never, ever mention football again. :o)

  5. Replies
    1. I remember you happily waggling a Record Breaker there Tone :o)