Archive for January 24th, 2013

Temperatures have plummeted with hard frosts and as I write this, heavy snowfall covers most of the country.  I guess this is what winters should be like.  However we are often spoiled and  end up with relatively mild winters and become a little soft when mother nature bites back.

Often at the outset of these chilly conditions few fish are keen to feed.  Once they have acclimatised, chub, roach and dace will feed quite happily.  However after that initial hard, biting frost there is only one fish that will provide the float angler with plenty of sport and that is the beautiful grayling.  No matter how cold it gets, the grayling will still feed quite voraciously at times.  So the winter float angler is very fortunate that not only is the grayling so accommodating but also that it fights fantastically well and is one of our most stunning of quarries.

At this time of the year we like to head to Hampshire and Wiltshire to fish the numerous chalk streams that abound in this region for these magnificent fish.  Today we were heading to the upper Avon.  Although a relatively short stretch, it does hold a really good head of decent sized grayling and some nice dace too.  After a good breakfast in the local cafe, we headed to the river.  It was quite high and has been since those late spring floods but worse of all it was much more coloured than we had anticipated.  Levels are never really a problem where grayling are concerned but a heavy colour in the water can be the kiss of death.  Still we were here now so had to make the most of it.

The Avon

The Avon

I opted for the carrier stream to start with.  As I tackled up a buzzard drifted by overhead and circled the meadow.  What a magnificent sight these huge majestic birds are and they offer such a nice distraction from the fishing sometimes.  Once tackled up I got as close to the waters edge as possible.  The river was quite high and the banks were partially submerged in places.  At some points the river had broken its banks and there was a heavy flow to contend with too.  Despite that there appeared to be some nice smooth glides available and there was bound to be a few grayling in situ.

I fished a heavier stick float than usual to contend with the flow, with sufficient shot to get the bait down.  This would also enable me to hold the float back and allow the bait to remain deep in the water.  First trot through and the float buried but the fish came off.  Then I hooked into a reasonable fish.  It turned out to be a trout of about 2lbs.  Often in coloured water trout are aggressive feeders and at least put a bend in the rod.  A couple more trout followed and then a very small grayling.  Nothing more was forthcoming and so I decided to have a wander.

The Avon

The Avon

The sun broke through the clouds and suddenly the grey gloom of recent weeks was lifted and the sun’s rays transformed the countryside into a bright and glittering vista.  It was so heart lifting and warming to see it again after what seems like an eternity of greyness.   I opted to fish near the main road bridge and the flow here was smoother and there was a nice deep glide to fish.  Soon a fish was gyrating in the coloured waters and it was obvious it was a grayling.  A flash of silver and the sight of the sail like dorsal fin confirmed my beliefs.  Sadly it then came off.  Typical I thought.  Still at least they were there and feeding.  I missed a few very sharp bites, which I suspect were dace before eventually banking a couple of nice grayling pushing the pound mark.  A few more trout also put in an appearance.  The fishing was slow though compared to normal and both Geoff and Kevin were also struggling to find the fish.

I kept moving and picking up the odd trout and a few more grayling.  I ended the day with 9 trout and 5 grayling.  Initially I had thought it was four but forgot about the first and rather small one that came from the carrier.  Both Geoff and Kevin had 5 grayling but very few trout.  Geoff had the best fish of the day at 1lb 6oz.  All in all not bad given the tricky water conditions but not a patch on this stretches normal results.  Once again good to be out even though Geoff nor I were in the best of health.  For me it was just the beginning of a nasty spell of the flu.


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