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Archive for November, 2016


I’m not sure if the ‘dazzlers’ are the Dorset grayling or Geoff, Kevin and myself, although I think I know the answer!

A three day trip to the Dorset Frome had been planned and the forecast a day or two before indicated pretty favorable weather conditions, however it turned out to be tougher than expected. So the three Musketeers headed off in search of those legendary Frome monsters.  As usual we stayed with John Aplin at the Dairy House.  He looks after us really well and having the annexe gives us plenty of room.  There’s even a tackle shed where you can store your wet gear if needs be.

The sitting room has a lovely open fire

The sitting room has a lovely open fire

The first day of our adventure saw light winds and a reasonably overcast day.  The temperature was mild and conditions seemed ideal.  The river is still a little low and could probably do with a good flush through.  That should clear some of the remaining weed and push the levels up a little for the winter.

I opted to fish several swims, rotating them frequently throughout the day.  First up was a nice bend ending with a shallow riffle.  The depth was around 3 feet and all gravel.  There appeared to be very little weed here.  A few trots through determined the depth and I opted for a 2g wire stemmed Avon.  They have a nice bulbous tip which can still be seen clearly at 20-30 yards. I decided to fish the shot in groups of 2 spaced out up the line with a No 6 dropper shot 6-8 inches from the hook.  The hook was a size 14 Kamasan B983 and is a great grayling hook.  Bait was a mixture of bronze and red maggots with sweetcorn as a backup.

After a few trots through the float buried and a nice pound grayling came to the net.  A few more followed but nothing big.  I went for a recce upstream and soon found a swim I really fancied trying.  I would have to wade to be able to fish it due to the towering waterside reeds here.  I managed to slip into the water and was wading in around 2 1/2 feet.  I was trotting down the reeds in maybe 3 feet of water.  The float soon buried and a really good fight ensued.  The fish was twisting and turning and the gun metal grey flank indicated it was a grayling.  After a couple more sightings of the fish during the fight I could see it was a reasonable fish.  After a few heart stopping moments I eventually landed my prize. It was a lovely 2lb 2oz fish.  Another smaller fish followed and then after a short rest I landed another fine grayling of 2lb 4oz.  The swim died after that and by now the wind had really picked up and made fishing here very difficult.

2lb 2oz

2lb 2oz

Due to the strengthening wind I chose to fish below the road bridge.  Again wading provided me with the best opportunity to fish this swim and I was soon into another grayling.  The fish here were not big, averaging 10-12oz but there were plenty of them.  There was also a good head of dace too and some right little crackers; probably a few were around the 6-7oz mark.  I ended the day with two dozen grayling and maybe 8-10 dace plus a few trout.  All in all a pretty good day.  Geoff had managed 15 grayling and Kevin 12 but nothing particularly big.

2lb-grayling

2lb-grayling

Day two saw 40mph winds and some spells of heavy rain.  We managed a handful of fish between us but it was a testing day and I was glad when it was over.  We enjoyed a great meal and a pint of ‘Proper Job’ at the Wise Man in West Stafford that night, which helped improve our moods!

Some of the locals

Some of the locals

The last day was also rather testing with high winds and the occasional blustery shower.  Not too many fish found the net today however I did manage to find and tame another 2lb grayling and also had a right old tussle with a salmon which looked around 5-6lb.  I think I had 3-4 grayling, a few trout and the salmon.  We packed up early with Kevin being the top rod today with 8 grayling.

It was a tough few days in Dorset but it did produce some lovely fish and I’m sure we’ll be back soon chasing those legendary monster grayling.

The best brace of the trip - courtesy of John Aplin!

The best brace of the trip – courtesy of John Aplin!

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I might be wrong but roach seem to be making a bit of a comeback, despite the odds.  In particular there are quite a few rivers that seem to be producing good numbers of red-fins including the odd clonker over the last season or two.  Good news for us river anglers.

It's quality roach like this that keeps me coming back for more!

It’s quality roach like this that keeps me coming back for more!

I headed to Hampshire for a spot of chalk stream roaching.  There is a good mixture of water here; from deep pools to shallow, gravel runs, and long glides to tackle.  We started off in a deep pool that shallowed up and ran off onto fast flowing gravels of just a few inches deep.  A large piece of breadflake and a feeder packed with crumb was the tactics of choice.  We picked the edge of the crease.  Casting needed to be precise, a little off the mark and the roach didn’t want to know.  We both managed a couple of nice pound plus roach, quite a few grayling and the odd trout.

We decided to move and I fancied a go on the float.  Light tackle was set-up and a spot chosen.  The area just below an island offered up a nice long crease to fish.  The depth was good; probably 5ft of mainly gravel with the odd spot of weed.  A few trots down sorted the depth and just holding back the float slightly allowed the bait to trickle down the run.  The swim looked perfect but it does hold a few pike and once a few small roach and dace started to come to the net the pike moved in.  Despite this the biggest dace was probably around 10oz and finally the float buried and that tell tale jagging indicated a better roach.  After an exciting fight, with a big pike following the roach almost to my feet (I was wading to just below the waist), I finally netted my best roach of the day.  At 1lb 7oz it wasn’t headline news but was a belter of a fish.  It certainly made my day.

By now it was 2pm and so we decided to head back up to the mill pool.  Again targeting a particular area with flake and breadcrumb.  More grayling, dace and trout followed but eventually a nice roach fell to my fishing companion’s rod.  It was 1lb 10oz and made a nice accompaniment to his earlier fish of 1lb 9oz and  several more 1lb+ roach followed that one.  I managed to tempt a nice fish of approximately 1lb 4oz.  By now the light had faded and it was almost 5.30pm.  My quiver tip bent right round and on striking a large roach broke the surface.  This was followed by raised and rather excited voices.  Things like “please don’t come off” and “don’t go to hard on it”, “Oh God please don’t come off”, “watch out for the weed”, “walk back, walk back” and “come on, come on, get it in the net”!!  We both sounded like a couple of excitable school children catching their first ever fish from a local pond.

Eventually the fish was coaxed into the net and hoisted out to the wonderment of our eyes.  It looked simply huge.  It had a massive frame and we slipped it into a carrier bag to weigh.  The scales were zeroed and it was that time.  We both looked at this magnificent, pristine roach and both thought it looked 2lb 8oz – 2lb 12oz.  Well it didn’t quite live up to those ambitious estimations, however at 2lb 4oz it was a new PB and an absolute minter.

2lb-4oz

2lb-4oz

My hands were still shaking during the photographing of this magnificent specimen and the smile will last for a very long time.  We slipped her back and with a powerful kick of her tail she disappeared back into the dark pool.  We carried on for a while but only big sea trout seemed to be present.  We had managed to tempt lots of roach with around 10-12 over a pound.  Not a bad days fishing really! 🙂

 

 

 

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