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Posts Tagged ‘Chalkstream grayling’


Sometimes the weather forecast can be most disheartening.  I check almost daily to see if it’s worth making the effort to travel all of that distance to fish for these grayling.  I look at the river levels on one site and the predicted rain fall, wind speed and direction as well as the temperatures on two others.  All of these elements will dictate whether its worth making the effort to go or not.  Sometimes you just hope its a 50/50 call because at least you may get one days fishing in and possibly salvage a second day if you’re really lucky at this time of the year.

As I’m sure most of you know, grayling are pretty much sight feeders, so a heavily swollen, coloured river is not ideal.  I’m always hoping for a river at something approaching normal winter level and with at most a tinge of colour.  Sadly at this time of the year beggars can’t be choosers, as the weather is rarely perfect for more than the odd day or two here and there.  So you’ve gotta be in it to win it, as they say.

Two days booked with Geoff and Kevin saw us arrive early Wednesday morning.  The wind was due to pick up throughout the day and they weren’t wrong!  Thank goodness the rain at least held off until the evening when the heaven’s opened and it rained all night.

Keeping it simple: Rod, Reel, Net and Bait Pouch

Keeping it simple: Rod, Reel, Net and Bait Pouch

Our approach to the river across the fields was met with thunderous bangs from somewhere beyond the hills.  Every few minutes the ground almost shook as yet another bang reverberated in the air.  They were almost deafening.  Somewhere not too far away it was likely a tank battle ensued, albeit war games rather than the real thing.  We hoped it wouldn’t put the grayling off, although if it did, who could blame them.

A report soon came through on the walkie talkie that Kevin had just landed a 2lb 3oz grayling.  I had already taken a couple of smaller samples.  So things were looking good.  I had decided to explore as much of the stretch as possible and so ended up walking around 2 miles downstream, fishing the odd spot as I went.  This was more a recce than fishing, so I was content to just search out new spots to fish for the future.  After a few hours I decided to wander back to the top of the stretch, as rain was now threatening and the wind was very strong.  Presentation in such windy conditions becomes extremely difficult.  Depending on the direction, it can seriously hamper the passage of the float and so becomes very unnatural.  Bites can be few and far between under these circumstances.  I try and get the wind to a downstream direction but in all honesty it’s challenging whatever you do if its gale force!  With gusts upto and possibly even over 40 mph it was tricky if nothing else.

A big float for windy conditions

A big float for windy conditions

I ended up back in a swim I had started the day in.  I was slightly sheltered by trees here and so presentation was made a little easier.  A few trots through produced three bites and all three were lost fish.  Two felt pretty good but fortunately not long after that I managed to land a decent fish which was exactly 2lb.  Kevin had taken 12 by now with another decent fish at 1lb 15oz.  Geoff wasn’t doing so well, although ended up with 7, the same as me.  I sadly lost around 7 or 8 fish and also landed 3 or 4 trout.

2lb Grayling

2lb Grayling

Geoff and I opted to fish the last 45 minutes on the very upper beat.  It produced nothing for me sadly.  Mind you by now the wind had really picked up and a fine drizzle had started.  It was time to call it a day as far as I was concerned and I headed back to the car.  The others followed shortly after.  We headed back to the cottage and prayed that the rain wouldn’t be as bad as forecast.  Unfortunately it was as bad and the following morning we packed the car and headed off to the river not knowing quite what to expect.  Sadly the river had indeed risen around 2 feet and was heavily coloured.  So an early day it was and we headed back home.

Up and Coloured

Up and Coloured

Although disappointed not to get the second day in, we had at least caught another couple of grayling over 2lbs, which made a total of 9 I think between us so far since fishing this chalkstream.  That’s around our 4th or 5th trip, so not too bad really.  So until next time, tight lines.

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