As I drove up the Dale a few deer crossed over directly in front of me, always a nice sight as the mist was lifting as the first rays of the sun pocked over the tops of the North Pennines, I turned into the farm to be greeted by a Snipe sitting on the wall and giving us a song, it was a lovely morning with nobody around and a slight breeze making it refreshing.
I got to the bottom field where the car is parked and was met with the usual welcoming party.
I've been reliably informed the one that I quite like for fly tying purposes is a Welsomer.
As I got to the river the mist was still rising from it, low as expected but it had more of a tinge of peat colour to it than normal.
Getting the priorities right after setting the rod up was to get the kettle on and have a coffee as I scanned the pool for any sign of fish movement.
With no sign of any movement the spider patterns got first chance and it wasn't long till we had the first fish of the day, it wont set any records but it was a fish, and I was hoping that they would increase in size as the day wore on.
Small trout after small trout came from the pool, only slightly bigger than the first so it was time to move on and seek some bigger fish.
Well they were starting to increase in size and again after a few more of this size another move to deeper water was sought as nothing seemed to be moving in the faster running water where I would have expected to find the trout.
As I got up into the deeper water I thought I saw a Grayling smutting so sat a while and yes, there was definitely surface movement so a swap over to a small dry fly and after a missed strike the fly passed over the fish's head again and she was on.
I have to say thinking about it now afterwards, that was definitely the turning point for me today and the Grayling gave excellent accounts of themselves all on the Dry fly, some of the better fish from today.
A couple of the fish were in the 2lbs Bracket, some still recovering from spawning while others were fighting fit and putting some trout to shame.
This fish was in pristine condition and weighed 2lbs 8oz. The fight it gave put many recent trout to shame, I look forward to trying to capture her again after she has had a summer of good feeding.
The icing on the cake for me today was a new River Personal Best Grayling caught whilst using Dry Fly Tactics, a fish of 3lbs 1oz which fought well but on closer inspection in the net was in poor physical condition caused by spawning so a weigh in the net, which after weighing the net wet without the fish and a few sums meant the fish weighed 3lbs 1oz.
I did take some pictures of it but in my excitement & concern for the fish they have got more water marks on them than anything else, which I'm quite saddened about but my priority was for the welfare of this magnificent fish & being a Grayling fanatic and anyone who reads the blog regularly or knows me, I'm all for the welfare of the fish and weigh the fish accurately, we will meet again I'm sure of it, when she is in a better condition.
I had just finished another coffee and a 10 minutes break when an elderly angler approached me and passed greeting and when I spoke he replied, Are you a Scotsman in Yorkshire, I replied yes and then he named me personally without me saying, Bob has been a reader of the blog for years and it was great to meet a guy who follows my posts with such enthusiasm, in his words " He knows more about me than I do myself" It was lovely to meet you Bob.
Bob sat down and asked if he could watch me fishing for a while, I dont know about anyone else but when people watch you then I know I try not to fluff things up and luckily on the 2nd or 3rd cast this bigger Brownie came to the fly.
Rather lean but a tail like a shovel and it put up a good account for itself. After a few more minutes of tackle talk with Bob and a sort through some flies we parted company and I headed back downstream towards the car & home.
I never touched another fish all the way back down to the car but by this time the temperature was well up in the 20s when not shaded by the canopy of the trees and that was it another day that could not have been any better.
If the Big Guy Upstairs had called time on me today I would definitely would have gone a contented man. 27 Grayling, all on Dry Fly and lost count at the number of trout taken, what could be better!