I had to get out, its been since the 19th January without a footstep on a river bank, with all the local rivers in spate, some reaching 1.31m making it impossible to fish I had to think of a location and to be honest it wasn't much better anywhere else but I had to take a chance so a 6am rise a quick look at the river levels and I set off on the road trip, the miles & hours passed relatively quickly and before I knew it I was parking up in a place I know where I thought the best chance of a Grayling would happen.
The river was up at the highest point I'd seen it for a long time on previous visits and normally I would walk away in those conditions but I had travelled all that way & if I was to get fishing this was probably my best chance & I knew one spot might produce on the inside of a bend, I was hoping!
On arriving I found a pair of Ray Ban New Wayfarer 901 sunglasses with a neck cord attached sitting on a fence post in the car park.
I have removed the neck cord for the picture but at over £70 a pair if the owner can tell me the colour of the neck cord and the location if he reads this report then I will gladly return the glasses to them, they must have been left behind fairly recent as there is no corrosion on the glasses anywhere.
The walk down the beat was a noisy one as I could hear the rocks being moved along the riverbed with the force of the water, not a good thing to hear and just proves that the river bed is constantly changing with each flood that passes through. I finally got to the bend I was heading for and the water was lapping well over the bank but after a quick assessment, I decided to give it a go, what had I too loose.
It was great being back on the riverbank, a pair of oyster catchers were flying up and down calling out to each other, the dippers were hopping from rock to rock and the small birds were amongst the trees singing out above the abundance of colour from the wild snow drops and the odd crocus which were carpeting the banks.
I had to opt for a Big Goose Quill Balsa that I use from time to time with over 4grams in weight attached to it to maintain a decent trot, to say it was hard going was an understatement but that was what made it more enjoyable trying various depths & tactics till eventually the river rewarded me for my efforts.
As the float dipped away & I felt the pull back from the fish it was a massive confidence boost to finally be rewarded with a fish in such demanding and near unfishable conditions. It didn't matter to me now if I caught no more fish this one fish was reward enough.
All went quiet again for a while after that & the thought of more fish was ebbing away but that didn't bother me to any great extent the surroundings and wildlife made up for that, with the abundance of birds moving up and down the river from Oyster catchers to Kingfishers, it was good.
I let the swim rest as I had been fishing it hard so sat back with a brew and had something to eat taking in all the good things I enjoy about being on the riverbank, It always amazes me what you actually see & hear if you take time out to just sit still to look and listen.
Almost immediately when I recommenced fishing again the float dipped away and another Grayling obliged.
Badly scared on the opposite side from some predator, probably of the black death type, but never the less gave a good account of herself and as always released to give sport another day.
A short time later the float dipped away again and yet another lady obliged me and after seeing her in the net knew she was beginning to start the spawning process as you can just see from the picture, with the abrasions around her vent, one quick photo and she was gone
It seemed another eternity before the float dipped away again and in quick succession a 3 smaller Grayling kept my mind on the job as it had began to think of other things, such as the long drive back home, I would have to leave soon as I didn't want to be driving back in the dark and I was more than content with what the day had brought me with the conditions stacked high.
Half hour then I would need to start the trek back home and the countdown was on, All the fish seemed to come from one deeper area midway down the trot so I dropped down to that spot and made that the starting spot for the next half hours trotting just to see if any fish were hanging right at the bottom extreme and I was proven right as over the next 20 minutes I lost a further 3 Grayling.
It all came down to counting the amount of last casts and forcing yourself to finally say enough is enough and walk away and after I think about my third last cast the float dipped away and another Grayling obliged me.
And that was it leaving with a fish on what I made my last cast. The walk back to the car was just as noisy as the walk to the river with rocks still being tossed around on the riverbed but I was a lot more contented after what turned out to be a good day not only with the fish but the sights & sounds of the day, just making each time I go fishing a special time.