Monday, 10 March 2014

A Bottle of Ginger, a Scotch Pie & Some Scottish Ladies..........

What better way to finish off the Grayling season.

I had made plans to head up north of the border for my last trip out for the Grayling before calling it a day and allowing them to get on with their business of spawning.
The rain on Thursday night put a bit of a dampener on things with the levels on most rivers reaching 1.5m and above and the dreaded chocolate brown colour and things looked like they would have to be called off, I was a bit down at this but you cant change nature and it seemed my last trip out had come & gone.

We had booked a day on a tributary of a border river and after speaking to the ghillie who assured me conditions would still be OK, but by late Friday night my fishing partner for the day & myself had second thoughts as the wind was also getting up and SEPA, who are the Scottish equivalent of the EA website for updating river levels I can only say are diabolical, the EA had updated the river levels three times within a period of 12 hours and the SEPA one was some 18 hours in arrears...great service provided by them then....NOT.
We finally decided at 0600hrs on Saturday morning by viewing the couple of digital web-cams along the river that the levels were still too high at over 1.3m on this particular stretch we were going to fish so called the trip off to that river but I knew another river on the east of the Pennines just over the border, which would not have been effected by the rain so much,  so set about seeing what the levels there were like and sure enough at just under 1m the change of location was a go.

The road north was empty at that time in the morning and I made good speed and before I knew it I was parking the car in the car park of the store that sold the tickets, scotch pies and bottles of ginger, what more could a scotsman ask for apart from some silver ladies to finish off the day.

For the non native readers of the blog a bottle of ginger in Scotland is a soft drink, and has to be of the correct bottle type, a glass bottle non of this plastic muck, and the new logo's certainly made me laugh.....Barr's Irn Bru!

I've since been informed that the name was asked for by Irn Bru drinkers, not because some may see the vulgarity side of things but because it once was a traditional name just like Senga, Tam or Rab..fans personalised bottles go on sale

That was the refreshments taken care of only one more thing to grab before getting on with the fishing & that was the good old Scotch Pie....

Sheer Bliss, now I was ready for the day.

The river was still up and at just under 1m it would be challenging but being the last trip of the season I was just happy to be on the bank and if I never caught then it was still a day out and well worth the effort just to be back across the border in Scotland.

After the short walk from the lay-by to the river and my first sight of wild daffodils, I caught a glimpse of another visitor I always enjoy seeing and watching the Curlew, there were a pair overhead on the wing with their distinctive call and seeing them here I knew it wouldnt be long till I seen them on my local rivers further south in Yorkshire, a sight I always enjoy.

The first hour and a half  went by without a single bite and I was beginning to think the Grayling in this particular stretch had moved elsewhere with their minds set on the spawning, but plugging away I finally seen the tip of the float go down and felt the distinctive pull back of a fish on the line.

A long lean Grayling was on the bank and that was it I was a happy man, a Grayling to finish off the season with, everything else now was a bonus.

I needed a rest as my leg which I had the trouble with and had to have an operation on  was now starting to ache so I took 15 minutes out to sit and admire everything around me, something I do quite often as there is certainly more to fishing than just catching fish.

The Yorkshire fishing bunnet was laid to rest for a wee while.

Before long I was back at it and almost immediately, was into another fish, & like the first fish not on the bait I thought would have caught them, but my switch bait of natural worm.

Not a big fish by any standard but a very welcome fish with the current conditions.

The next fish to take the worm was very different in behaviour and I knew I had hooked a trout and in fine fettle it was too and will definitely give good sport in the forthcoming trout season on the fly rod.

After a few hours of searching through various runs down the stretch I decided to head back up to where I had captured the 2 Grayling in the morning as conditions were windy and up there, there was some shelter from the surrounding woodland making things just that little bit easier to cope with.

Sure enough within 20 minutes or fishing again down the runs the next lady of the stream graced the net.

A lovely conditioned fish which gave a good account of herself in the faster current along the edge of where I was fishing.

3 Grayling and a trout,I was pleased with that especially in the conditions, as I found some shelter from the wind and had lunch al la Scottish Grayling angler style......... the scotch pie was delicious.

After lunch I continued to plug away with the worm as the other baits were producing nothing and sure enough the float tip dipped away and another Grayling was on.

 You can see the bottom of the tail fin looking rather raggedy and worn I suspect this being caused by the immanent spawning of the species, as the wounds were quite fresh in appearance and an indication that it was time to leave these ladies for the year and allow them to get on with producing the sport of the future.

I started reflecting on this years season and how short it had seemed with the amount of flooded weekends being unable to fish and the lack of snow or really heavy frost's, this had made the season a short one and it didn't seem that long ago I was catching free rising Grayling on the dry fly and now here we were seeing first signs of spawning, my long awaited  favourite season over in what seemed like the blink of an eyelid.

As the afternoon was starting to wear on the amount of birds that were using the river as a highway had become apparent, I had see no fewer than 4 or 5 kingfishers, endless dippers and mallard ducks, thankfully a sight I hadn't seen so far on my trip were the cormorant!

Another couple of smaller fish graced the net as time wore on and I was about to call a halt to the day but as always we like to have one last cast.

 The sight of more damaged fins made my mind up for me and I decided to call it a day & leave these fish to get on with nature, it was time to leave the ladies for the year and give them the peace & quiet they truly deserve, after all they are the last truly wild salmonid fish in our river that really has not been interfered too much with by man in major stockings programmes around the country unlike trout or salmon, purely my own opinion, others will am sure say otherwise.

Scotch Pie, Bottle of Ginger and some lovely Scottish Ladies what better way to finish off a season with, cant really get much better than that.

To everyone I have met on the bank or fished with over the Grayling season, I wish you all the best & hopefully we can do it all again next Grayling season, until then take care, tight lines and stay safe in whatever you do over the summer...... I'm off chasing another species soon.

I've been told I can sit down whilst fishing...... I just dont think much of the seats in Sri Lanka!


  1. I first read the title as a bottle of ginger, a bottle of scotch and some Scottish ladies. Hey ho, a party! I thought. Never mind, the pie looked delicious and the fishing was evidently better than expected, a good end to the season!

    1. An enjoyable end to the season tom.
      I could do with a good party right now, certainly could do with the scotch after today that's for sure!

  2. I reckon you've had a pretty good Grayling season overall and I've enjoyed reading your exploits. Have a great holiday and good luck with those spotty fellows on the dry fly when you get back.
    Ps I will bump into you on the bank one of these days I'm sure.



    1. Not too bad Dave considering a lot of days were lost due to un fishable conditions am sure we will meet one day on the river.
      Best regards George

  3. A nice way to end your grayling season on home turf George, great pics as always, enjoy your holidays.

    1. Yes Brian I can't complain it was nice to get back and actually get fishing, very thankful.
      I'm looking forward to the holiday
      Cheers George


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