Sunday, 1 February 2015

Small Grayling Saved the Day

The thermometer in the car read minus 2 on the drive up the Dale and it didn't take long to find out that coupled with the strong wind that was blowing from the North, the wind chill factor was easily minus 4 or 5 as I was getting dressed into my waders etc.

Soon afterwards I was walking the half mile down the frost covered track towards the river, the snow covered by a layer of frost making it glisten like crystal in the early morning light. As I walked down the hill my movements lifted 4 grouse from their hiding place in the rough grass as they flew off down in front of me.

It was a lovely morning if only the wind would disappear at this was bitter cold and any exposed skin was soon frozen through. The river looked nice, it was at a good height with a bit of colour still in it and I was hoping for a good day.

Thankfully the wind was at my back but it was hampering the trot as the wind was so strong at times it was a struggle to even lift the float from the water without it blowing off in the wind whilst trying to get it set up for the next trot through.

I fished the river for almost 2 hours before the first indication of any fish, it was tough going and the grayling were not wanting to make an appearance at all, then suddenly the float dipped away but alas it was not the species I was after but an out of season brown trout, although out of season it was in mint condition but not what we had come for so after a quick picture I slipped it back to the ice cold water.

I had almost exhausted all my usual fishing haunts in the search for the elusive Grayling when just as I was working the float towards the end of a trot the float disappeared and I struck into thankfully my first Grayling of the day, small but a Grayling never the less and it saved the day.

The words of my old friend Tom McGowan who resides in Angola hung heavy in my thoughts up until this point as he had written on the blog last week jokingly..."How about a post where you don't catch any fish and just freeze yer nuts off you smug b*****d!"

You almost had your wish Tom I assure you but not quite, Freezing my nuts off I obliged but alas my wee Grayling saved the Day! and I chuckled to myself quietly......

It was almost half an hour in the same run before the float dipped away again and Grayling number two was in my hand, notice I said hand and not my net as like the first it was just as small as the first.

By this point I wasn't bothered what size they were I was just glad to finally have a bit of action as the full river was devoid of any life at all, a total turn around from previous visits and a sneaking suspicion that the amount of salt filtering down into the river from the roads might have something to do with the lack of action.

I decided to go for a walk to some places I hadn't been in some time  so put the head down into the wind and headed upstream, if nothing else it was good exercise and would keep me warm.

It wasn't long until I head the familiar cries of the Geese searching for food.

They hadn't seen me up until now but as soon as I rounded the tree I was stood by they were off and up into the air, a large flock of around 70 - 100 birds, spread across the skies.

I walked almost to the top limit of the stretch I belong to before grabbing the shelter of a big tree to get out the wind and have some lunch, It was turning out to be a tough day indeed but still very enjoyable and well worth the trip out, especially when you get views like this.

I started fishing back downstream and like the morning no fish were obliging no matter what tactic I tried, constantly changing techniques on the way down accounted for nothing.

At least I could continue to take pictures of the scenery and surroundings, some being quite odd and reminding me of something from alien the movie.

I was almost back to where I had captured the first fish of the day so decided to give it a try and see if anything else was there and was immediately rewarded with yet another small Grayling.

I walked the last 100metres down to here I normally start & finish my day and decided to give it a half hour fishing before heading home as I was starting to get cold from the constant wind that hardly let up all day, It was my 3rd or 4th trot through when the float disappeared and fish on, a Grayling that was pulling back, that was a first today.

Notice the rubbing of the tail, this has started me thinking that these larger Grayling I think are preparing to spawn, Ive seen the tell tale signs many times over the years of fishing for them, but as in the last few visits, Ive had fish with marks on them which looks like spawning marks and now coupled with fish where their tails are rubbed away at the edges, makes me believe that either they are heading to spawn early or using their tails to look for food along the riverbed, more than willing to accept any advice on this if people agree or disagree.

I moved downstream 20 metres or so and continued fishing  hoping that I might entice another Grayling of this size or better and sure enough 10 minutes later another fish that pulled back.

And yet again another fish with its tail rubbed away at the edges.

After having to dip my net before netting this fish as it had frozen solid whilst on my back for the 10 minutes since the last fish and combined with what was now forming around my legs on my wading line, I decided to call it a day and grab two photographs of what was happening within 10 minutes of being exposed to the cold wind.

The net had frozen solid revealing that I have a small hole in my net I must get repaired!

And ice was forming on my waders where I had been wading.

That was it fishing over, time to head home, a tough day both in the fish department and also in keeping warm in the constant bitter cold wind, but perseverance prevailed in the end with a couple of bigger fish as a reward for a tough day.

And so me & my shadow headed home another Grayling day over.


  1. Jings it must have been cold looking at that net George, cant beat a winters day at the grayling though!

    1. Absolutely Bitter Brian, alright when the wind wasn't blowing but when it blew it plummeted, The thing I didn't put was my left leg was leaking in my wader also, but luckily it never penetrated my quilts I had below so I survived dry, a repair needing done on them, luckily I have a set of neoprene's in the attic I can fall back on.


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