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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


26/11/2020 - A Grayling Day With Some Chub And Dace


Today Sunday 22nd November Having left home around 0700 hrs for the 15 mile trip I was on the river around 0800 hrs where I was thankful to find an area of hard stony ground where I could park, the weather was ideal for float fishing, light SW wind, river level ideal for trotting with some colour, water temperature was 48 degrees F, I couldn’t really wish for better weather and river conditions. I started off making up as big bowl of ground bait, then left it to soak up all the liquid, I would then decide if it was suitable or needed some more liquid or crumb, after about fifteen minutes, later I added half a cup of water, then added half a pint of red gentles before giving it a good mix until I was satisfied it was right. Today I chose to fish with my Hardy Perfection roach, hoping I wouldn’t hook a trout big chub or barbel, if so I would point the rod down the line then pull for a break, I felt my ‘Beult’ centre pin with 3lb bs line would make an ideal combination, then added a bright orange tipped porcupine quill taking 3AAA and 1BB, fixing it double rubber, finally attaching a size 16 barbless hook with a loop to loop system. With seat and tackle bag over my shoulder, rod and Efgeeco bucket in one hand, landing net and Efgeeco rod rest in the other, I set off for a long walk over some rough ground and crossing two ditches, twenty minutes later I’m in my chosen swim.

A Heavy Baiting Session

Normally I run the float through the swim a few times until I am happy with the depth, not today I started off by plumbing the depth in the hope of finding a decent area of gravel, I was extremely lucky to find an area some ten feet down the swim, I also had a different approach to my usual start, instead of little and often with ground bait, I put in four cricket size balls of crumb loaded with gentles, ten minutes later I put in three droppers of gentles onto the gravel patch I’d found, fifteen minutes later another three droppers of gentles. I then rested the swim for half an hour and went off for a walk. Back in my swim I put in a dropper of gentles along with a dropper of crumb and gentles.

Fish From The Off

Baiting with two red gentles I made a cast upstream, mending the line I slowly eased the float through the swim then held it back slightly on the gravel patch, as I did so the float dipped the answering strike connected with my first fish of the day, a nice grayling between twelve ounces and a pound, as the fish dropped in the net the hook fell out, all I had to do was lower the net in the water for the fish to swim off, grayling  in my book are the most fragile and should never be put in a keepnet or held in the hand more than a few seconds. All I had to do was retrieve my net then take out hook and shot, what could be more simple? Next cast a similar size grayling followed by three more, then nothing, I allowed the float to go further downstream in case the fish had dropped down, I then got a bite where the float moved across the flow, striking I connected, this though wasn’t a grayling, but a nice dace of ‘Goer’ size followed by several more, then the bites stopped. In with a large ball of brown crumb packed with gentles, five minutes later another grayling then four more, again the bites stopped. I then allowed the float to go well downstream another bite a chub of about 12 ounce’s followed by two ‘Goer’ dace then another couple of Goer chub similar in size to the first. What was amazing the grayling were shoaled in a tight area, all the bites coming in the area of the gravel patch. Once the float has passed the gravel patch, it was dace and chub, the former I reckon were caught four to one. I lost a few, missed a few bites , though the fish were not big for me it was very good sport, I just enjoy working a float through the swim. After a five hour session, I reckon I had twenty to thirty grayling, with some fish just a few ounces, but the majority were twelve ounces to the pound, if they can keep clear of the dreaded cormorants and goosanders, I reckon there is a good future for grayling on this stretch of river, later this week I am hoping to target this area with an upstream nymph.

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Martin James Fishing
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