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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


11/12/2021 - A successful Short Grayling Session

Iím ready to go


Since my last grayling fishing session, I’ve only had a short session in the hope of catching a chub but I was on a hiding to nothing, with the river high and coloured. Though there has been quite a bit of work to do, , one of my short fences was flattened by ten feet of food water. The strong winds from Storm Arwen, also badly damaged the roofing felt covering one side of the cabin, so I had to get hold of a roofer, not an easy job, who is hopefully coming this weekend to sort that problem.

Checking the water level this morning I still had some six feet on the gauge, but I needed to fish, if only to drown a bit of crust, cheese or gentles. It was around 0930 hrs when I arrived on the river, stepping out of the car I was hit by a very strong cold north westerly wind around 20mph. I got kitted out taking shelter the other side of the car. Looking at the water I was surprised to see it was sparling bright, like a mountain stream in summer, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 42 degrees F. Walking back to the car I heard the call of the wild goose, sounding like a ‘wink-wink’ or ‘ang-ang’ the sound of the pink-footed geese, looking skywards I reckon there were several hundred of these magnificent birds, no doubt heading for Southport or Ribble estuary marshes. Every time I hear the call of the wild goose, my memory goes back in time to the Wash in Lincolnshire, the Solway in Cumbria and Perthshire where I have spent so much time in the winter months. Hearing those birds made my day all I now needed was to find the grayling.

My plan of action was to start well upstream, using a 12 foot Milwards Swimmaster, matched with an Eureka 4 inch reel holding some 3lb bs line, an orange tipped balsa float taking 4 AAA placed on the line two feet from the size 10 hook, with 2 BB eight inches from hook completed my set up. My plan was to work downstream trying all the likely spots with gentles as bait, until hopefully I found some fish. If that happened I would collect my gear from the car, then set out my stall to try and catch them.

Success At Last

After covering about a thousand yards, trying all likely spots, I struck gold in the same area where I’d caught grayling on my last session. In two casts I had two grayling, nothing big but most welcome, twenty minutes later having collected everything from my car, I’m all set up in my swim, ready to go. Sadly it didn’t work out as I thought, having spent time feeding the swim with dead gentles and a mixture of white and brown breadcrumb with some bran that would make the ground bait mix break up into small items in the water. I spent half an hour trotting through the swim continually changing the depth, eventually I moved a AAA shot to about eight inches from the hook, my idea was to cast into the faster water, then hold the rod high, slowly working the bait downstream the bait close to the bottom. Fifteen minutes later the float dipped, setting the hook I was disappointed to find it was a trout, which forced me to give line, as it moved out to midriver, there wasn’t a lot I could do except keep a tight line then control the fish as much as possible. I reckon it was ten minutes plus, before I got a glimpse of the fish as it boiled on the surface. Eventually I got the fish into the quieter water, where I let it slog away under the rod tip, eventually it was on the surface where I slowly was able to draw the fish over the net, it was mine, a very good trout 3lbs plus.

Five trout later, I got a grayling, nothing of any size but certainly a beautiful silver prize, in the next hour I had eight more fish, the best around the pound mark. One must remember that these are a very fragile fish, they must be treated with great care, thankfully with barbless hooks many of the fish get rid of the hook in the net, I then shot as best as I could a picture without touching the fish. I then lowered the net in the water letting the fish takes its time to swim off which they usually done very quickly.

In the next hour I had several more grayling, in between catching trout, which no doubt upset the grayling, but one doesn’t have a choice of not catching these fish, when the float dips I set the hook. Then enjoy the fight what ever fish I have hooked, these trout are usually triploid trout which don’t spawn or lose condition, so they really do bend the stick and pull the string, one doesn’t have a choice of what fish pics up the bait. Tomorrow despite the heavy rain forecast I will be back out on another stretch of the river, with cheese paste, lobworms, bread and meat trying to find a chub.




Small but beautiful

Note the red along the top of the dorsal fin

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Martin James Fishing
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