01/03/18 – One of the species that I haven’t done a lot of fishing for is the Grayling and my PB was pretty much non existent so when my mate James Champkin called me up and invited me to have a go for them I couldn’t say no. I hadn’t seen James since we went fishing at Lochnaw together over four years ago so it was great to catch up with him. Having only trotted a few times before for other species such as chub and dace I am no expert at the method but was looking forward to giving it a go.
The plan was to head up to the river for two days fishing basic trotting tactics. 4lb Suplex line straight through to a fixed spool reel and a size 18 hook with a single white maggot. A small loafer float and strategically placed lead shot completed the basic set up. The lead shot pattern was strategically placed to minimise tangles and ensure the bait was presented correctly when moving through the water. I changed this many times over the session to suit the conditions and the river until I felt I had it just right. I did take my centre pin reel with me but it wasn’t the best piece of kit for the job and some of the swims you had to cast to the far bank and a centre pin simply would allow this.
We were quite concerned that the water clarity would have decreased due to the recent rain but on arrival the river seemed in good condition. It was running a little high but with no more rain forecast for the day it would soon drop and begin to clear up. James gave me a tour of the venue and pointed out some good swims that I should try focusing on drop offs into deeper water where the fish would be held up. I had literally been fishing for about ten minutes when the loafer dived under and I hooked a small trout that put up a tremendous fight on such light tackle. I continued to feed the swim and five minutes later I was playing another fish that seem to be putting up a different fight, staying deep and using its weight to hold in the current. I couldn’t be into one already I thought? and then it surfaced. A huge grayling with beautiful colouring. I bungled her in the net and called James over to help with pictures and weighing. I was sure she was over 2lb but James wasn’t and he had it spot on with the fish going 1lb 13oz. This was a new PB and I thought if that was 1lb 13oz what the hell does a 3lb fish look like.
We continued to fish throughout the day and I managed a load of brown trout trout including a few wildies and James managed a cracking 2lb 8oz Grayling. With the conditions improving throughout the day I was hopeful that I could land a fish over the magical 2lb mark. I started fishing a stretch that was typically quite deep and dropped into about six feet of water from four feet and it wasn’t long before I was into a big trout. I managed another five trout from the swim and decided to persevere as It was mentioned that unlike other rivers the Grayling in this particular river seemed to be isolated amongst the trout. Again the float vanished but this time I could tell that I was attached to something different and knew that I had hooked a big Grayling. The power of these fish is absolutely amazing and it really is nail biting stuff when you have a size eighteen hook, fast current and a large grayling on the end.
After a few minutes she tired and I netted her first time without any unnecessary drama. I knew It was a big fish but when the needle swung around to 2lb 10oz I was astonished. What a fish and what a day on the river. Having never seen a big Grayling before I can say that they are without doubt the most beautiful fish that swim in our rivers. James took some cracking pictures and I was made.
The day went and next morning arrived bringing with it terrible fishing conditions. It didn’t stop raining all day and I was soaked to the bone. James did manage a good fish on the feeder but the water turned cloudy and it didn’t look good. After trying all day with only a few trout to show for my efforts we decided to head back home. It really was one of the most enjoyable sessions I have had fishing in great surrounds with excellent company. It was nice to catch up with an old mate and I’m every so thankful to James for the invite. I cannot wait to return later this year.
James also managed a PB woodling pictured above 🙂