13/02/2012 - Somewhere in Derbyshire!
As title suggests, the venue for this trip shall remain nameless. Not a case of being secret squirrel, but rather a condition of me being allowed to fish the location in question. The trip had been arranged for a while, so had watched the weather rather nervously over the weekend, hoping that we didn't get a rapid thaw and consequently a rising river. Needn't have worried as the snow was still visible on the hills as I made my way out of Derby. Got to the venue to meet my guide for the day and was soon at the first swim. Second trot down the float disappeared. Not the hoped for grayling, but a nice, wild brownie. Two more of these followed before we moved down to the bottom of the section. Another brownie followed before I hooked into something that felt completely different, a solid, heavy lump that swam slowly upstream, then just hung in the current in mid-river. Unfortunately, after persuading it into the side into netting range, the hooked pulled out without us seeing the fish. Whilst I said "probably another brownie", we were both thinking otherwise. A couple of trots down later there was an action replay. This time the fish flashed under the surface and my companion said "grayling"! Didn't do much for my nerves, but this time the hook held and I was soon looking in the net at a fat, pigeon-chested hen fish. Scales went round to a sliver under two and a half pounds - a new PB.
The fish was incredibly broad, possibly already starting to fill up with spawn, and in mint condtion. After a coffee to calm the nerves, we moved back upstream to a pool in the middle of the section. A few trots later, the float went again and I was once more into a war of attrition with a big grayling. Again, the hook held and the fish was expertly netted by my companion. This one was a male and looked even bigger, certainly longer, so it was a suprise when the scales registered an ounce lighter than the first fish.
Again, the fish was in absolutely mint condition, but it looked even better back in the water with the big dorsal up at its fullest extent. Tried a few more spots, but the river had started to colour up quite markedly, the result no doubt of snow melt. Decided to quit whilst ahead and headed home, leaving the now green hills of Derbyshire behind me.