02/02/2016 - Gale force grayling
Had already missed two good windows of opportunity to head over to Staffordshire for another grayling session, so grabbed this one with both hands. I knew it was going to be windy, but the river level had come down nicely and I was sure that I could find some sheltered spots. Unfortunately, I was halfway to the venue when I realised that I'd not got my favourite beanie. Not wanting ice cream head all day, the problem was solved by cutting off the arm of an old gardening fleece I had in the car - instant snood! Decked out in my unconventional headgear I stomped across the still sodden fields to the river, which was still carrying a bit of water, but which was nice and clear. Had a couple of casts in some new spots, but they weren't really doing it for me and I felt myself drawn to what was becoming one of the "bankers". First trot down without any loose feed and the float disappeared at the tail of the pool.
It was obvious that the wind was going to be a pain, gusting all over the place, holding up the float and periodically tangling the line around the back of the 'pin. The low sun wasn't helping either, the surface glare making it difficult to keep track of the float as it meandered down the swim. The first few spots weren't really as prolific as previously, with just a couple of obliging fish in each one. However, this did include a nice plump hen fish, my first one over the pound mark.
Soldiered on and by mid-day I'd had a dozen fish and had just got to the swim where I'd bagged up last visit. I was somewhat surprised to see another member fishing there and even more surprised to find out that he was drop-shotting with live worms, which I thought was a bit cheeky given the water has a legering ban! Had a chat and found out he was actually after perch and chub, but was yet to have anything. Gleaned some useful information off him before he set off upstream from where I'd just come. Sat and had my lunch and rested the swim, before dropping into it myself. Had a couple of small ones, followed by a nice male over the pound mark, just as my fishing companion re-appeared from upstream. Had another chat and he confirmed what I'd already been thinking. He'd fished the river for many years, caught lots of grayling, but had only caught one over two pounds in all that time.
After we parted ways I carried on downstream, taking a few more, including another nice male out of the "snag swim" - the tight, little spot I'd discovered on my first trip last year, made even tighter by the addition of a flood-borne tree trunk.
By three o'clock I'd come to the big pool where I'd had a couple of chub. Decided it was too late to have a look at the downstream section (that'll have to wait again!), so set up camp for the last hour or so. Got into the rhythm of trotting through the pool, feeding a few grubs every other cast and periodically hooking into a fish - no chub this time, but more grayling and a single out of season brownie.
The session naturally came to a close when I snagged up at the tail of the pool and snapped off above the float. The weather had turned showery so, rather than re-tackle, I headed back to the car and fired up the stove for a coffee. I'd had one trout and 27 grayling, with three fish over the pound, quite a pleasing result given the battering I'd had from the wind all day!