10/11/2020 - Grayling and minnow soup
Mentioned in my last post that I'd splashed out on a 14 ft Drennan Acolyte Plus. With the best part of two pints of maggots still in the fridge from pre-lockdown, I was itching to try my new toy out on the local grayling population.
Starting at the head of the run I ran the float down the inside and had a bite straight away. Not my target species, but a big fat minnow. The swim must have been black with the little buggers as virtually every subsequent cast resulted in another stripey bait robber, two maggots on a size 16 Kamasan Animal apparently no obstacle. Obviously the mild weather had not yet put them to bed for the winter. The Acolyte was hardly getting a workout, so it was a blessing when a sweep of the rod eventually connected with something a bit more decent in the way of a small grayling. By now the procession of dog walkers on the far bank was in full swing, the odd one casting me an accusing look, but most a friendly wave. Whatever their demeanour, they all certainly help to keep the "Black Death" away!
Took me a good three hours to work my way across and down the run, taking a few more grayling and what seemed like millions of minnows in the process. On what was to be my last cast before moving I finally caught what I was after - a mint, male grayling well over a pound.That fish put me in a bit of a quandry - stay or move? In the end I opted to run the float through a few more times, which would have been the right decision had I not bumped or lost the next three decent fish! Something that comes wth grayling fishing I suppose, but frustrating when you are struggling a bit. Hastily legged it to the other swim I had in mind, which happened to be the furthest point away on the stretch, so I sweating a bit in my neoprenes when I got there. The freshening breeze was blowing straight upstream in this spot, which was not ideal, but the move was vindicated with a small grayling on my first trot through.
More importantly, there didn't appear to be any pesky minnows in residence! Had another half a dozen grayling in quick succession, which had me kicking myself for not moving sooner. With time running out I gave myself one last cast and again found myself attached to good fish. Did the usual grayling trick of hanging out in the flow like a dead weight, but then decided to go airborne a few times when it got into the margins. Played it out carefully, eventually putting the net under another mint male. Unfortunately I really had to call it quits at this stage and yomped back across the fields shadowed by a big flock of fieldfares, the first I've seen this year. Got back home and dialled into my call with a minute to spare! Had been impressed with the Acolyte - unbelievably light, scarily thin at the tip, but with back bone to deal with the bigger fish, whilst not feeling over-gunned for the smaller stuff.
Hopefully, it'll be getting a few more outings if the weather behaves, although there's more wet and windy weather forecast as we speak!!