16/01/2022 - Fishing against the clock

The family had a triple reason to celebrate this weekend - the daughter had come to the end of her isolation with two negative tests, which happened to be just in time for her birthday, and the lad had been offered a job with the National Trust down in Cornwall. 

Family fun times therefore meant that my personal fun time, a planned trip to the Dove, could still go ahead but I was under orders from the wife to be home by lunchtime. Therefore shot over to Tutbury in time to see the sunrise, the clear sky contrasting with the mist covering the fields, and made my way up to the head of a usually productive run. Rather than rove about, the plan was to methodically make my way down the swim and pick off as many fish as I could on the way. Dropped into the margins and fed a few maggots down the crease before sending the float on its way for the first time. It dipped straight away resulting in my first grayling of the morning - all six inches of it! 

Quickly added a few more and I was up to half a dozen fish before I knew it. However, while I was engrossed in this early action I had been blissfully ignorant of several ghostly figures emerging through the mist and pushing heavily-laden barrows across the field on opposite bank. It became glaringly obvious that there was a match on when a chap plonked himself in the swim about 100 metres downstream  of me and another a similar distance upstream. 

Luckily the tree cover on the far bank mean that nobody was going to drop in between them, but it meant that I couldn't fish down the whole length of the run as planned. 
However, by wading out a bit I could at least cover some different lines and depths. Therefore carried on feeding and trotting, steadily picking up fish as I did so, much to the interest of my match-fishing chum. Was just putting back a 1 lb+ male back when the bailiff from the club downstream appeared. 

Had a productive chat with him for 10 - 15 minutes before carrying on, adding a few more to the total, including another nice male. It was only when I looked at the photos later that I realised from the distinctive pattern of spots around its gill cover that this was the same fish that I'd caught less than 30 minute earlier! It must have gone straight back to its lie and carried on feeding regardless - not actually the first time this has happened while I've been grayling fishing either. 

However, even better, when I checked back further I found that I'd also caught this fish on the 19th of December. Obviously a glutton for maggots! My friend downstream in the meantime had hooked a couple of chub, unfortunately losing one in a snag, whilst his colleague upstream was yet to get off the mark, so I felt I was doing pretty well.

By the time I had got to my cut-off point at mid-day I'd had two dozen grayling. Nice to see amongst them were a few tiddlers that had managed to avoid their numerous predators - finned, furred and feathered - no doubt helped by the constant foot-fall of dog walkers on the opposite bank. A downstream breeze had started to blow by now and the culmulative effects of three hours stood in the river were taking effect, including an involuntary twitch in my right buttock! 

Managed to clamber back up the bank despite my feet feeling like two blocks of wood and stamped back to the car. Was interesting that sticking it out in a single swim had been equally as successful as roving, so it might be something I do more of in pursuit of that elusive bigger fish. 

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