23/01/2022 - Grayling are stupid!

Title of today's blog aside, I really do love my grayling fishing and am lucky to have a plethora of grayling venues available to me, the closest being just 15 minutes away on the lower River Derwent. Not so in other parts of the country, so I was delighted to read that fellow blogger, Mick Newey, had caught a rare Warwickshire grayling on his first attempt. Small, but perfectly formed, and hopefully indicative of an established population - we shall no doubt see as Mick continues his quest for a bigger one! 

Now, whilst my grayling season had got off to a good start with nearly 100 fish in the net already, I had not got anywhere near to beating my PB of 2lb 9oz, a fly-caught fish from a private section of the upper River Dove back in 2014. It was the Dove that I still believed gave me the best chance having seen friends catch fish knocking on three pounds in recent years. With another few hours available this morning I therefore headed off again over to Tutbury. Arriving at first light and making use of the new car park, I was shocked to see two vehicles had beaten me to it. However, walking upstream I found their occupants, one of whom was the club bailiff, with feeder rods out and having a social in the first accessible swims. Had a quick chat, during which I learnt that the match I'd witnessed last weekend had been won with a 30lb net of chub, so filed that information away for later and carried on up to the spot I'd fished previously.
The intention was again to stick it out, build up the swim and hopefully work through the little 'uns. The river had dropped by about 20 centimetres over the week, but still had a nice tinge of colour and was looking good. However, things didn't go to plan. Caught a couple of grayling straight away, but as I introduced more loose feed the float started dithering about instead of pulling straight under. The culprits were minnows of all things and became a right pain in the arse. Had probably caught a dozen of the little beggars whan another couple of anglers came walking up from the car park. Again, had a bit of a chat before they carried on. Gave the float a few more runs down before I too decided to try my other "banker" further upstream. Luckily my two friends had settled in just a short distance away, so made it to the new spot unhindered and undetected. Seemed to be a few more fish in residence here and, more importantly, no minnows! 

Quickly caught half a dozen more grayling before striking into a fish that went ballistic, pulling line off the 'pin as it shot downstream and then turning and shooting upstream just as fast. A glimpse of a spotty flank confirmed what I thought it was and, after a bit of tug of war, a nice brownie with a big gob on it rolled into the net. Took a quick snap and got him straight back before having a bite on an energy bar to rest the swim for a couple of minutes after his theatrics. The very next trot through I hit another good fish, but from the head banging I knew this was a decent grayling that put up a great scrap in the flow before capitulating. Again, nowhere near a PB, but at 1lb 9oz and a smidge it was my biggest so far this season. A distinctive male with a split dorsal, I posted his photo on Facebook when I got home only for a friend to reply straight away that it was fish he'd caught last week! 

Sure enough his own picture confirmed it - he was even sure that he'd hooked and lost it a few casts before he actually landed it. Add to that the fish that I've already caught three times (twice in about 30 minutes last session) then it appears that grayling are really thick 'cus they just don't learn their lesson! Carried on catching a few more culminating in another nice fish bang on mid-day. Had told the wife I would be back by one o'clock and had started to feel the cold through my waders, so packed up at this point. Had been a bit of a struggle compared to last week, but I'd managed a dozen grayling and that single brownie. Ran into the bailiff and his mate on the way back - they had moved swims a couple of times, but had also struggled with just one chub between. Walking further downstream I found that one of the other anglers had jumped into the swim I had started in. "Thought you'd gone home" he said, so I told him how I'd got on and then asked him if he had done any better there than I had. 

His swift reply was "no!", which put a smile on my face for the rest of the walk back to the car. Probably need to think about leaving my comfort zone now and doing some pioneering if I want to break that PB, although I might have a crack at some chub first.


  1. I fished the National Trusts Charlecote park for a couple of season and must have caught the same chub 7 or 8 times. I did think about maybe naming it, it liked me so much. But yes I'll be back at the Grayling before the end of the season. I'm hoping to wait a few weeks when the dawns get earlier so can do a smash and grab session again.There must be bigger ones I'm sure of it

  2. Great read, well done. Some great grayling. my pb is 1lb 10oz, a magic fish.