11/02/2022 - Get in while you can

Suspect along with a lot of other people, I am getting absolutely sick to death of these seemingly unrelenting wet and windy conditions we've had to endure the last few weeks. Whilst I suppose in desperation I could have found a sheltered spot on a lake or on the river somewhere and hunkered down behind a a set of buzzers or a quiver tip, I still had the best part of a pint of maggots in the fridge and really wanted to get out with the long rod and do some more trotting.  However, after days spent scanning the weather forecasts it finally looked like that there would be a brief window of opportunity coming my way, with the wind dropping away to a gentle breeze accompanied by some sunny intervals, albeit just for a few hours in the morning. 

All the local rivers had also been fining down nicely from the last lot of rain, although that was definitely going to change with yet more wet and windy weather building from the South-West. It was now or never so, having hastily booked the morning off work, I headed off to the River Dove near Tutbury once more. Made the effort to get there for first light, so was again surprised to see that I'd been beaten to it again. Thankfully the occupant of the white Prius taking up pole position in the car park was nowhere to be seen and I was able to drop into my first choice swim. The temperature had dropped overnight along with the wind, so I spent a chilly half an hour waiting for the sun to creep above the ruins of Tutbury Castle on the hill opposite. 

As the light level improved I started getting a few bites and had a couple of small grayling in the bag when I struck into a lump right down at the furthest extent of my swim. Thoughts of a big grayling were dashed as it took off across the river towards the far bank snags like a startled rabbit. Gave the Acolyte a proper workout as I gave it some stick and turned it back towards me, whereby it capitulated and a short, fat chub a smidge under 4 lb came grudgingly to the net.  A couple trots down later I hit another lump, but this time was left in no doubt that this was a decent grayling as, after a couple of big head thumps, it just hung there in the current. Trick with these I've found is not to bully them and just keep the pressure on until they get fed up and swim upstream of their own volition. Always a bit of a squeaky bum time with grayling, but not usually a problem if the hook hold is a good one.

Unfortunately it was not the case this time as the usually reliable Drennan wide gape pinged out just as the fish started to move - b***s!! To make things worse I bumped the next three fish before I eventually did what I should have done at the start of the session - change the flippin' hook! Carried on trotting away, having now committed myself to staying in the swim for the remaining hour or so. Continued to catch grayling in little bursts of twos and threes, including a nice male that was some recompense for the earlier lost fish, but I suspect not quite the same calibre. Left it right up to the wire before I had to pack up and head back having caught 19 grayling and that solitary chub. The downstream wind had already started freshening by now and creating a chop on the surface that was making it difficult to keep track of the float. However, with hindsight I wished I'd booked the whole day off. 

Sat here now looking at the havoc that Storm Eunice is going to wreak over the next few days it's difficult to know when I'll be out next and a "Big G" still eludes me.

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