Monday, 10 March 2014

First session of the year, last for the grayling.....for now.

Things have been hectic. I have finally moved house; I will never move again. I can't recall an experience that left me so frustrated with people who are paid to do a job, yet are seemingly incapable of doing it. I digress.

Fishy things have been slow since the new year. I had an aborted half-arsed attempt at lure fishing on some of the local drains during the first week of the year. The wind was incessant and bitter. The sheer amount of rain this winter limited my options as far as fly fishing was concerned. My only grayling river has been a consistent brown colour whatever the level. I became despondent; fishing moved well down the list of priorities.
At the BFFI with Ant77

I had a great day at the BFFI on the 8th February, I met a few forum members and others who don't frequent the boards, thanks to Toby at Funky Fly Tying for the invite. I haven't tied a fly since BFFI, I'm hoping to get into the swing of things this week. My first fly fishing trip of the year on Saturday should have provided the impetus I need.

I was invited by Mike to fish up in Dovedale. A river I have never fished before, it reminded me of the Derbyshire Wye. Only slightly bigger in size than my own rivers but with much more velocity in flow, the river was slightly coloured and pushing through well.

This spring is in stark contrast to last years. I had my fingers crossed for a LDO hatch that might provide a fish to a dry-fly.
The view that welcomed my arrival, the river running along the bottom of the valley along the trees.
The day started cold and misty, the view of Dovedale as I came round the corner was spectacular. Nothing much to see in my home area save for twenty miles of uninterrupted views in all directions. Mike was already in the car park waiting for me when I arrived, he had kindly pre-paid for my parking ticket. I was salivating as I looked at the river whilst getting out of my car. Mike and I caught up and chatted with a gentleman who was also fishing.

Dovedale is very popular with tourists, Mike suggested while it was early and still quiet that we try an area where the path ran alongside the river. Later on in the day there was a constant stream of traffic on the footpaths. I chose a tantalising run that flowed along our own bank. Half a dozen trees lining the bank made me conscious of my casting. I tied on a red tag variant bead head on the point; this was a size 12 grub hook with a 2.8mm tungsten bead. The dropper was a size 14 Utah killer bug.

Mike left me and went further upstream. I had been fishing for less than five minutes when I hooked a fish. Its instant gyrating told me I had hooked a grayling and it felt a good fish. A great fight which took me into a fast run just below where I hooked it. Before I netted the fish Mike had disappeared round a corner. As the fish rested I asked a couple who were walking if they would mind asking Mike to come back. As I was waiting for Mike to come back JT and Woz walked past and had a quick chat before moving on. Mike arrived having also had a chat with them and I got some pictures of the grayling. It was by no means big, but it was bigger than what I normally catch.

My first grayling, we reckoned it was around a pound and a quarter.
They always look smaller in the pictures.
The fish was returned and we moved on. The day proved quite difficult. Mike and I fished a lot of very likely looking holes and runs and I have no doubt that we swam our flies past plenty of fish but by the end of the day I had caught three grayling; the first being the biggest. I only saw two duns on the wing and no rises.

Mike fishing a cracking looking pool, I would love to swing a sculpin in here in the summer.
As it turned out we weren't the only ones to struggle that day though of course JT did far better than any of us and I was the only one who didn't catch a trout. All of my fish fell to the red tag variant and the day ended with much warmer and pleasant.

The views along the valley were breath-taking, to me anyway.
Being a tourist next to on of the many springs that feed the river.

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