Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Hard won

Sunday, 19 October 2014 at 22:28

Wharfe grayling Was it the quick, dirty flood? The unsettled weather? Today the grayling seemed disinclined. Before lunch I caught only minnows: greedy biters who flattered to deceive. After lunch I did move a handful of grayling but there was also a great gale of wind that made controlling the trotting-float tricky. Yea, the wind smote, even as a thing that smiteth. Huge dark catspaws of wind ruffled the pools and the surface filled with willow leaves. Branches thrashed about. The summer undid itself as I stood there hanging onto my hat. Nevertheless, I was delighted to get a few grayling and the best of them, at over 1lb, was a good fish for the river. And at day's end, a rainbow arced down the valley. If the gale had been almost like a mania, the rainbow was almost like a blessing.

Grayling: the Brezhnev years

Friday, 17 October 2014 at 20:40

Brandling Periodically I go home - back to Yorkshire. It's odd: I barely recognise some of the places where I grew up...and the traffic's so heavy that Yorkshire's probably sinking. As I was flogging up a by-pass somewhere this evening I had a sudden recollection of Soviet politicians in the Brezhnez years. The Moscow streets would be cleared for the relevant fleet of Zils. I could have used something similar today: 'Clear the road; McCully's abroad.' Still, I imagine Brezhnev and his bemedalled cronies didn't have a bag of brandlings in the boot. During a long-trotting session this afternoon a brace of grayling - good grayling, too - showed an almost immediate partiality for a brandling snicked onto a size 16 hook.

Definitely not Graham

Friday, 17 October 2014 at 20:32

A fine Dales grayling Two minutes after I'd photographed that unsuspecting brandling the float dipped and a fine grayling gyrated away in the glide. It fought powerfully but was eventually worked to the net. What d'you reckon? At first I thought 'around 1¼lb' but having caught sight of the extent of the fish lying behind my hand in the photo I'm inclined to estimate this grayling at 1½lb. And strange to relate, ten minutes later, in a different swim, I released another which was the twin of this one. These grayling are most definitely not Graham. Of Graham - Graham the Grayling - there has this season been no sign...so far. I hope he's doing well, that lovely 6-inch scrap of graylingness. I've missed him.

In her element

Friday, 17 October 2014 at 20:30

Grayling ...and there she was, recovering in the shallows, with that massive dorsal fin freaked with crimson...

Tim's first grayling

Monday, 13 October 2014 at 07:52

Tim's first grayling This lovely little beat of the Wyle at Fisherton (and see http://www.fishingbreaks.co.uk/chalkstream/wylye.htm) was, I thought, a good place to introduce Tim to the delights of grayling fishing. Among other things the beat was a favourite of the late Oliver Kite, and the hatch-pool holds a splendid head of both trout and grayling. The trout are going out of season now (I try as best I can to leave trout alone after September) but the grayling are coming into the pink of condition and I was delighted that Tim managed to catch a few on his first day's grayling fishing. Nice hat.

Spinner-fall on the Wylye

Monday, 13 October 2014 at 07:46

Spinner-fall I don't know if you can quite make out that cloud of flies in the centre of the shot. They're adult upwinged flies, the sort anglers call spinners. On closer inspection I thought they were Pale Watery spinners so in that glorious evening light last Saturday I put up a sparsely-dressed size 18 Pheasant Tail spinner (tied with red silk and a pale buff hackle) and cast over the glide. It wasn't easy fishing, by any means - the fish were ignoring many spent fly and were just tipping up occasionally and lazily - but the cunning plan was for once cunning enough to fool a very fit trout and a grayling, and that was a good way to end the day.

Tea

Monday, 13 October 2014 at 07:43

Afternoon tea Afternoon tea on the Wylye, in a bolt of autumn sunlight. I enjoy these moments almost as much as I enjoy the fishing. Truly, it's a hard life.

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