Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Irfon grayling

Monday, 17 November 2014 at 15:36

Irfon grayling Just back from Wales, where a small group of us were fishing a flooded river Irfon for grayling. On Friday the river at Caer Beris was unfishable; on Saturday it was slightly more fishable...but not much more; on Sunday it was marginally fishable, by which I mean clarity was good but the river was still high and pacey. Generally we reached for the trotting rods but by Sunday the water had cleared enough for the more expert of our group (i.e. not me) to start catching the odd one on the fly-rods.What struck me, however, was the sheer beauty of the fish we did manage to catch: none was more than around 10-12oz. but each was like a newly-minted silver coin.

Adventures with the Jolly Green Giant

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 10:03

Corn Like most grayling fishers, when long-trotting I find there's little to beat a single red maggot on a size 18 or 20 hook. Small red worms are also top baits. But just occasionally, sweetcorn will work an unexpected oracle and thus it was in Hampshire last Saturday: I picked up half-a-dozen grayling in one glide, then when the glide went quiet I rested it, changing for the next spell to a single grain (or half-grain) of sweetcorn. After bites went quiet again I rested the swim, then changed back to single red maggot. All this is very well-known as a grayling tactic, but over the past year or two I've found that I'm continually obliged to re-learn stuff I forgot forty years ago.....which is, of course, one of the sheer joys of fishing.

The object of my affection....

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 09:59

Itchen grayling ....and indeed of the exercise: a small Itchen grayling, one of a leash of fish I released last Saturday. I caught nothing massive but during the afternoon did release several consecutive fish from the same small shoal, of which none was under the pound and the best 1┬Żlb.

  Note the Drennan Loafer in the left of the shot. I find this to be a splendid trotting float.

Test grayling

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 09:56

Timsbury grayling A fine grayling from the Test. Angler: Howard Seabrook. Culprit: single red maggot. It was a strange day yesterday, with fish seeming active until lunctime. Then a cold front blew in, the air temperature dropped by 3 degrees in an hour and the river thereafter seemed to go torpid.

Old hatches

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 at 08:50

Old hatches The majority of the world's chalkstreams is found in England. It depends how you count them - do a parent river and its nearby tributary count as one or two? - but the number is around 200. (Charles Rangeley Wilson lists 218 chalkstreams in his splendid book, Chalkstream, which details the waters of that chalk belt running from the Yorkshire Wolds through to Normandy.) These are globally unique habitats and in places, such as the Avon below Salisbury, it's possible to see how land and water were once managed. The river was allowed to flood the meadows (hence 'water-meadows') each winter and subsequently the flows would be regulated by sluices and flood-gates. This system provided grazing as well as habitats for fish and invertebrates. Here and there, if you think about what you're looking at, it's possible to see the land- and waterscapes as a sort of ecological palimpsest. The image is of an old hatch-pool on a disused sidestream of the Avon below Salisbury.

A grayling lesson in Hampshire

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 at 08:38

Howard on the Itchen Grand day in Hampshire this past weekend, long-trotting for grayling with my old friend Howard (pictured). It was a hugely instructive day: grayling - some big grayling, too - were clearly picking up loose-fed maggots but would resolutely refuse a maggot snicked onto a hook until I changed down to a 2lb. hook-length (from 3lb.) and a size 18 fine-wire hook. You wouldn't think the difference in nylon diameter would have made a marked difference...until it did. I didn't catch anything massive - when do I ever? - but I caught enough to satisfy both honour and curiosity.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014 at 08:35

Graham I wrote earlier this month that of Graham - Graham the Grayling - there had been no sign this year. I was delighted, however, that we were re-acquainted on the lower Itchen. Graham must have travelled from the Wiltshire Avon across the chalk downs over the past months, and he seems to have survived the journey rather well.

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