This winter was meant to be in search of Pike and other predators but instead have found myself searching through southern England's plethora of chalkstream's for the chance of another shot at Grayling, this species of fish is unbelievably great to look at regardless of size but the bigger ones do look amazing and having had a 1.9 last week I wanted to improve on this record and aim for a two-pounder. With last week's successful trip a return visit was decided upon with Richard and Brian joining me for a trip into a picturesque part of the Hampshire countryside.
Surrounded by nature at it's best we organised ourselves before dawn and headed off in search of fishy looking spots and as the water was so clear spotting individual fish to target was possible all day and what a way to fish, stalking your quarry is the most exciting way of fishing I believe when conditions permit this - as I found out to great effect during the day. Shoals of Grayling were littered with Trout of all species and smaller Grayling, stalking enabled me to avoid any "unwanted" disturbances and although many angler's wouldn't be able to turn their nose up at 5lb plus Trout these today were not my target.
|First Blood, a pound Grayling on almost the first cast.|
|Feisty Rainbow's do fight very well on 3lb line.|
First up was a "fin perfect" Grayling of exactly a pound which put up their customary scrap before slipping into the net, five minutes of fishing and I had a good fish banked, that was the sign of things to come as a further 6 fish were caught on maggots within the first hour of fishing, a great conditioned Rainbow did manage to avoid my sight in a slightly deeper run and lead me the merry dance before going psycho in the net.
|Stunning and obviously hungry.|
Between 9am and 1pm it was much of the same as Grayling were caught to 1lb 5oz with the rest just shy of the pound mark which is very encouraging for the future plus a cameo appearance from a lovely Perch and a Jack Pike caught on a little jig.
A couple of meets with the rest of the party during the day were used to exchange catch reports and where they were being found, whilst Rich was with me I was stalking a very big Grayling of 2lb plus and as my bunch of maggots approached it my float buried itself with that fish still on station, whatever it was I hooked it fought hard and only became visible as a huge sail came up to the surface, I called over to Rich to head over with the net and after 3 or so minutes I could regain my breath, a monster Grayling lay in the net, it had to be a certain 2lb fish but if this was 2 then the other was at least 2.8 if not heading for 3lb it was much bigger in comparison to my one, but I couldn't care less as the fish I travelled down for had been caught, Overjoyed? you bet I was.
|2lb 0oz and a brilliant new PB, what a beautiful specimen.|
|Chalkstream Grayling perfection.|
What a cracking fish she was and in great condition, I have certainly missed a lot in regards to Grayling and before Christmas 2014 I had only fished for them once, well let's just say that I'll be looking to capture more as of October onwards. Angler's that have caught 2-4lb Grayling must be very proud of their captures as they are probably equal to the large Rudd in how they look, never felt so scared though of losing a fish!, I spent that time it was on chewing my ticker.
As the afternoon wore on I was still having a great day and caught another three 1lb plus fish (1.1, 1.5 & 1.8) but Rich and Brian were also having a great day too as Brian also caught a new PB with Rich catching plenty of fish but unfortunately no Grayling over 12oz, the Trout seemingly impossible to avoid, I'm glad I had as the absence of Trout enabled me to get the Grayling confident but that enormous Grayling I saw when I hooked my 2 didn't fancy a chew having seen what happening to it's pal.
|1.8, second biggest of the day, 1oz off my PB before Kick-Off.|
Roach time was starting to approach and I had bagged as many as 25 Grayling, next up was hopefully getting amongst some monster Roach, mashed bread in a 20g cage-feeder and a generous pinch of flake was cast out ahead of a deep trough where I would expect red-fins to be present, I allowed the rod to settle and began to clear up my bag when my rod tip lurched over, a typical Roach bite turned out to be a Roach but not a "biggun" at roughly 12oz, I thought that the jackpot was landed and all I had to do was to hope that the Trout would stay away, that were the kiss of death as a Rainbow and a very good Sea Trout hammered around my swim causing all sorts of havoc, these two fish sealed the proverbial coffin as the swim died totally and the monster Roach will have to stay a mystery, I know they exist as Bri and I have seen them, 20-30 fish with the average being probably 1-2lb but a couple bucked that trend easily as I saw one that was getting on for 3lb!. I will be back for them.
An absolutely fantastic day as was last weeks trip and many thanks Chris for the opportunity.