Grayling. Arguably one of our countries prettiest species, a fish that is clever in the way it manages to elude even the best of anglers, I personally love catching Grayling and how it took me until 2014 to target them is beyond me, since then I have been fairly successful and my most recent trip to the Frome proved to be very hard but the reward was enormous and I obliterated my personal best for the species, something that I knew was possible but somehow doubted myself that it would happen as numbers of Grayling at the weights I hoped to catch are very low, alas the doubts were banished in spectacular fashion.
As the early hours of the morning ticked away Brian and I headed into deepest Dorset under the cover of darkness with a plan, the plan was plain and simple, to break our PB's 2.01 and 2.02 respectively. Numbers in general are low in comparison to their sister rivers (Test & Itchen) so bagging up on them was unlikely too. Once we arrived on the river we had a short walk downstream to have a look around to try to locate the small pockets of fish we would be targeting, often big specimens tend to hang around by themselves, living a solitary life at times, these were the ghostly shapes we'd be hunting for over the vast gravels.
First area we stopped in looked good but we decided just to stop and get set-up, or so I thought, after little deliberation Brian decided just to cast out blind and his float slid away almost immediately, he was met by a very powerful lunge and the rod hooped over, within seconds the culprit rolled on the surface and revealed that "Jammie Bollox" had nailed the very fish we sought in a matter of seconds, I couldn't believe it, she was enormous, we both went into panic mode and I think if making up a net were to be an Olympic sport then I'd have won gold by a considerable margin, I can only remember saying to Brian don't force it, don't rush it before it lay in the net recovering. Easy. As. That.
|Brian releasing his new PB of 2lb 9oz.|
I'm thinking of not inviting him to join me anymore as that took the biscuit, "challenge? what challenge?" I could hear him thinking. He however would learn very quickly just how tough it can be, all he had to do was watch me. I tried most if not everything bar static corn for a bite, I found it very hard. The weather started off perfect then a dreadful coastal breeze whipped up and bought a system over that rained on us for over 6 hours unabated, soaked through to the bone, the line kept sticking to the rod, the pin kept stopping, I swore so many times I must've turned the air blue, nothing was going my way until I caught a pretty Grayling of maybe 10oz which brightened up my day slightly but did very little just justify the 230 mile round trip.
The only cause for joy was when the rain did one around 4pm and bright blue skies appeared, with this new found hope that I could find a Grayling (large) I was off on a march, during the rain I popped into a few runs at the head and introduced corn to try and get some fish committing. Second swim I tried this in and three casts in the moment I had been waiting for came, the fight was extraordinary, one of sheer power and guile. Not for the first time this season I felt rather undergunned when I bent into what can only be described as a true monster, to me anyway. A huge sail like dorsal fin broke the surface followed by the back half of the fish......stunning to see such strength in action but what happened next surprised me a lot, I hooked her in a very shallow run at the tail of a pool and instead of the fish coming into the pool to play out the fight she went broad-side to the current and charged downstream, with the light gear I had on I simply could not pull and force her up, I had to grab the net as I scrambled down to follow it.
100 yards downstream and this lay in the net awaiting it's one very elated captor to baulk at it's sheer size and elegance. Exquisite puts it perfectly. Pressure? what pressure.....well if I was putting myself under any to catch there certainly wasn't any after seeing that. I shouted for Brian who thankfully was close by to do the honours of taking some brilliant photos of my prize. Amazing memory.
|2lb 11oz of pure pewter. Awesome.|