Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Wessex Trio.

 As we approach the crux of the season my brain usually goes into a state of overdrive to try and fit in any snippet of time on the rivers before the closed season, however, for the first time in living memory I am actually not that sad to see the season off, I have had some good spells but with less time on the bank and targeting more specific fish my returns have certainly tailed off slightly. Maybe over the last four or five seasons I have fished so hard that it's the inevitable ebb and flow of angling taking hold.

 One achievement that I want to achieve is a Wessex Trio, this for me is a 3lb+ Grayling off the Frome, 20lb+ Pike off the Avon and lastly a 7lb Chub off the D.Stour. Now I have come fairly close on all three and would love to push the limits just that little bit further and achieve what I have set out to do. All of the above aren't easy, but certainly feel that they are within reach. Time is what is required to try, so with the weekend just gone myself and the vice admiral made the 120 mile trip down south for three days.

Sunrise on the Frome.

 The first day was spent trotting the pacy D.Frome in fairly typical winter conditions, a little more colour than I'd like, creases pushing just a little too hard and the wind made fishing a much less comfortable affair than perhaps I'd have liked. Having started at dawn with the rising sun illuminating the surrounding countryside I looked to put my new 15ft rod through it's paces with an early Grayling.

 By the time my rod had it's first taste of action the sun had covered 70 odd percent of the horizon!, a sharp thump on the tip as the float vanished was a very welcome feeling, one I was beginning to wonder if I'd feel at all, within seconds the culprit revealed itself on the surface, not a grayling, but a trout.

 Great fun on the extremely light gear but not my target.

 London buses usually come in two's right? or so the saying goes, this trot (the very next one) the float sailed under in very much the same position the last did. This was no trout, the first ten seconds of the fight were a dead giveaway and this was my reward after a nervy couple of minutes. Some excitement at last.

2lb 3oz, my second largest grayling ever.

 Seeing a big grayling in the flesh is always a pleasure, this one behaved for a quick snap and went back into the river without any fuss at all...why couldn't they all do it! next trot through another tug on the rod, another fish and another grayling. This one of half the previous ones size but a pleasure to see.

 That's when my day became un-intresting again, I spent the rest of the day staring at a float waddling downstream without a tap. A nice curry and few beers to wrap up the evening, next up, a day on the Royalty.

Sunset on the Frome.

 What more could an angler look forward to than a day on the banks of such a fantastic fishery. Well, feeding fish would have been one thought, seems as if they didn't read the script. -4c overnight temps for three nights on the bounce and harsh easterly winds pulling the air temp well below freezing meant the conditions both above and below the waterline made for grim reading.

 The sport reflected that, one small Chub off the Trammels and a Salmon Parr made up the total for the days catch, unfortunately that could have been so much better if the dodgy chub I hooked in Mugs Hole had not done the dirty on me and parted my hook link on a snag just as I was inching it toward the net and just before dusk too. Not cool!

3oz lead barely holding in the middle crease.
My only Chub of the day.
 More beer and pizza, although I probably shouldn't have been so hasty with the pizza.....

 I just hoped that the ever faithful D.Stour would turn the trip around for both of us on the chub front. Maggots, bread, meat, boilies and cheese were all the arsenal, the sort of dream team you'd think a chub simply couldn't resist? well the sods had clearly had their fill before we arrived as my baits remained completely untouched for practically the whole day (apart from two liners which crapped the life out of me), tough going indeed.

 This is pretty much why I don't feel the same this season in regards to how quickly the end is upon us, yes I have had some very good fish at times but the away days this season have really kicked me in the plums. When will the stars align? Guess I just have to keep going until the magic happens.

Rather the Deer than me, that river was damn cold, good swimmer though.

 Maybe this weekend coming I locate those golden balls I keep getting told I own.

 The bird life was pretty cool though, so not all bad, I saw over the course of the trip, Oystercatchers, Buzzards, what looked like a Little Owl, a wader (pictured below) which I have never seen before, Kingfishers and all the other predatory birds the wessex rivers are unfortunately inundated by.

One very efficient Kingfisher on its teasle stem. 

The mystery wader.

A hungry Wren which ate its body weight in maggots in two hours it would seem!


  1. Some cracking pics there James, nice Grayling too.

    1. Cheers Mick, I am really getting into my photography, hopefully a new DSLR will improve some of the imagery. And yes, that grayling was a peach.

  2. The grayling that saved the trip (for some). Best sunset photo yet!

    1. Agreed, it wasn't easy at all mate, we tried hard.

  3. Always a good read James. I hope we can all get something over these last wo weeks

    1. Touch wood mate, tight lines too, just hope plans come good.

  4. Hi James
    I'm pretty sure that's a water rail you saw. I saw one on the Hampshire Avon a few years back,they are very shy secretive birds.

    1. Yes, I was quite pleased to spot that, it didn't stray from cover, at some point I will get an even better lens to get sharper images at distance. Thanks for dropping in Andrew!

  5. Yes water rail James, quite widespread in small numbers but more obvious in tough winters. Usually accompanied by what sounds like squealing piglets(?).

    1. First for me GB, must admit I haven't fished these far flung waters for long, hopefully as time goes on I'll see more of them.

  6. thanks for your share,i like the first photo,beautiful


Wash Out Wye.

   Brian and I had a trip earmarked for the R.Wye to target the Barbel, ultimately the plan was to play the numbers game and catch a double ...