Sunday, 27 October 2019

Grayling Away Day.

 To tell the truth this trip wasn't necessarily in search of Grayling but knew the likelihood of my initial target, the Roach making an appearance on the bank would be quite a long shot. A beautiful mid-autumn morning gave way to a largely bright sunny day and although fishing was far from easy I did make the very best out of my time in what is as close to angling heaven as I've come to experience.


 Excluding out of season trout I didn't catch a fish in the first three of my time on the bank, first Grayling of the day was very much worth the wait however, first go for them this season and the first fish is a two-pound plus specimen, can't get a lot better than that. As I gazed through the crystal clear water that flows through the pristine Hampshire countryside more fish of similar calibre sauntered across perfect gravels, simply teasing me as countless attempts to add to my great start slipped by without as much as a flinch.

2lb 2ozs, first Grayling of the day!
 It took some getting used to the constant assault from the Trout with some of them well over five pounds and putting my very light but well balanced trotting setup to the test, often beating Grayling out the way to the double/treble white maggot, some were really stunning too in great autumn condition. I did get another chance at a big Grayling but through all the control I had at the start of the fight the last ten seconds went horribly wrong as I lost concentration and the hook pulled as the fish turned on the frame of the net and dislodging the hook in the mesh. 

 Plenty of Trout action continued to marginalise the Grayling and in the end, the Roach. It took most of the day to find a Roach, but when I did I watched two monsters easing across the other side of the river to a slack under a bush, nothing much I could do about it as the Roach had already made me. Seeing them gave me my plan for dusk and concreted my hopes about at least targeting one or more.

 Having struggled with the "Ladies of the Stream" I had a little blast at the pike and was treated to five in a short spell, nothing big which was to be expected, nevertheless good fun and then it was back to the Grayling to tie me over until an hour before dark when I changed tactic to a small 10g cage feeder with mashed bread in a marginal slack.

A pristine Test Valley Esox.

A few in the end came along, I seemed to get into my groove, not before time!
 My wait for dusk had been patient as I could see Roach starting to appear from downstream of where I was sat and as the light began to fall the delicate liners began as the now fifteen strong shoal of redfins, some which were way way way over 2lbs sifted through the weed on the bottom, only to get a quick tap on the quivertip, followed by a brutal wrap around, I really thought for a second or two that a monster Roach was on the other end, that hope was quickly dashed as large trout, possibly 7-8lbs bow waved across the river backwards and forwards, much to the irritation of the Roach that after 30-40 seconds slowly drifted away downstream to whence they came. One shot to catch the seemingly impossible was done, but not without one last go.

 Having seen them already make their way upstream once the hope they would repeat that feat now the commotion had settled was firmly in mind. I settled a new feeder full of mashed bread down on the same crease and sat back listening to the Tawny Owls in the trees behind me calling away as a fox harked across the fields for its partner. A lovely atmosphere to be immersed in, all I could wish for at that point was the serenity to be broken by a blabbering wreck of an angler as a monster Roach lay in his net...

...but no matter how much I wished, my time came and went and once again these leviathans eluded capture, more often than not this is the outcome when targeting such weary and measured fish. I will be back to give them another go, the cards may well be stacked in my favour on another day.


  1. Chalk streams in autumn is there anything better? My trip to the Wye yesterday found the river coming to greet me in a massive, turgid boil half a mile wide. No roach spotting for me.

    You obviously know your game but hemp and tares may beat those pesky trout. I'm going to try it on my next Test trip in a week or so's time. ;o)

    1. Apart from the leaf fall not much Dave, I love autumn and love fishing chalkstreams even more, they are my bread and butter being sandwiched between numerous rivers within a relatively short distance.

      As for the Roach, I just think they are simply uncatchable, I have caught very few on the Test and find when you they miss out on the 2lb mark often by a couple of ounces at best but enjoy the challenge all the same, there are fish nearing the 3lb mark and I would dearly love to catch a fish of that calibre once again.

      Good luck on your trip down, I hope the river isn't thumping through and you have decent clarity.


Back to Plan A.

   I am well behind on this post, life has just been far too busy for fishing and all that comes associated with it, to tell the truth I am ...