R.Wylye Part III: Red Letter Day!

  It's been my worst season for Grayling since I began targeting them in 2014, but since Mike had very kindly given me the opportunity to fish the wonderful Wylye deep in Wiltshire' amazing countryside things have gotten a whole lot better. The stamp of fish are clearly a cut above most of the rivers I fish (excluding the Dorset Frome), a number of two-pound specimens have come in two trips (ten to be precise with the best two weighing 2lb 7oz and 2lb 6oz) fish I could only dream of on other rivers I fish, an Itchen two-pound Grayling still eludes me.

 As I arrived at the river the temperature was -3c and sunny, just perfect for a spot of Grayling fishing. Oddly though there was quite a bit of colour running through but the river was painfully low and at summer levels which is going to be a major concern for this years summer if there isn't a healthy dollop of rain to top up the aquifers soon. Trotting maggots in coloured water is not normally an issue and fish will find them, I just hoped the lack of clarity wouldn't have an impact on the days fishing.

 Starting at the top of beat one I opted to feed quite heavily to get the fish moving around and seeking out the loose feed. The peg was a deep swirling caldron of about 6-8ft of freezing cold chalk water. Knowing it was cold the hook bait was kept as close to the bottom as possible and hoped the loose feed made it down to deck in time and not washed away in the flow. Some 15-20 mins passed by without a Grayling. 

 Early gains were made with a handful of Trout but my target (Grayling) I knew frequented the deep slacks so I persevered with the peg and was duly rewarded with a small fish followed by a beauty of 2lb 1oz and then another of 2lb 5oz (pictured) which was a great turn of events as just before I hooked and landed the 2.01 I lost a huge Grayling to a hook pull mid river and watched it turn downstream as the hook came out and know for a fact that fish was probably an upper two-pound specimen, gutted for sure but the blow was certainly softened with the next two dips of the float.

After a slow start this 2.5 got me warmed up!

 Given the two good fish it threw up there and the lost monster I decided to keep going for another hour before working out that the fish were either not feeding anymore or that was it, i'll side with the prior given the size of the peg, can't imagine it held only four Grayling, so I moved on downstream picking off the odd fish to upper one-pound range ( 4x fish between 1.10 and 1.14 ) came from one peg before going silent too, then I really struggled for bites until after lunch, the added warmth from the winter sun must have woken them up and then started to add to my tally at a better rate, by 2pm I was on 11 fish with two over 2lb, from that 2pm point the fish just seemed to switch on and got bites and fish at a quicker pace, one peg notably was giving up big fish just about every time the float went under.

 I was caught in bit of a whirlwind for half an hour where I caught 7 fish, four 2's ( 2.4, 2.4, 2.3 and my biggest of the season), a 1.15 and two mid 1's, putting that into perspective its more than I normally get in a season in terms of 2's. The biggest of the season Grayling came half way through that crazy spell and knew it was a bigger fish than the rest and fought similar to the large one I lost in the morning quarter mile upstream, on the scales it registered 2lb 9ozs and my second biggest ever Grayling and I was a very happy man to catch such a fish given the fact I have now lost two or three monster Grayling that, all of which could have been personal bests but that is fishing and full of highs and lows.

The jewel of the crown, her ladyship at 2lb 9oz

 My last couple of hours was still pretty darn good as the average sized fish seemed to hang around the upper one-pound mark with most going 1.12/1.13 amazingly and added a 7th 2lb specimen to that haul at 2.02 and as the day drew to a close and eeked every bit of fishing out of the last light I finished the  day with a clonking 37 Graylng, with seven over 2lb and roughly 15-18 or so just a matter of an ounce of two off two pounds which is astounding in itself, with hardly any small fish caught (4 under a pound I think) the question to be asked is, what sport is going to be present in 2-3 years time with the evident lack of certain year classes.

 Also I am doing a little something on YouTube now, these are short release videos and putting them on here, so click the link if you like and subscribe to my YouTube channel too for more videos, content will vastly improve too as I look to upload more in the short term. 
 Here is a link to a Grayling of 2lb+ going back ---- https://youtu.be/_B3xsB4HBMk

 A couple more images of the day as it was wrapped up in fine style!

Sunsetting over Wiltshire, which gave way to trillions of visible stars.

Wonderful surroundings.

The temperature dropped 5c in an hour! 


  1. Stunning looking fish, wish we had some in Warwickshire :) oh, wait !!! need to try for a bigger one !!

    1. Get on them mate! I'd like to think there would be some larger specimens around. Those Grayling I've been catching of late are a breath of fresh air! Really really enjoying it but think time is running out as Feb normally provides a warm spell and I would love to get the Barbel gear out a few more times before the season finishes.

  2. Great fishing James. Some stunning fish!

    1. Thanks Adam, I can't get enough of them, really feel content on how its going.

  3. Another awesome day on The Wylye, a three can’t be far away!

    1. You would think so mate! That loss in the morning was a hard pill to swallow, that fish if not "3" was a PB I don't doubt it for a moment, huge frame and powerful, it just wasn't to be. I can't whinge at that haul!

  4. Some going James, that 2.09lb is a peach.

    1. It certainly makes the harder days seem worth it, a great days fishing. The stamp of fish are quite something!


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