As the weekend approached the weather, whilst turning a little damp, slowly became warmer with daytime temps hitting double figures. I gave my usual Friday afternoon overtime stint two fingers and opted for a lure session on my local river. I only had about two hours of daylight but I had recently purchased one of Savage gears 'real eel' lures and was desperate to give it a bash.
I headed straight to a known area which has been winning a lot of the matches lately so I knew the pike wouldn't be too far away. I clipped on the new lure, gave it a quick test in the edge to admire its action and then launched it towards the far bank. Three cranks of the reel handle was all I managed before I had a solid thump and found myself connected to a feisty jack of around 3lb, lures don't get much more instant than that!
All in all a really enjoyable little trip out with plenty of action and although I got soaked when the rain arrived at the end my head was full of plans to get back down again soon as one of the follows I had was from a very good fish indeed.
Sundays trip was to be a day out Grayling fishing on the Dove with my old mate Phil. We had booked onto one of our clubs fly fishing sections as they allow bait fishing to Trout ticket holders at certain times of the year and the stretch has produced the odd two pounder in recent seasons. I dearly wanted a 2plusser as my Grayling PB has always been somewhat poor and to me 2lb is the benchmark for a specimen, certainly around the midlands anyway.
Having never seen the stretch before we decided to have a bit of a recce and with it being a relatively short bit of river we were quickly able to determine the likely areas. Much of it was unfishable due to bank side foliage or too shallow to consider but there was four maybe five swims of interest to us so we quickly got setup. Straight away and almost simultaneously we both landed out of season Brownies, Phils being a netter and mine somewhat smaller. In fact mine was perhaps the smallest I've ever caught, perfectly formed and a great sign for the future of the beat.
Another much bigger Trout on my next cast had me a little worried that this might be the pattern for the day. Pretty as they are, We weren't there to catch Trout and if we continued to catch them we would have no choice but to move on. It's unfortunate that there's barely a bait that a Trout won't take and when fishing game rivers they are nigh on impossible to avoid.
My next cast brought a much gentler bite and my strike met with a more dogged resistance. It stayed deep on the light gear and I was well pleased to finally see a nice Grayling roll into the net. At 1lb10oz it was an encouraging capture from a new area to us.
A lost fish shortly afterwards pretty much killed my swim so I moved a few yards downstream and caught another Trout straight away. Bites were hard to come by again so I moved to the very bottom swim on the stretch. Within minutes I hit a decent fish which turned out to be a sizeable Rainbow Trout which did a great impression of a Dolphin as it repeatedly leapt out of the water as it shot upstream of me. My 2.10 hooklink never stood a chance. Phil had caught a couple of pound size Grayling but it was apparent that the Trout were extremely active in this area so we decided to head a few miles downriver to an area we knew pretty well in a bid to track down some Grayling.
The new stretch is a much longer bit of river and gave us many many more swim choices. I knew where I wanted to be so Phil and I both went our separate ways. There was one particular hole I fancied having a bash in on my way though as I knew it was often a good spot for a Chub or two. I was glad I did because within a couple of minutes my lobworm hookbait was snaffled by a solid chub of around 3-4lb.
I moved on to my target swim, it was a big area of water which meant I could pull fish in from all directions and my plan was to stay there and build it up with regular baiting of maggots. It took around 15 minutes to get my first bite and my strike met a solid resistance. After a somewhat hairy scrap I netted a decent looking Chub which looked well worth a weigh. 5lb2oz was its number, a good result on a size 18 hook and double red maggot.
The action continued a bit more sporadically than I had hoped for but a few grayling to over a pound plus a couple more Trout fell to my rod over the next three hours. Eventually though the swim dried up completely and I was starting to get a bit bored . Phil came by and although he'd caught a few he too was struggling to find fish in any numbers. We parted company again and I headed back upstream to a deep, steady and relatively featureless spot. Half an hour there gave me two bites, a Trout and a tiny Grayling which, like the little Trout I had first thing was a perfect miniature of its mum and dad.
Phil had gone some way upstream so I headed up to join him but on my way I spotted a swim which I'd never really noticed before but it really caught my eye. A tree had come down the previous winter on the far side and a tasty looking slack had formed behind it. There was a small bush overhanging some fairly steady water on my downstream margin too. I knew the area wasn't deep as I'd waded through there whilst fly fishing a couple of years back but it looked good for a cast or two.
I chucked into the slack and missed a bite immediately, next cast produced a Trout and then I couldn't buy a bite. At that point I had a phone call so I just lobbed the bait to the bush downstream of me. Within seconds I was into a nice Grayling of over a pound. The phone call was Phil telling me he'd found some fish and had just caught 1lb12oz Grayling which was good news. The rain clouds had really rolled in by now and although the wet stuff seemed to be holding off the light levels were almost dusklike.
Whether this had an impact on the fish feeding or not I don't know but suddenly I seemed to be catching a fish a chuck! At one point a large Goosander popped up next to my net as I netted a fish, I don't know if it had my fish in mind for its lunch but it soon cleared off when it spotted me. I thought that would be the death knell for any further action in the spot but the bites continued unabated.
I was bending into yet another fish when Phil came up behind me, "you found a few too then" he said, "yeah baggin up mate" I replied. The fish I was playing seemed very Chublike until Phil caught a glimpse of it and declared it to be a serious sized Grayling. To be honest it didn't look that big to me until I got it to the net and it filled it! The needle on the scales pulled around to 2lb9oz confirming that my old PB was blown out of the water! Chuffed was an understatement.
I fished on and caught a couple more smaller fish before the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain started, that was the sign to pack up but I was more than happy because I'd achieved my target at the first attempt this season. Question is, what do I go for next?