Sunday, February 24, 2008

The grayling come in threes.

For the second weekend running I managed a few hours on the Ribble and again returned three grayling for my efforts. That was where the similarity ended though - today I found the river to be well up on last week, by a good eighteen inches, and carrying a nice tinge of colour. And whereas my previous visit witnessed a large hatch of olives, today I could count on two hands the number of duns I saw.

I was certain that heavy bugs would score today. The water was in ideal nick for searching with a team 'Czech nymph' style and I set about the lower end of the beat full of expectation. The first fish obliged fairly quickly - a half pounder to the pink-collared hare's ear; but when I moved upstream to the next pool, I got a feeling that the fish were starting to move higher in the water. There were a few dark olive duns in evidence and although I couldn't be certain, I thought I saw the tell tale neb of a rising grayling just off the main current seam.

Off came the bottom bouncers and on went a single baetis nymph on a tapered leader. This brought a grayling second cast (a nice one of 1lb 2oz), but in the process of landing the fish, I noticed a fish definitely rising ahead of me. So my next cast was made with a little snowshoe hare emerger and sure enough, the culprit rose confidently again - the result, another fit grayling of around 12oz.

At this point, I was anticipating a busy day's sport. I had only been going for just over an hour and already there were three fish on the board. However it didn't work out like that at all! Just as the hatch seemed to be starting, it petered out to nothing and apart from a little troutlet late on, I didn't touch another fish all afternoon. I toiled away with the bugs in all the likely spots, but to no avail.

A pleasant day though, and a few signs of spring: the fields were full of oystercatchers and lapwings, and the yellow flowers of celandines have begun to show in the hedge bottoms.

The real thing........and a very rough imitation!

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