What was supposed to be a crisp winter's day jaunt up Coniston Old Man, turned into a brief grayling fishing session when my Dad cried off with a cold. To be honest, I wasn't feeling too clever myself and had some reservations about leaving the house at all; a falling barometer, chilly north-westerly breeze and crystal clear river, promised little in the way of grayling sport.
However, I fancied giving the eggs I tied this week a run out, so I decided to layer up and brave the elements.
It would be nice to say the effort was worthwhile, but for 3 hours I laboured away with different nymph set-ups, to absolutely no avail. All the usual spots were tried without success and I even had a good search through some of the slower glides using a team of lighter bugs and an indicator.....nothing.
Now the Ribble has been kind to me this season. I have yet to blank and more often than not, a few decent fish have been returned. Today was beginning to look a dead certain blank though; the river appeared devoid of life with the exception of a half dozen hardy olive duns which chose to emerge early afternoon.
As the light began to soften and the breeze died off a little, I decided to have a good search through the beck pool with a team consisting of two small pheasant tail nymphs, either side of one of those daft pink eggs. I was just going through the motions really, but when I lifted to a slow draw of the line mid way up the pool, a very heavy head-shaking resistance quickly told me that I had hooked something very large indeed.
I have written here before about how this can and does happen from time to time. I have hooked salmon whilst bugging on numerous occasions, but seldom landed the fish. On this occasion, I was successful. A dour, arm-aching game of cat and mouse ensued, during which my #5 rod was put under far more pressure than is recommended; but after about 20 minutes I finally managed to land a gravid hen fish of around the 10lb mark which was successfully returned, hopefully to spawn.
Now the interesting bit: I had assumed that the fish had taken the pink egg. Other salmon I have accidentally hooked have tended to take an orange shrimp or similar. However, when I went to unhook her, I found the point fly - a size 16 pheasant tail - lodged firmly in the scissors!
Quite unbelievable and further evidence that the enigma that is salmon angling will probably never be fully understood. An interesting end to an otherwise dour afternoon.
The Successful Nymph!