February Grayling

I hadn’t fished for over three months. The new trout season was thirty days away. I sat in the garden with a cup of tea and watched the clouds of midges buzzing around the hedge. The warm, sunny weather felt like Spring. Perhaps we would drift into Summer, bypassing winter again.

The neglected Defender smoked a bit but a glug of Redex and an Italian tune up sorted it out. The walk beside the river was calming, I hadn’t visited the Beat before. I walked about a mile and sat on a rock fifty feet above the water. The pool below was very deep and although I watched the water for a while, nothing moved.

The following day was also bright and sunny. I thought about grayling fishing. I regarded grayling fishing as an excuse that other people used to continue trout fishing during the close season. I resolved to stop fishing immediately if I caught a trout. The mighty Tamar beckoned.

I had a new Rio line loaded on my little Hardy reel. A visit to Stockbridge for the Fly Culture magazine “Gathering” had provided an opportunity to visit Robjents. I’d planned my shopping trip weeks earlier. Just buy a new line, don’t get bullied into buying a Sage rod, don’t buy another reel. It worked, I had enough credit left for the extortionate hotel bill.

I arrived at the river having ignored many “Road Closed” signs. The river was in good condition, the level was up a bit and the water had a slight green tinge. I started below the salmon croy, working the little Red Tag around the rocks and exploring the seam between the fast water and the back eddy. I’d had several grayling on that fly last year and I was confident of a take.

After an hour without a take my confidence was diminished but I stuck with the leaded fly, I just needed to find the exact location of the shoal.

I moved upstream to the next croy and repeated the process. I thought that the slightly shallower and slower water would produce a fish. An hour later, as I wandered back across the fields, I made the usual excuses, ‘too bright’, ‘too cold’, ‘wrong wind direction’ etc.

It had been good to be out in such beautiful weather, in solitude, concentrating on grayling and not catching a trout !