Sunday, 22 October 2017

Back on the Grayling - Fly Fishing

After a tough year chasing trout and scouting new rivers due to a polluted Irwell it has been a tough year despite some very good fish caught. I do love a big trout but in all honesty i would happily catch small trout forever on a healthy river than one big trout on a river barely hanging on.

But with the trout season over and without a rod in my hand for 3 weeks, Graeme decided to treat me with a trip out to see some lady friends. That's right, Grayling! So off we went early doors as i had to be home before 5 as the Mrs was going out in the evening and we was lucky enough to have good weather. The river level was up but dark and clear and look immaculate on arrival. Bar the 2.4 million leaves it should of been a good day!

In fairness it was a good day, being a private water it was well kept and we was pulling plenty of fish out along the whole stretch, despite being behind 3 other anglers! With a mixture of banter and fish to go with it was a much needed rise in morale for the long cold winter ahead. We would likely come here again when all the leaves had fallen as they were becoming a problem as the wind picked up during the day.

On another day we could have easily hit triple figures but being behind 3 other anglers made it tough but we still managed 60 between us, around a dozen out of season trout making an appearance. Nothing big showing unfortunately but fun none the less!


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    1. Hi John,
      Just seen this comment
      Yes it was, just hid your comment as i like places to remain anonymous due to a rise in poaching.
      How well do you do on there? I've lost a couple of lumps but never had them out!

  2. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the reply. I fish both rivers 2/3 times a week throughout the year, usually on stretches further upstream and on club stretches. My sessions are usually around 2 hours, so I'm happy with 6-12 fish (occassionally more with rare blanks). Biggest trout have been 19" and grayling 15" (not this year - 16" & 13" respectively). I am aware of some rare monsters: not caught by myself so far, but I have seen them. Obviously less prevalent on these smaller rivers than the Irwell system, but I am astounded by what Arthur and yourself pull out of drains!
    You may have encountered, amongst others, Northenfly(Darren), who seems to share your success with streamers, and Wobblyface(Ged).
    I tend to fish dries and single nymphs rather than a duo or klink and dink, mainly because it is easier to free the nymph when caught on the riverbed by sliding the rodtip to the bed.
    For me, the joy of these rivers, apart from proximity, is their friendly size, easy accessibility and wading and, in spite of a number of pollutions over the years, they are stuffed with fish. I understand your concern about pollution on the Irwell, but it is suprising how quickly they can bounce back.
    Having fished these rivers for 30+ years, I rarely saw another angler until about 10 years ago, but even now it is still unusual. I love to chat with other anglers and the internet has been a wonder in opening my eyes to new methods and the potential of these kind of waters.
    If our paths should cross, I should very much welcome that.
    All the best, John Oates.

    1. Hi John,
      I am unmistakable when you see me, being 6ft 8, it does help wade into deeper runs and get any snagged flies from a branch over a deep pool!
      Interestingly my PB trout and grayling on that system are both 18inches, i'm unsure if you seen the video a year or so ago where i hit something big on there. It ran downstream like a train and pinged the hook out, the rod bouncing back so hard it made a complete birds nest of my set up around my rod. Graeme also lost a big grayling on there, after hitting alot of small fish due to the richness this river has you get complacent with the strikes and when something big finally sneaks up you don't set the hook as hard as you would usually.
      I am hoping the Irwell bounces back soon, in 4 trips i caught 3 fish on there after the pollution. It was a difficult river to fish before the pollution but now it's nigh on impossible. You have probably seen the amount of big fish i had (and lost) last season on the Irwell and this year they had disappeared, presumably to more food rich tributaries, which probably explains why i got my PB trout of 25 inches this season. There are bigger trout out there but it's a huge river, with many inlets and you have seen with the 'drain' that they will be happy in any water as long as it has food.