Danny, David and I had arranged to fish the Windrush in the quintessential Cotswolds, in the search of the grayling that live there. We met at the "Little Thief" for breakfast and a chat about tactics and approaches for bagging some fish, Danny had already printed off maps of the beat, and as he had fished it previously had some good information on various glides and fish holding areas.
We had a spring in our step as we hot footed to the Orvis shop to collect our tickets for the day, where we were met by a Brummy version of Amos Brearly. He went into detail of exactly where we could and could not fish and mentioned that not many Grayling had been caught in recent times.....great!
On arrival at the usually clear river in was very evident that the recent rain had changed the depth and colour quite significantly. We all set up our centre pin trotting tackle, I selected my 13ft Preston Excel rod with a centre pin which was loaded with 4lb Drennan float line, a small chubber float with a bulk shotting pattern and one dropper shot 6 inches from the hook, a Drennan Red maggot size 16 hook. My approach was going to be to regularly feed a long glide with red maggots, looking to trot through at a pace just slower than the normal flow, holding back at intervals to flick the double red up.
Though everything was working perfectly I when bite less in my first swim, in fact we all did. It w\s so annoying as the colour and pace had it seemed pushed the fish into slacker water. With this in mind I moved upstream to a swim on a large bend with a slack eddy at the outer edge. At I would have struggled to cast my float to this areas, I set up a feeder rod, with a small cage feeder and 2ft hook link, this was loaded with liquidised bread and a nice piece of flack. It was in position long before I had a good bang on the tip, which I thought could be a chub. It turned out to be a brown trout of around a pound.
By now Danny and David had moved up towards me, as soon as they did my tip banged round as I was in to a better fish....this though did not last as my link broke....trouts teeth me thinks!
After moving around a few times in the town stretch we decided to cut our losses and move to the stretch which included a small weir pool at it base, where we would later meet up to target at the end of the evening.
Throughout the afternoon I spent time in "fishy looking" areas but was unable to register a bite. I was not alone with this as both Danny and David also failed to land anything on the bank, though David did have a small trout on in one area.
I found myself at the confluence a very shallow winter run off ditch and the main river, in which the river ran away from me towards a bend in the river at about 35 yards away. It was not long before I noticed a fish top in the shallow water to my left. Seeing this I shallowed my rig right down to about 10 inches with a vain hope of tempting what ever it was. Almost immediately I had a bob on the chubber and I was in to what I first though was a dace, but after a short erratic fight, it had transformed into my first every grayling...though no specimen it still ticked a box at 3oz!!!
I continued to fish this glides as I was getting regular bites but I could not seem to connect with the fish, perhaps some minnows had moved in? I did though manage to winkle out a small brown trout prior to joining the others at the weir pool.
With Danny and David both set up I only had one real choice which was a very wet looking peg in the centre of the reed bed, not great but c'est la vie! I put both feeder rods onto the roost which liquidised bread filled cage feeders and a nice piece of flake. An hour later I hit into a bite which transpired into a small chub of around 10oz. Not what I as after but on as day that fishing was extremely difficult, any action was gratefully received.
On last knockings I decided to try a maggot feeder with half a lob worm. As I was seeing to a call of nature I noticed the tip vibrate a bit....bloody great nothing for ages, then whilst I am peeing, i get a bite! Luckily the fish was still on, a short bit of hassle with landing the fish over reeds and A lovely looking roach was bagged.
Davids scales registered 1lb 7oz, a nice way to end a very difficult day. This this was very long for its weight, I am convinced it would go 2lb easily if it had a stomach.
Thanks To Danny and David for a nice day out....just a shame the fish were not really playing out!