Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Fishy Plans

Our eldest son, Rob, lives and works in Switzerland. He's been there a couple of years now, and I really miss his infectious enthusiasm for fishing. A few years ago it rekindled my own interest and fuelled a couple of successful campaigns on the Exeter Canal, for Pike and Tench, both documented in this blog. Last year I struggled for motivation in his absence, but eventually found a local lake which fired me up a bit. Small and intimate, quite lightly fished, with a nice head of modest Carp which were challenging to catch...

Not large, but very pretty.

This year I was looking forward to getting involved again, but Covid-19 happened. And then, just as things were set to ease, and anglers able to venture forth again...the lake went syndicate. So that was that.

Thankfully it didn't matter really, because birding was pretty much full-on throughout 2020. But just occasionally I still get this real hankering to get the rods out again. Like now. And the fish that beckons is Grayling...

I've only caught a few Grayling, and never a big one. I've written about that before. The last time I went Grayling fishing was with Rob, almost two years ago. We blanked with spectacular proficiency. But... turned out a beautiful evening.

So anyway, I want to try again, and this time will be alone. Before I committed to a plan I thought it wise to go and inspect the river, because there's a lot more water around than last time, and I needed to check there was still some accessible river bank...

The view from a famous old bridge this afternoon. In normal conditions the only water visible would be running down the centre of the photo, rather than all over the surrounding fields!

Better, but not great. At least I could walk the river bank. Well, some of it. Just.

That was good enough for me, and there is now a box of maggots in the fridge, oblivious to their imminent fate. A purist would fish for his Grayling by skillfully guiding a float down the river, with the bait suspended below. This is float-fishing, or more specifically, trotting. I've caught a few this way, and heartily approve; it's my favourite method. But I'm afraid my heretical plans involve a lazy bit of feeder-fishing. I will plonk down in my seat, lob a block-end feeder along the near bank, stick my rod in a rest, and wait for a pull. The weather is threatening a cold northerly, and that way I can keep my sensitive, old-man's hands stuffed in warm pockets, or wrapped around a hot coffee.

So this is what I'm hoping for...

December 2017. A nice, pound-plus Grayling in its element.

Well, I wasn't expecting to write a fishing post. And if there isn't another before January pretend this one didn't happen.


  1. Gav, good luck with the venture, and thanks for reminding me in a roundabout way, that I have a ticket to fish the local river.
    I aim to fish the nearest swim to the club car-park. A toss up between ensuring that the blank outing I get, or success will be with the minimum effort.

    1. Thanks Ric, and hope your exploits are rewarded too. 😊

  2. If the river's up I tend to fish down the inside in any small slack I can find. The grayling gather there rather than fight the current ;o)

    1. Thanks for the tip, Dave. Yes, I'd like to think that, like me, the big Grayling are looking for an easy life. 😉

  3. Good luck with your grayling pursuit, they are truly wonderful fish when seen up close. Wishing you a safe and enjoyable Christmas break, tight lines - Dyl

    1. Thanks Dyl. Hope it's not too long before you can get out fishing again... 😊👍