Sunday saw me up early again and heading off in thick fog over to the Bridge Inn at Calver in Derbyshire, where I met 20 members of the local group for a day's grayling fishing. On arriving a little early I joined a few of the guys on the bridge to look over the river, and heard about the prospects on offer. As we watched we were treated to a rising fish and the antics of no less than 3 Dippers.
Over coffee the area secretary Brian ran through the rules (fly-only, barbless hooks, catch & return etc), handed out the beats, and introduced our guides, members of the clubs who had donated the fishing. I drew a beat of some 3 to 400 yds of the R Derwent at Grindleford, from the road bridge up. Our guide Roger advised wading up the middle of the river and casting to the sides.
The river and conditions looked nigh on perfect and gave me that all important confidence.
Again I went with the 10' Streamflex and the leader to hand set up, with 2 nymphs, a czech nymph on the point and an JT Endrick spider on the dropper. The temperature was still very cool but the day brightened with some sunny spells as the day went on. First cast resulted in a hook-up but the fish disengaged itself moments later.
The Endrick spider didn't feel right so I changed to a copper bead PTN, which was immediately effective, picking up a couple brown trout and a couple grayling.
Working up the run I came to the head of a pool fed by a fast, turbulent riffle with a distinct seam, which screamed grayling. Casting the nymphs up the seam resulted in almost a grayling per cast! from about 6" up to 14+".
10 grayling and 4 brown trout later, I need a break, a coffee and a sandwich!
Without changing flies I carried on up to the beat eventually reaching a tally of 13 grayling, 9 brown trout and 1 rainbow, all safely returned.
All too soon the sun disappeared behind the hills and the temperature dropped, at times it was difficult to keep the rod steady as I was shivering so much. Note to self: next time out remember to wear 2 pairs of thermal sock as well as fleece pants over the thermal long-johns.
Having filled my boots with fish, the warmth of the pub and a good hot buffet was most welcome as was the chance to compare nots with my fellow anglers.
A red letter day indeed. A thought though, whilst I caught a high number of out of season brown trout I caught as many grayling on the same fly so its difficult to see how I could have avoided them!