I was lucky enough to fish the river Clun for Grayling yesterday. The day started full of promise as my host [Neil] & I drove through the Welsh Marches; a hard overnight frost had left the landscape glittering under a powder-blue sky. The river was pushing through a bit but a local gentleman told us it had dropped by four and a half feet over the past couple of weeks – it was now mouth wateringly perfect.
We made our way to the bottom of the beat and started fishing with high expectations of a superb day’s fishing. Four hours later we looked at each other, mystified that, apart from one micro-grayling hooked & lost we had not seen any sign of fish. Comparing notes we we’re both reassured that we had tried all of the flies, depths and methods we could think of. Our reassurance was further buoyed when chatting with the club’s former secretary who had been fishing this stretch for 30 years – he and his father, who had been fishing the top of the beat, had blanked too! There was lots of evidence of the torrent that had pushed through here during the recent storms; fallen trees & collapsed banks everywhere – we feared that the river had been scoured of fish life.
We continued upstream, fishing more in hope than expectation until eventually Neil started connecting with fish. I on the other hand had nothing, even though I was just 10 yards further upstream. Eventually, Neil being a good host,suggested that I take over his spot and he would move 10 yards down stream. I immediately started hooking up & Neil’s earlier success deserted him.
I know that Grayling shoal-up during the winter but I never expected to see it to this degree