I paddled along noting a big shoal of small grayling for future reference. Must take the fly rod and give them a try next time. Mike Ladle's Fishing Diary

Catch fish with Mike Ladle.

Catch Fish with
Mike Ladle


Information Page

For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over four years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff so if you are new to fly fishing or spinning these are the ones for you).

17 October 2009.

Something new.

I always like a new project that presents a bit of a challenge. It could be an entirely novel approach to fishing or, more often, it may be something as simple as a well known tactic that I've 'never got round to trying'. A couple of trips back, when I was spinning in a small carrier stream, I made the following comment - "I paddled along noting a big shoal of small grayling for future reference. Must take the fly rod and give them a try next time." Well, I did exactly that. A few years back a pal showed me the rudiments of what I think is called 'the Czech nymphing technique' for grayling. Essentially, as I understand it, a heavily weighted fly is flicked upstream and allowed to drift along near the bed of the stream. Anyway, I thought I'd give it a go.

I had my normal bass/mullet fly rod and reel with the same floating line and a piece of 6lb nylon for a cast that I use down at the coast. On the end I tied a little goldhead with a greyish brown body and a bit further up was a dropper with a drab looking wet fly (you can tell I'm no fly fisherman as I've no idea what the names of the flies were). I pulled on my waders in the car park, walked across the field and paddled into the stream. It was not much more than ankle deep and very clear but it was fast flowing and the ripple over the stony bed made fish difficult to see. I slowly made my way upstream under the overhanging trees, even if I'd wanted to it would have been impossible to make a back cast. I've never been much of a caster so it was 'just my style' flicking a few metres of the fly line up and across the flow and lifting the rod slowly to bring the flies trundling back over the gravel before having another flick.

On about my third flick a shadow followed the fly out from the bank but did not make contact - encouraging! I continued on upstream until I came to a slightly wider stretch. Flick, retrieve, flick, retrieve, tug! Suddenly a fish was on the end. A tiny, silvery creature skittered across the surface as I tightened the line but it fell off before I could see what it was or even make out which fly it was on. Even more encouraging!

Next cast to the same spot there was a yank on the line and I found myself playing a wriggling grayling. Eureka! I carefully played the, admittedly smallish, fish to my hand while struggling to unship the camera. Excited, I looked round for a flat place to put the fish and rod down while I took a picture. As grayling do it flapped about wildly spattering everything with mud so I quickly took a couple of photos and released it.

Now I had the knack. One after another (small) grayling hooked themselves on and I had a really good time. All but one of my fish took the goldhead. In fact, all in all, it was probably one of the most enjoyable sessions of this year. Must do it again soon. Perhaps I'll be able to find some bigger fish?

Shallows with grayling.

I couldn't see the fish under the ripples and weed but they were there alright.

Got one!

I was really pleased to get a bite and the feeling when I caught a fish was fantastic..

On the bank.

In my excitement I put my first fish down on a bit of wet, muddy bank, not the most attractive picture.

Nicely hooked.

Even with the poor depth of field you can see that the hook of the weighted 'upside-down' fly has gone into the top lip as intended.

What an eye!

I've shown pictures of a grayling's eye before but the tear-drop shaped pupil is amazing.