My good friend and keen fisherman Steve Champion asked me if I could help him catch his first Grayling. It had been a species that had eluded him for many years despite catching plenty of Brown Trout from water known to contain the lady of the stream. I had been doing a fair amount
of Grayling fishing recently, and although no expert I felt I could put him on some fish.
I had in mind a small Wye tributary, but with a fair amount of rain falling the level was too high, so we decided on the main Wye
below Builth Wells which was falling away to a good fishing level. The upper Wye in this area contains some coarse fish but is mostly a game fishery with both Brown Trout and Grayling.
We were hoping to catch using fly fishing gear, but I had also packed a trotting rod just in case.
The weather was perfect for winter fishing, overcast and warm and although the river level was up, hopes were high for a good day.
By lunchtime however we both had just one small Trout apiece. We decided on a move and drove a couple of miles downstream. Location is the key with Grayling as they shoal tightly at this time of year, so it pays to keep on the move until you catch one.
This new stretch of water really looked the part, knee to waist deep running swiftly over a gravel bottom. I quickly took a nice
Grayling on a heavy hares ear nymph, but it took another hour of fishing to get another. At this point with time fast running out and Steve still without a Grayling it was time to try some trotting.
Tackle was a 13ft MACH 3 match rod with matching reel loaded with Berkley XWR 0.16dia. the float was a 4gram avon with a simple
bulk 1ft from the 16 hook. In 3ft of water it pays to keep things simple.
Baiting up with double maggot and regular loose feed from the bait apron Steve was soon hooking fish, after the first 3 coming off
and then a Brown Trout, Steve at long last had his first ever Grayling. I don’t know who was more pleased me or Steve but after a quick photo it was smiles and handshakes all round.
We had just 15minutes of daylight left, Steve handed me the trotting rod, he was determined now to get one on the fly. The trotting swim was now solid with fish and I quickly landed more grayling and Trout before doing battle with a 4lbs Chub. It was whilst playing the Chub that I
heard a load splash, looking downstream I could see Steves light fly rod bent double, “ I think it’s a Salmon” Steve shouted up. I quickly landed the Chub and ran down the bank to Steve, whos rod was bucking about with his reel spinning wildly. After a thrilling battle with was now obviously a salmon, Steve finally guided the beaten fish over the rim of the net.
Unbelievable! First ever Grayling and Salmon in the same day. We estimated the fish to be around 6lbs and held it steady in the current until it was fully recovered. It swam away strongly to continue its journey.
Steve told me it was the best days fishing he hadever had, it was certainly one I will always remember too.