Monday, 11 November 2013

Grayling From An Itchen Carrier


A River Itchen Carrier
A River Itchen Carrier
My last day on the southern chalkstreams dawned cold and wet, just like the previous day. Chris and I had arranged to meet in a car park near Winchester, close to where we would begin fishing. The plan was to fish a couple of beats on the River Itchen and then move to the River Test. The rain was forecast to be replaced with sunshine and showers by lunchtime so we diverted into Winchester for a coffee and a brief tour of the city, including the River Itchen flowing through the city centre, before commencing fishing later...

...The late start meant we'd only have time to fish one beat of the Itchen and we'd have to leave the River Test until my next trip. We parked at the fishing hut, had a quick read of the record book (which had reports of lots of grayling being caught) and tackled up. Peering into the stream I could see plenty of trout and grayling in the very clear water. Chris suggested this being a named carrier it could be considered a new river for my grayling collection, but much as I could be tempted I think it would be stretching it a little! I will though have to consult Reg Righyni's list; if he counted it then so will I! So we moved off upstream, rods at the ready and polaroids on to aid sighting fish.

River Itchen carrier
Chris casts to a grayling on a
River Itchen carrier
There were literally fish everywhere. Only a few steps upstream I counted a pod of at least 11 grayling. The sun was now out, but much as it was a welcomed sight, it was also making things very difficult. It was positioned directly downstream and every cast had fish fleeing because of the shadow created with the rod and line. The carrier was so small you couldn't change the angle of the cast as you would on a larger river. It was possible, with a very stealthy approach, to get into position without spooking the grayling, but every cast caused them to scatter in all directions. Then as you gave up on them and moved on to the next fish the spooking fish dashed upstream spooking everything else in front of you. This was going to be hard!

A good grayling
A good grayling
In the end we just started catching grayling. I really don't know what we did that changed things. We did start searching blind by casting longer into the deeper holes; maybe the sun moved off line, possibly the fish became less wary the further you got from the car park and fishing hut; I don't know, but it was good to be among the grayling again on a day when it would have been easy to just head home.

Some of the larger holes held many grayling and a few times we both caught good numbers without moving. The bulk of our fish came from blind searching any water that looked promising. This often results in catching too many out of season trout but not this day. We had the odd one, but not many. We had a brief look at the main river but decided it was a bit too coloured to make it worthwhile. It wasn't unfishable but it would have meant a lot of blind prospecting in a pretty featureless river and that felt like too much hard work. It was time to head back north after another very successful and enjoyable trip, and I'd added 2 more rivers to my Grayling Collection.

Chris fishes a deep hole on a Itchen Carrier
Chris fishes a deep hole on a Itchen Carrier