Last Grayling of 2016 – River itchen

Kanara, river itchen, grayling, the tree trout, fly fishing, fishing

Goal set – 1 Last Grayling of 2016.

The alarm rang out its annoying chorus and some what startled me. Broken sleep due to the excitement of the coming days trip made getting up easy. I grabbed my gear along with a quick cup of coffee and loaded the car. My journey consisted of 150 miles from the midlands to Southampton to meet up with Richard Fieldhouse of Barbless Flies. The morning was very crisp with lots of ground frost and the odd patch of heavy fog. That feeling of delight due to near perfect conditions accompanied ┬áme for the journey. I arrived well ahead of schedule and decided to have a quick wander down to the river to see what we were up against. Conditions were brilliant, the water was fairly low and gin crystal clear with the fog quickly lifting I headed back to the car to wait for Richard. All being well I’d definitely catch my last Grayling of the year.

Kanara, last grayling, fly fishing, fishing,, river itchen

Upstream of the hut

Time for a brew.

Having never fished here before I listened to Richard’s past experience and followed his lead. Mid way along the beat is a hut for use by the anglers using the beat. This made a great place to devise a plan and also have a much deserved brew!. Resisting the temptation to fish the S-bend outside of the hut, we headed to the lower beat limit. The water was much slower and deeper here, I opted to fish a small nymph French leader style. With nothing to show for our work we pushed on up the beat. I caught a glimpse of a large salmon resting in the edges which was a very pleasant sight in such clear water. It wasn’t long until we were back at the hut, with the kettle now on I quickly switched tactics and tied a new tippet length to fish the inlet.

last grayling, kanara, fly fishing, the tree trout, fishing, river itchen

Outside the hut


After our brew we both worked different areas of the large s-bend outside of the hut. I concentrated my efforts on the deep hole formed by the raging inlet. It wasn’t long till I found a shoal of Grayling and picked of a few beautiful fish with one edging close to the 2lb mark. Crystal clear water, big Grayling what a day and one I wont forget. Meanwhile Richard was having some great sport in a shallower glide picking off Grayling between the rafts of weed. This is a great section of the beat to fish as you can just turn around and fish a different channel or small riffle whilst resting another piece of water.

last grayling, kanara, river itchen, fly fishing, fishing, the tree trout

Cracking Grayling made the journey worth while

What could of been.

With the day quickly drawing to an end and light conditions deteriorating we decided to move on. The majority of my fish fell foul to quite a large heavy weighted ceramic. I changed to a slightly brighter colour to help with fading light conditions. Leap frogging up the beat to each of the small weir sections I Czech nymphed each ┬ádeep hole. After a run in with some submerged roots I managed some successful drifts through the weir and hooked into another Grayling of around 1.5lb. Delighted I lobbed my ceramic back into the flow, mid drift i was met by a solid thump. This felt a very heavy fish which just sat mid flow. With the rod beginning to double over the clutch on my Loop Opti sprang into life as the fish swam up current and over the weir. Giving Richard a shout he quickly made his way to me and more than likely cursed me with his camera. No sooner did he press record the fish swam into some heavy dense weed. Still applying adequate pressure I suddenly felt a jolt, the jolt of my tippet giving up and letting go. That feeling cant be described to someone who hasn’t experienced it there selves but I’m sure if your reading this then you understand. Whilst re-tying, what I believe was the culprit began jumping 20 yards upstream in what I think was an attempt to drop the hook. The fish looked like either a large brown or a small Salmon or was it a once in a lifetime Grayling?.

kanara, last grayling, river itchen, fly fishing, the tree trout

one of the many small weirs

And that’s a wrap.

We caught more Grayling that afternoon and consumed more coffee before Richard and I parted company and headed home. With around 3 hours stuck in the car alone, I couldn’t help but pug about the one that got away. But that’s life and I did go with the goal of catching my last Grayling of 2016 which I succeeded. Well I hope you all a Happy new year and tight lines.

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