Monday, 12 November 2012

Chalkstream Grayling Trip - Day 4

Day 4 - River Anton: Following a successful afternoon on the River Anton yesterday I was looking forward to fishing the same river again. I was fishing alone this time, Chris had work commitments, but he had fished the same beat last week and had had a good day. When I opened the curtains in my hotel room my heart sank. Yesterday's sun and blue sky had been replaced by cloud and light rain - not what I wanted to see on my last day. It was still raining when I got to the river and it made for a depressing sight: steady rain, cold and very dull. Chances of spotting fish were virtually nil. If I hadn't already bought the ticket I think I'd have set off on the long drive home, but this was an expensive beat and I simply couldn't leave without getting something for my money...

River Anton - fantastic beat but horrible day
River Anton - fantastic beat but
horrible day

I set up my Greys 9' #2 XF2 Streamflex rod, feeling very low and dejected with the conditions, and set off upstream. I'd only walked a few yards when, unbelievably, I spotted a fish against the far bank. I couldn't tell if it was a trout or grayling but cast my trusty Mary Copperhead at it. When it plopped into the water the fish shot off upstream, spooked I thought, but then the leader tightened so I lifted and was into it, a good size grayling on my first cast. Maybe this wasn't going to be such a bad day after all! I took a few steps upstream but quickly stopped. There, in exactly the same scour was another grayling, so I edged back a few steps and cast again. The result was a repeat of the first cast and so it was 2 grayling in 2 casts. A remarkable start on any day, but on a day like this I couldn't get over it. My depression now lifted, I was on a high and actually enjoying the conditions. I could see into the water and spot fish surprisingly well and continued to catch fish regularly as I progressed upstream.
A fine River Anton grayling
A fine River Anton grayling
There were fish everywhere. You couldn't walk more than a few yards without seeing fish, some singles, others in small pods. On one occasion I spooked a trout from under my bank. It shot across stream and took up station right next to a grayling that I hadn't seen, giving its location away to me. A quick flick of the nymph and the grayling was fooled. Thank you Mr Trout!
River Anton, tributary of the River Test
River Anton, tributary of the
River Test
Near the top of the beat there was a footbridge across the river. As I crossed I spotted a pod of 3 small grayling. I climbed into the river and cast to them. The lead fish took first cast and what looked like a small grayling from behind took the scale down to 1¾lb. I caught another of the pod, which was only slightly smaller, and the third didn't hanging around to be caught.
A lump of a grayling from the River Anton
A lump of a grayling from the
River Anton
By 1.30pm I'd reached the top of the beat. I'd caught far more fish than I thought possible; in fact, if conditions had been perfect I'd still have been happy with my catch. The rain was now heavy and the wind had picked up so why hang around? I couldn't better a session like that so quit while the going's good I thought and headed back up north. What I thought was going to be a disastrous day turned out to be possibly my best of the 4 day trip. Fantastic sport.