Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chalkstream Grayling Trip - Day 3

Day 3 - River Anton: It was a typical cold and misty autumn day as we left the hotel. There had been an overnight frost due to the clear sky, which was now bright blue with a low sun - everything looked promising for the day ahead. The River Anton was just a short drive away and we'd agreed to meet the owner of the stretch at the river. He wanted to meet us so he could tell us about the river. We fished the Anton last year on a beat a few miles downstream, but this bit was new to both of us and we were eager to see it...

Yours truly surveying the River Anton
Yours truly surveying the
River Anton
We parked up and were taken to the river by the owner. A short path led to a bridge over the river and it was pristine. On Friday I used the excuse of poor light; on Saturday the river being high and coloured was my excuse; today there could be no excuse! The river was running well, crystal clear, there was sunshine and perfect light, and there were grayling throughout. The beat was pretty much split in two by what southern folk call a hatch pool - a weir to us up north! Chris and I decided to rotate: I'd have the bottom half in the first session to lunch and we'd swap after lunch when I'd fish above the hatch pool.
A fine River Anton grayling
Despite the perfect conditions and plentiful grayling I struggled in my morning session. The fish just didn't seem interested in my nymph/s. They didn't spook, they just weren't interested. I caught one decent fish then a succession of grayling all about 6 inches long. As half time approached, having run out of water, I went to see Chris. He'd had a great morning, catching grayling to a good size. He explained the key was the size of your nymph and anything too big just wouldn't do. I'd almost worked this out myself so lunch was a quick affair so I could get back fishing with a micro nymph.

The nymph that changed my fortunes on the Anton
The nymph that changed my
fortunes on the Anton
After a few fly changes I finally found a nymph that worked consistently. It was tucked away in my fly box, rusting slightly, almost unused since my competition days. I did once use it in Croatia to good effect when looking for something that would give consistent sport, and it certainly changed my fortunes on the Anton. It doesn't have a name and I can't really remember the dressing, but I used some form of lace for the body, moose for the tail and a black tungsten bead. I caught grayling after grayling, all from 13 to 16 inches, the biggest taking my weigh net down to 1.5lb. There were also a few brownies in my catch, a mix of perfect wild fish and stock fish.
Another Anton Grayling comes to hand
Another Anton Grayling
comes to hand
At the end of the day I moved back to where I'd started at the beginning of the day. In the morning I couldn't touch a fish, now with the right nymph tied to the end of my tippet I caught a further 5 grayling in about 15 minutes fishing to the end of our day. Great sport and I'm back on the Anton tomorrow where we fished last season, just a few miles downstream.