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Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:54 am
by Sonia
Hi All.
Simon is my other half who for his sins introduced me to the world of fishing. While it means he no longer has to worry about getting home on time it costs him in other ways, but together we are a good team enjoying a wonderful sport together.
For Christmas Simon wanted a Tankara rod which he started using as soon as it arrived in the post as he couldn't wait to go fishing with his new rod. After having a go with the rod I could see the benefits on our small river, especially the bow and arrow cast for some of those tight spots that can be troublesome to cast into. Now, while my birthday is not until June it seemed a waste of time loosing 6 months of the fishing year while there were grayling in the Dee to be caught even before the trout season starts on our little river. So the obvious thing to do was to order and enjoy the rod now while remembering in June that I already had my present.
I decided to make a couple of furled leaders ready for my new rods arrival so I made an olive green leader for the dries and a high visibility bright orange one for my wets. This weekend we went to Llangollen to pay our subs for the year and though the rivers have been high we checked out a few likely fishing spots as we were both itching to get on the river fishing again. Llangollen is an extremely beautiful place to go fishing and I can't ever imagine not fishing here as it has a special place in my heart, not just for the fishing but the amazing wild life I've seen and the breathtaking scenery. Getting ready for fishing I put plenty of layers on as it had snowed and if there is one thing I loath it is feeling cold while fishing. Everything was ready but it seemed strange going fishing and leaving our reels behind.
At Llangollen we got into our gear as soon as we could and there was a sense of freedom walking to the river with our tankara rods as they are small, lightweight and there is no reel to attach and no line to thread through the rings of the rod. As we got closer to the river the anticipation was enormous as I nervously started attaching my furled leader, extended the rod, tippet on, small weighted Hare's Ear placed on the end before looking at the water to decide where to start fishing. As soon as we got into the river it started snowing and I noticed I was overpowering my forward stroke, as it is a new way of casting I had to remind myself I wasn't casting a great distance and it needed a more delicate approach. I was in lovely looking water but not even a nibble so I changed my fly and continued fishing, again nothing. I moved on and this time I put a size 12 GRHE with pink fur tied behind the bead, thinking as it was cold weather maybe the grayling would prefer a decent sized meal instead of the snack I was offering. First cast and bang the line tightened and there was a powerful fish on the other end. I was amazed at the bend in the rod and the way it was capable of dealing with what seemed a decent grayling. Simon was behind telling me how to get the best out of the rod and he had his net to hand which was reassuring. Having looked at the tankara web site and seeing how they landed fish it still didn't prepare me for the fact adrenalin was pumping through my veins at a rate of knots and I was desperate not to loose my stunning grayling, so Simon giving instruction of playing the fish with my new rod was helpful. It fought well as it moved its great sail of a fin against the current, I was in awe of this wonderful creature I just love fishing for grayling and seeing them in their environment is a privilege I never tire off. Finally we had the prize in the net the hook was quickly removed as I only use barbless hooks, Simon's net can also weigh the fish which was 2lb and after gazing at the beautiful colours and markings of the stunning grayling it was released. Continuing along the run another grayling of 2lb was netted and this time after being released the fish headed towards the shallows of the bank and it was great seeing the shape and colours of the grayling against the backdrop of the river bed before it headed into the deeper water with no more than a swish of its tail. After lunch we decided to try another area to fish so the rods were collapsed and we headed for the car. Rods set up again we were back to fishing and this time I had a smaller grayling of a pound in the net again the fish was stunning. Pretty soon it was time to leave, the weather wasn't getting any better and we had fished in the snow and hail storms and I had 3 extremely beautiful fish, time go home so the dog can have a walk before it gets too dark, then the household will be content and settled for a quiet evening after a wonderful return to the river Dee.

Sonia. :D

Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:46 am
by CM_Stewart
It seems there's more than one "lady of the stream" in Wales.

Very nice report.

Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:44 am
by pszy22

Very well written trip report, it was a pleasure to read.


Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:10 pm
by wrknapp
Nice report. Nice size fish.


Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:46 pm
by Daniel @ Tenkara USA
Sonia, great account. Many thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum.

Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:28 pm
by michaelacard

What a joy to read.

Thanks for sharing Sonia.

Portland, OR

Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:58 pm
by rsetina
Beautifully written Sonia. I thought for a moment I was reading a portion of a novel, and I didn't want it to end. You have a way with words and I'll look forward to your next post.

Graylings reports from Wales 13th Feb.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:25 am
by Sonia
On Friday night Simon called the number for the Dee and we were pleasantly surprised to hear the water levels were just above 600 meaning we could wade safely. We decided we were going to try fishing at Llangollen and this time we would go upstream well away from any form of water craft. Simon tried to get hold of Peter to tell him of our plans but as the phone number given was his works number he sent a message on the web hoping he would look there and call us if interested.. Sure enough as we were travelling Peter called, he was going to have lunch before meeting us on the river and I told him we would be going upstream from the car park. Arriving at the car parking areas it soon became evident that we're not the only people itching to get on the river as they were all busy. Looking into Duncan's' Pool there were already three fishing and we headed to the furthest parking area. Getting kitted up the one thing that was noticeable was the very cold, biting wind and as we headed for the river the bitter wind made our eyes water and stung our bare flesh. The river was looking great and very fishable but as I go into the water I was surprised just how cold it felt even though I was wearing thermals and fleece trousers. The water was gin clear and while the water levels were low it seemed to be coming downstream at a fair pace so I decided to use a weighted nymph to try and get near the fish. Again the simplicity of putting the rod together was a joy and I was soon fishing. Moving through the run I didn't have as much as a nibble so I changed to a heavier nymph and systematically moved through the run, again not even a hint of a fish.


Simon wasn't fairing any better and as my feet were starting to feel extremely cold I decided to get out of the water and walk to warm up. Looking around I noticed Peter heading to the waters edge so it was a perfect excuse to get out and chat. The first thing Peter noticed was how clear the water was and he commented it may be a hard days fishing; he was hoping to take a few pictures for his blog so while Simon did the camera work I thought I would wander further upstream and try other runs.


Simon was wanting to try his new camera, all week he was thinking of different underwater shots he would take of the grayling coming to the net and how the nymphs behaved. The only problem was the fish hadn't read the script and when Simon used the camera getting pictures of the flies the water was so cold his hand quickly went red before becoming numb then the pain hit. Further upstream I talked to fellow fisherman who like me was finding the fishing difficult he was on his way home without a bite. Every now and again I got out of the water to let the legs thaw out and we decided it was time for lunch and a much needed hot drink. We talked about where we were going wrong and maybe we didn't have the reach to get into the best runs with our tenkara rods but then again three other fisherman with reels didn't catch fish either.


We headed further upstream where we usually find fish and after another change of fly I continued fishing. The intention was to fish for another half and hour before heading back to the car so we cold get back in time to see the Rugby. Like all best laid plans this one wasn't panning out either as I noticed when I looked at my watch time had flown by and we had already been fishing the run for an hour. Simon said his feet were very cold and I have to admit my thighs were starting to feel the cold so it was time to get out of the water for the final time. Heading back to the car was a long hard slog in the wintry wind and it was surprising how far we had actually walked. Time to head home and as far as the Rugby was concerned we would have to be content with listening to Radio Wales. Apart from not caching any fish and the horrible wind it was another glorious day on the river and the bird life and picturesque scenery made the trip worth while.

Re: Graylings reports from Wales

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:48 pm
by rsetina
Thank you for the report Sonia. One very enjoyable read I must say. Sorry you were unable to catch a fish this trip but just getting out on the water is sometimes all that is needed. Better fishing next time!

Graylings reports from Wales 27th & 28th February

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:53 am
by Sonia
We decided to try fishing a different section of the Lower Alyn as it takes time to get to know and understand a river. Again it was clear and the water was running fast, this meant that getting my nymphs down to where the fish were I was going to start using the heavier beaded flies. After looking at a piece of water looking for the likely runs I noted the depth of the water and the likely places to get out, as the lower Alyn seems to have lots of steep banks some with erosion I presume from anglers getting in and out of the water. Then there is the issue of not getting your waders caught on the barbed wire on the more easily accessible areas, not to mention the stiles. Getting into the water I fished the most likely areas but without a single nibble I changed fly and again no fish were found. The Tanaka was great for getting into tight spots and close to the bank where I find many fish lurk, as I was running out of water and the stile on this side is almost usable it was time to find Simon, have a drink and wander lower downstream on the other side which looked as if the stile was easier to get over. At the car Simon was talking to a fellow angler who suggested we don't only use the water for the grayling season as they have some nice fish in the river. After a chat it was time to continue fishing and Simon and I went further downstream. I started fishing when Simon radioed saying he had fallen from one of the stiles but his rod was fine, at the third time of asking he admitted he didn't bounce as easily as he use to. Then to added insult to injury as I called him to let him know I had caught a very nice 14in strong, fighting beauty of a grayling. I do love fishing for these stunning fish as they give the angler a battle and when I see that sail of a fin and the delightful colours my heart if lifted for the rest of the day. The other angler was upstream he was catching a few smaller grayling by doing one thing that I couldn't with the tenkara; he was casting a long line upstream enabling his nymphs to get deeper for longer and pulling it quickly towards him due to the current. Simon had returned to my position looking a little sore and we decided it was time to walk the dog or at least it was time for me to walk the dog while he got over his fall and lit the BBQ to roast our leg of lamb.
Today we returned to the Alyn and getting out of the car while it was cold and windy it was still fishable. But by the time we walked downstream and got into the water the bitter wind was getting colder and stronger making life with the tenkara a real pain. We started fine with casting not being too difficult but the cutting wind was starting to get to my hands and face even Simon said he could feel the cold and that is very rare. Then the gusts became a continuous howl and the leader was D shaped and the fly was very close to the surface and not where I wanted it. Simon had got caught in a tree while casting and it was becoming a chore not a pleasure so after an extremely short outing Simon headed upstream suggesting I not linger in one spot too long as it was getting time to think of leaving. I continued fishing until my hands felt numb and as I climbed into the field I could see Simon very close to the car. As the wintry sleet/rain fell he radioed to say he was at the car and as neither of us were enjoying the conditions why not go home and eat at lunch time - a miracle for us as we are usually out and about if not fishing doing other things.