A week on holiday, what to do? Well I wasn’t going to lie in bed with sunlight clearly peeking round the curtains this morning. With the Mrs still wrapped in the duvet come 10am, if there was a plan for the day it wasn’t going to be until at least after midday and I had to be home by 5pm for an appointment.

Sod it, nymphing gear in the car and I was on the road to the Clyde by half past the hour and at the river by the back of eleven. My problems started though as I reached where I fancied having my first cast for the Grayling this year, at Mauldslie, the road was closed. I toyed with going further up the valley but instead opted to turn round and head downstream to find a spot I had scoped out on a prior visit though had not fished before.

Once parked up I went for a short stroll to the bank to see if it looked fishable, (not least because its not a long stretch here and if there was already anglers here, I might need to think again). I was sure I could hear voices as I neared the water and was preparing to turn on my heel but as the river came into view it was empty, and clear. The voices were coming from builders well upstream at a property on the far bank. What luck!

I got the waders on and the bugging rod set up and made my way down to the water to fish. It looked to be about 30-50cms deep near the bank and having seen anglers here well out in the river before, when I figured the water was higher I thought reaching what looked perfect Grayling water out about half way over should be easy. 

Think Again

I got about a third of the way out and the water was right up to the pockets on my wading jacket. While there was no real current where I had reached, so I never felt particularly at risk of being washed in, at the same time I really wasn’t comfortable in this depth of water. I persevered though and could “just” about reach the water with the right kind of pace on the edge of a faster run, which seemed to go down the far half of the river.

Water line on waders
This kind of shows how high up my waders I was needing to wade at this section, a little deep for comfort at times.

I probably managed to fish about 5 metres of the river with my two small but heavy red tagged bugs, one green the other black, and a pink shrimp on top dropper, when there was a knock and I was in to the first fish of this Autumn/winter Grayling season.

Grayling and leaves
A real sign Autumn is here, Grayling and Autumn leaves.

Not a monster but a decent enough fish maybe about 20-25cms and I waded back in to shallower water to subdue and net it. Having taken a photo and let it away I contemplated my options. Having one fish in the bag I wanted to fish on but was not keen on returning to such deep water. I had taken my fly boxes out my pockets, they were all soaked wading so deep. Nope, definitely time to weigh up options. I could

  • Head to the car and try find somewhere upstream I could wade a tad more easily…..but I knew there had to be more fish here. (half the battle in Grayling fishing).
  • Persevere as I was fishing, but then I knew I wasn’t covering the water well.
  • Change method.

Change Method It Was

I had brought my 4 weight rod along as well, on the off chance there was some sort of rise around midday as the sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold, and I could try a dry fly. I decided to set it up it already had a 9foot tapered leader on, I simply added about 2 metres of tippet and tied on one dropper.  Normally I would have fished a big bush Klinkhammer with a couple of bugs underneath, but I needed fairly heavy bugs to get right down in this depth and I was certain I didn’t have a fly capable of suspending the weight of two tungsten beaded nymphs in this water. Also there were a lot of leaves coming downstream and while there didn’t appear to be causing me issues subsurface, I felt a hook on top would definitely be snagging up a lot. Nope, time to consider the dark side.

At my tippet ring I fixed on an Airloc indicator thus fishing my bugs near the bottom. Not normally a method I would recommend for Grayling but on the flip side is it a million miles different to trotting with bugs? Not really. Maybe not for the Grayling purist though!

Almost right away the small Airloc vanished under and I had hooked my second grayling of the day, just a small one, one of this summers fish I reckon. And now I was able to cover more water both across in front of me and wading downstream, I felt my chances had improved, and soon had number three, a fish somewhere in size between my first and second.

Jamie McCulloch of Loop Salmon fishing
Jamie McCulloch of Loop, casting for Salmon. Poetry in motion. He later told me he got three at another pool. Good angling

I then heard someone come through the bushes behind me, and another angler appeared. At first, I thought I recognised the lad and then realised he looked like someone else, and we started talking. He was a salmon angler called Jamie McCulloch, who fishes with  Loop . Pretty handy with the long rod he was too and I watched him cover the top of the pool while I and a break and a cup of tea to warm up. It wasn’t so cold fishing , it was just we talked so long I was standing waist deep in river water for ages and it started to get through to me! He was relating a story to me that seems to be pretty well known, where he caught a Sporran ( the highland dress variety) while out salmon fishing on the Dee. I think it made the press and Trout and Salmon Magazine.

A real gent anyway, and I took a few photo’s while he fished as while I don’t really enjoy the salmon fishing, I do like watching someone who can cast.

Clyde Grayling on the bugs under a bobber
A good solid Clyde Grayling

He showed me how to get further upstream and I had a go up there with the bugging road again but it was faster ( though shallower) and maybe not ideal Grayling water today at least. Jamie had fished on further downstream and I decided to return to where I had initially tried to access the river but found it too deep for comfort and tried with the indicator and two bugs. Right away I had a fourth small fish and I am pretty sure I missed a couple. One I felt, the other time the indicator bobbed down but I was just a bit slow on the reaction. There is a degree of delay with the , so for Grayling you really need to be on the ball and I do wonder how many other offers maybe you miss unwittingly.

The wind had got up a bit and the skies darkened and as I neared the foot of the run a second time I think I actually said under my breath…”last cast”. I fished it through and under it went. And this was a better fish.

I edged into the bank letting the fish stay low and only really pressuring it when I  had the net out and in it came, a cracking Grayling, with real weight to it. I was very pleased, and a great finish to short but thoroughly enjoyable river outing.