Thursday, 10 April 2014

Luring the Lady

Throughout the stormy weather I have been looking for alternative places to fish, as the sea locally has been in no fit state for lure fishing and I fancied something different. The salmon season had opened on the Tay and its tributaries many of which allow the use of spinning gear. This was pretty much all the encouragement I needed add to that the presence of Grayling and I was really keen to get up there and give it a bash.
Now I have spent a lot of time thinking about grayling in terms of them being a viable winter lure fishing target and although I have caught many by fly and bait I have never had one on a lure. This is mainly because of local restrictions on "spinning" on the nearby rivers as they are salmon and trout waters too.My feeling was that if I wanted to fish for grayling then I would have to buy a salmon permit in order to avoid any problems.
This has always proved problematic for me in the past as my perception of the prices of salmon tickets would be that I would need a second mortgage to go. However after a bit of research I found that not to be the case .I found a ticket for the river Ericht, which is a tributary of the river Tay.
 I set off the next day in strong winds and scattered sleet showers. After just over an hours drive I reached the river having purchased my permit on route for a princely £20..
Tackle wise I was using my HRF gear for the Salmon and my LRF gear for the grayling.
My HRF gear comprises

Rod : Shimano Yasei Red Drop Shot 2.7M
Reel :Shimano 3000
Line :Sunline Super PE 20lb
Leader :16lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

and my LRF gear comprises.

Rod :GraphiteLeader Corto EX
Reel :Shimano Technium 3000
Line :Pontoon Exteer braid PE 1
Leader :6lb Greylon Fluorocarbon

The lure of choice for the Salmon was a Megabass Vision 110 in Champagne Kinkuro  a good stable lure when the river was running high. I had set my expectations on low as it was very early in the season and I had never fished the river before.
I walked and fished for about a mile stretch on the river,swapping between vibe lures and the Vision 110, but to no avail. I saw no fish moving and the horrible gusting freezing wind was slowly beating me into submission.
I decided to switch tactics and turn my attention to my my favoured target , the grayling.
I had been messing about with different rigs for them and came up with a Czech nymph style rig incorporating a fly as well as a soft lure.

This is the style of rig I came up with for the grayling.
Borrowing from the Czech nymph approach I gently flicked the lure upstream. Then keeping the rod at  about 45 degrees i retrieved line at the same pace as the flow. This enabled me to keep a tight line to the lure so I could feel it bumbling along the river bed. As the river brought the lure past me the current caught the line and lifted the lure off up the river bed. Once it did this I stepped one step upstream and recast. Using these techniques I shuffled my way upstream working the lures and the fly on the dropper.
 It had been about 40 minutes when, as I was feeling the lure rumbling along the bottom , I suddenly felt nothing.
An instinctive flick of the wrist set the hook on a small fish. The little fish hung in the current doing that horrible "S" shape which is so adept at throwing the hook. As It came closer I could see it was silver and as I quickly swung it to hand I was elated to find it was indeed a wee grayling!

Tiny but lovely, my first lure caught grayling!


Target achieved!

It was extra satisfying to get my target on the first go with a new technique on a new venue. I was surprised that the little grayling had taken the lure, ( a Berkley Gulp 1" fish fry mounted on a 1.4gram- #10 Ecogear Shirasu Fine jighead ),I was convinced it would nail the fly first.
Pleased as punch to defy the foul weather by catching I grabbed a couple of pics of the wee "Lady of the stream" and gently slipped the fish back
By this stage the cruel wind and the wintery showers had worn me into submission and so I decided to call it a day. Ever since that trip my mind has been buzzing with possibilities and by combining fly techniques I feel sure the grayling and I will have some fun together this year.
Tight Lines

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