Grayling Fishing next week-am I mad?

mart123blue

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Given the extremely cold weather at the moment, I have decided to change venue for my return to the river next week.

Rather than the Thames at Runnymede, I am going to try for Grayling on the free stretch of the Itchen in Winchester. I'm fairly confident of my tactics, 6lb mainline, 4lb hook length, size 16 hook and an Avon float. Roving approach with maggot and sweetcorn, feeding every cast and moving on after about 15 minutes.

However, now seeing posts about poor catches due to cold weather and water I'm beginning to doubt myself. Thoughts please?

Cheers M

ps hoping to get a nice picture for my new Avatar
 

Silverfisher

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Not sure you should be travelling to winchester from Runnymede under the current restrictions. Not really in the spirit of things when we’ve been told to stay local.

But it is stacked with trout and grayling around there so provided it’s height and colour have dropped from it’s likely current state you’ll catch. I wouldn't fish that heavy though, 4lb mainline and 3lb hooklength will be plenty. The current is strong and there are snags but the fish are fairly small. 1 pounders are the decent fish and 2 pounders whoppers.

I would just wait a few weeks until such a journey is definitely allowed.
 
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Ken the Pacman

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Grayling do not seem bothered by cold and are still feeding on the coldest of days, I have caught them when there was ice in the margins in years gone by.
You biggest problem will be flooding
 

mart123blue

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Not sure you should be travelling to winchester from Runnymede under the current restrictions. Not really in the spirit of things when we’ve been told to stay local.

But it is stacked with trout and grayling around there so provided it’s height and colour have dropped from it’s likely current state you’ll catch. I wouldn't fish that heavy though, 4lb mainline and 3lb hooklength will be plenty. The current is strong and there are snags but the fish are fairly small. 1 pounders are the decent fish and 2 pounders whoppers.

I would just wait a few weeks until such a journey is definitely allowed.
Thanks for the advice, I've been reading your posts so I can see you have a lot of knowledge. I was going to try the navigation as well, which is why I had copied your suggested rig. But if you think I should scale down I will.

Appreciate your concerns re. travel, I live a lot closer to Winchester than Runnymede.
 

grey

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Yes, agree with Ken, if you can find a river that isn't running through like soup, you stand a good chance for Grayling regardless of the cold.

What about the carriers off the Hampshire Avon? They might fine down a bit quicker than the Itchen? Maybe a little closer too?
 

Reuben

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I’m hoping to have a crack at the grayling in the Forth once travel restrictions are eased.
 

mart123blue

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Yes, agree with Ken, if you can find a river that isn't running through like soup, you stand a good chance for Grayling regardless of the cold.

What about the carriers off the Hampshire Avon? They might fine down a bit quicker than the Itchen? Maybe a little closer too?
At the moment its showing a level of 0.763 which is within the stated normal level. Hard to tell without seeing it though and a lot more rain forecast unfortunately...
 

Silverfisher

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Thanks for the advice, I've been reading your posts so I can see you have a lot of knowledge. I was going to try the navigation as well, which is why I had copied your suggested rig. But if you think I should scale down I will.

Appreciate your concerns re. travel, I live a lot closer to Winchester than Runnymede.
Ah I see re the travel apologies if I got that wrong 👍🏻

Re the scaling down it's not so much for the fish as they aren't particularly tackle shy it's more that the lighter line will be a lot easier to cast and then control and strike on the trot. It's rather more lively than trotting the Thames although that is counter balanced by grayling being a lot less fussy on presentation than say roach and dace.

I should think the river is a mess at the moment but being chalk it runs off a lot quicker than most rivers so by middle of next week it could well be fine. If clarity is OK best bet is to spot fish then feed them til they become confident then cast. If not then find the likely looking spots and start feeding and they should start appearing. They can be quite wary on their own but pretty suicidally stupid once a few of them are competing for bait. Another advantage of trying the spotting them method first is that you can pick out the grayling whereas blind feeding can see you crowded out by trout. Or even worse minnows although thankfully they are too bad around the Winchester area.

There are some special roach often in some of the slower bits as well. No idea how to catch those though as they are the most cautious roach I've ever tried to catch!

Also worth saying to give both the grayling and trout a good rest in the net before you put them back as well as particularly the grayling knacker themselves in the fight to an extent I've rarely seen in other fish.
 
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grey

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At the moment its showing a level of 0.763 which is within the stated normal level. Hard to tell without seeing it though and a lot more rain forecast unfortunately...
Mate, you're lucky with all those chalk streams and carriers to choose from - the rivers around here in the midlands are racing though like mud chutes!

I can't even find where the Wellend starts a it's lost beneath a mile of flood-water!
 

Silverfisher

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Mate, you're lucky with all those chalk streams and carriers to choose from - the rivers around here in the midlands are racing though like mud chutes!

I can't even find where the Wellend starts a it's lost beneath a mile of flood-water!
Yeah same here, Thames looks like the Mississippi River and the Cherwell like the Mississippi delta, would take one hell of a dry spell to see them fishable again before March!
 

mart123blue

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Ah I see re the travel apologies if I got that wrong 👍🏻

Re the scaling down it's not so much for the fish as they aren't particularly tackle shy it's more that the lighter line will be a lot easier to cast and then control and strike on the trot. It's rather more lively than trotting the Thames although that is counter balanced by grayling being a lot less fussy on presentation than say roach and dace.

I should think the river is a mess at the moment but being chalk it runs off a lot quicker than most rivers so by middle of next week it could well be fine. If clarity is OK best bet is to spot fish then feed them til they become confident then cast. If not then find the likely looking spots and start feeding and they should start appearing. They can be quite wary on their own but pretty suicidally stupid once a few of them are competing for bait. Another advantage of trying the spotting them method first is that you can pick out the grayling whereas blind feeding can see you crowded out by trout. Or even worse minnows although thankfully they are too bad around the Winchester area.

There are some special roach often in some of the slower bits as well. No idea how to catch those though as they are the most cautious roach I've ever tried to catch!

Also worth saying to give both the grayling and trout a good rest in the net before you put them back as well as particularly the grayling knacker themselves in the fight to an extent I've rarely seen in other fish.
No drama, thanks again for the tips.

Re. 6lb or 4lb, I need to load up a spool with line whichever I choose. I thought 6lb would be more flexible going forward, but happy to put 4lb on if you think it will make the difference. I have a long history of taking shortcuts and then blanking....
 

david white

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to put it bluntly I think your daft publishing a proposed journey to fish at either Runnymede or Winchester on a public forum
either way one of those journeys or indeed both ( dependant on where you based ) would be difficult to justify as ‘ local ‘ as silverfisher commented, maybe the best advice you’ve been given is wait until travel restrictions are lifted 😀
 

grey

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Most of my heavier stick fishing is done with 3lb maxima - it'll handle all but the bigger barbel or very big chub.

It needs to be greased to make it work - I use closed faced and prefer krypton Greased Lightning Turbo Juice to ease it out the reel and also float, but any floating spray does the job.

Drennan floatfish is another good line, but I'd up it to 4lb mainline to do the same job as the 3lb maxima.

Lighter lines are so much easier to mend and helps keep a better line down river, this enables you to keep in better contact with your float.
 

Silverfisher

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No drama, thanks again for the tips.

Re. 6lb or 4lb, I need to load up a spool with line whichever I choose. I thought 6lb would be more flexible going forward, but happy to put 4lb on if you think it will make the difference. I have a long history of taking shortcuts and then blanking....
For trotting definitely 4lb as will make life a lot easier. When you think about it the difference between 4 and 6 is at least 20% thicker and weightier (probably more) so takes a fair bit more force to lift through the air and water. That slight delay won’t make much difference on a big gobbed greedy trout but on grayling which have smaller underslung mouths and give quicker bites it could cause you to miss the bites or bump fish. Plus it will be harder to keep picking up to keep behind the float, not to mention hard to make float.

As a side note I’ve dropped from 4 to 3 pound in the last couple years for most my float fishing and tbh I expected a very minor difference but it has actually made a very noticeable positive difference. Easier to control so easier to fish with so more fish caught. Therefore the difference between 6 and 4 will be chalk and cheese.

But 4lb is a good versatile strength which you can use for most things if need be whereas 6lb is a feeder line or big fish float line really. Tbh if we are talking purely float fishing then if you are usually on the Thames I’d just go for 3lb.
 
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alsur

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to put it bluntly I think your daft publishing a proposed journey to fish at either Runnymede or Winchester on a public forum
either way one of those journeys or indeed both ( dependant on where you based ) would be difficult to justify as ‘ local ‘ as silverfisher commented, maybe the best advice you’ve been given is wait until travel restrictions are lifted 😀
I agree unless I lived in Winchester I wouldn't drive there to fish, Runnymede is possibly my nearest bit of the Thames about 20 miles and I certainly wouldn't drive there.
 
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I went fishing this Sunday on my local river ( River Don near Oughtibridge).

When i left the house the temp was -2 with a heavy frost.

Slow going to begin with in my chosen swim, but then hit on a shoal.

All in all in the 3 and a bit hours fishing I had 15 Grayling out with 4 going over a pound. So cold shouldn't be a factor.

Simple stick float and maggot tactics
 

davepellet

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Good going that mate, not seen the river for a couple of weeks but assumed it’d be too coloured for grayling. Glad to hear it’s producing
 

davepellet

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Did you fish one of the pools where the weirs used to be or the deep stretch where the caravan dealer is?
 
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