Monday, 2 November 2009

Wood and Pointon Go for the Grayling In The Highlands of Derbyshire...At Last

This was a day that had been coming for weeks, and well over due. Well, a week overdue. Last week, Leonie and I even booked into the Peacock in Rowsley so I could fish the Wye in and around Bakewell, in the right Royal Highlands of Derbyshire, twinned with Pitlochry don't you know. But it turned out that it was a charity day, so, I wasn't allowed.

And so, once again, I'd been lucky enough to be invited to fish the Wye with none other than my old chum Glen Tarquin Pointon of Haddon. (Formerly Lord Rocher of Oshbonk, previously a member of Leek and District Fly Fishing Association and Derby Railway Angling Club, but now moved on to pastures new)

I'd been looking forward to the day's fishing immensely. I hadn't been able to get out onto the rivers at all over the last couple of weeks through one reason or another and was ready for a laugh with Glen. And so, I was pretty annoyed when, at 5.30 am, I was awoke when, basically, a gale happened in our front garden. Crap. Tarquin and I exchanged a couple of phone calls at around 9am, would we go or wouldn't we, and eventually, we decided that we may as well have a run out and at least have a look at the river.

More often than not, one hears Glen before one sees him and this morning was no exception. I could hear his van and his accent as he drove down the track towards chez Wood. Wisps of B&H smoke rising from the crack in the off side window, "American Idiot" shattering the still, Sunday morning, autumnal air.

We packed up all of our kit into the back of Glen's van and we were all set for the off. All I needed to do was to negotiate my way through the Pointon debris and into the passenger seat, a feat easy than one may first imagine. It's full on advertising for Bensons, MacDonalds, crisps and disposable coffee cups. By his own admission, Glen isn't the most organised of chaps, and on top of this, the heaters were on full bore, "arr lark it worm" he explained. It was a bit like sitting in the middle of a council waste incinerator.

So we sped off up the Buxton road, through Buxton itself and on down the A6 towards Bakewell. Here and there we had a peek at the river and it didn't look promising at all. In places, the river was nearly onto the road, full of foam and colour and looking totally unfishable. However, as we got towards Bakewell, things started to look up. We stopped near Ashford and to our amazement, the river was only slightly up and had a faint milky tinge. Confidence started to grow.

Confidence started to grow even further when we decided that it would be rude not to start off by discussing tactics over an unfeasibly large breakfast, accompanied by the hottest coffee we'd ever, ever tasted (it had a half life of 150 years), and 14 rounds of toast. The waitress looked at us as if we were a bit odd.
Anyway, Glen read me the rules. No wading, barbless hooks, avoid hooking a trout at all costs, and off we went into the town stretch. The water was colouring up more and more as the day went on and I remember thinking that this could make picking out Grayling from the Trout a little on the tricky side.

Anyway, on my first cast, somewhere near to the cricket pavilion, I hooked into my first Grayling of the day, kindly modelled here by Glen Tarquin Pointon himself.

I had rigged up with a duo set up, a balloon caddis on the dropper, with a weighted pink shrimp about 2 1/2 Feet below on the point. I took a risk in the morning and packed my 6ft 6 Streamflex, wondering whether I would not have the length I might need, but it turned out to be perfect and great fun with the smaller fish.

To compare methods, Glen had decided to use his 9ft 5 wt Streamflex as he would be nymphing with a team of bugs.

Throughout the day, we both had success on our methods and we'd exceeded all our expectations. We set out in the morning thinking that a fish a piece would be good and we ended up with about a dozen or so between us.

It was another great day's fishing. Our usual haunts on the Dove further South would surely have been flooded and the Wye had given us a brief, 3 or 4 hour window to get some top quality Grayling fishing in. As well as the fishing, we'd also had a good laugh too as we always do, and we'd had a chance to put the world to rights.

The last fish of the day was this mini-lunker that took the shrimp on the lower reaches of the stretch in Rowsley and was the perfect end to another great angling session.

Cheers Glen for a great day's sport.



  1. Hi David
    What an interesting mix of people you hang out with! One day it's Glen, and another day it's literary genius Iain Banks, the author of one of my favourite books ever - "The Wasp Factory" a review of which described it's "delicious dark humor, a sense of the surreal, and a serious examination of the psyche of a childhood psychopath" what is it that you see in Glen?!!
    Uncle Mark
    p.s. Know nothing about fishing but enjoying reading the blogs

  2. Hi Uncle Mark,

    Cheers for that. Your nephew is a top angler, top blogger and a complete nutter.

    Blog on!


  3. Grayling fishing on the dove. perfect.You lucky man.I have been doing it for 32 years, and to find another place to match it, I will have to die to get their. my best is 3lb 2 and looked as old as I am.