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  • Lana Richardson

Windy winter grayling

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

I had never fished for grayling before, knew absolutely nothing about fishing for them so had very little idea what to expect. I really enjoy fishing for new species so was very excited to experience grayling fishing for the first time. Being a trout and salmon angler from the North of Scotland, late November is usually a time of no fishing at all for me, it was almost a novelty to be getting kitted up at this time of year!

I met Eoin Fairgrieve at the Fly Fishing Centre which is based at the SCHLOSS Roxburghe hotel near Kelso. We headed down to the river Teviot, a tributary of the Tweed. The weather was definitely telling of the season, it was atmospherically windy and cold enough to need to layer up. The leaves on the tree's which line the stunning river were beautifully golden brown and with every gust more would be plucked from the tree's and carried away down the river.

Eoin explained the rod set up which I would be using. I was shown how to cast the nymph fly up-steam and how to hold the rod up (pictured below) and let the fly float round on the current whilst fishing it close to the bottom. You really have to pay attention and try to differentiate if your fly has just touched the bottom or been taken by a fish. Each time I felt any sort of movement I slowly lifted the rod higher to check if I had a fish on.

Picture by Eoin Fairgrieve

After fishing for a while and feeling lots of knocks and takes I got what I believed to be a decent sized fish on the end of my line! The initial fight was quite strong but it quickly tired. Eoin netted the beautiful little fish for me and it was indeed a grayling, my first grayling! We estimated it to be 2 & 1/4 lbs. It kept it's dorsal fin upright for the duration of netting, un hooking and releasing it which apparently is quite rare for them to do. I was so amazed at what beautiful colours these fish have and also how almost tropical their appearance is for being a cold water fish in Scotland. Usually when handling trout and salmon they are understandably very keen to get back to where you got them and can be difficult to handle, however, this little Grayling seemed to be very relaxed about things, didn't struggle whilst being sat in my hands and happily swam off again as if nothing happened! Since then, I have told other grayling anglers this and most of them agreed that this is their most common temperament. They are such lovely little fish.

I was so delighted to have learnt a new type of fishing and to have caught a new species. It was a great day spent with Eoin and I really look forward to going grayling fishing in winter 2022, I will hopefully bump into more of these fascinating fish. If there are any anglers out there who usually put their fishing kit into hibernation over the winter, I would really recommend turning your fishing into a year round hobby and targeting grayling over the winter months too!

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