Grayling fishing on the Itchen
This month has also meant the beginning of the grayling fishing on the Lower Itchen Fishery. This is an exclusive fly only trout and salmon fishery during the summer months but on the 14th of this month allows bait fishing for grayling. These run barbel a very close race in my favourite fish category and if they grew to ten pounds no-one would fish for anything else. Like barbel they only prosper in clear fast flowing rivers and these tend to occur only in pleasant surroundings. They also freely take a trotted bait and fight like tigers when hooked.
A three pound hook length is usually enough and coupled with a fairly through action match rod you can really enjoy the fight. Once again I favour a centrepin reel, loaded this time with four pound braid. I use Berkley Fireline in these low breaking strains as it’s filaments are bonded together with a resin to make it stiffer and less prone to tangles. A four pound fluorocarbon leader and a three pound hook length are suspended under a loafer type float and red maggots or sweetcorn are the bait on a size sixteen or fourteen hook. Keep moving from swim to swim as grayling don’t seem to shoal in very large numbers and are soon spooked after a few of their number have been caught. I have caught more than thirty grayling in a day on this venue, eight of which were over two pounds. There are also some good chub here and five pounds six ounces is my best. Gordon would have loved this river.
A local tributary of the Thames has been producing some good chub fishing this autumn My best is five pounds fourteen ounces but I have had three or four over five pounds. The best bait seems to be rump steak on the hook with minced beef in an open ended feeder, although I am sure that the bread flake and mulched bread approach would work as well.