Written by Enoka Bailey
This is it! After two years of coarse fishing with husband John this is my first true day with a fly rod. We’ve done a bit on the lawn and had short lessons back in the summer but now I feel I’m ready to go for it... all nerves and excitement.
1.50pm... John says a short session is best when it’s cold and we get togged up on the bank rather than walking through the town in chest waders. I love my Clearwaters but I’m not ready to show the world my new look quite yet-certainly not on market day, thank you!
2.10pm... We’ve been reading the water for fifteen minutes and now I know that grayling like quickish water that is nice and steady in pace. Not too fast and not too slow. Picky little things or what? We put up the rod and tie on a fly (straight from the Orvis shop) which is a small pink shrimp with a weighted head.
2.20pm... I’m actually out there, under Dinsmore Bridge, doing my stuff with spectators looking on. One lady actually says I look good... woohoo! It’s all about Czech nymphing and I have learnt that grayling bite so fast you’ll miss them if you don’t have a strike indicator of some sort. Mine is a bit of yellow putty stuff stuck about three feet up from the fly. Looks like a float to me.
2.40pm... Still nothing! John has a flick or two and says the rod, a Recon 10’ 3wt, is a beaut. Crisp. Forgiving. Nice mending properties or whatever. It’s certainly light and easy to use and I’m loving it.
2.50pm... A blooming miracle. That indicator thing went under for the umpteenth time but now there’s something on the end. John’s whizzing around with the camera, shouting wind, don't wind, keep the rod up, keep the rod down, let it go, bring it back till I’m dizzy. Then the fish drops off and I am GUTTED. Grayling, John says, a good one. Like that helps.
3.10pm... We move up to the weir and the wind picks up and it’s getting freezing. John is excited because there’s a splash or two and that’s grayling coming to the surface. We hang on and on, taking it in turns, John going on about the rod and me losing every shred of feeling in my toes.
3.50pm... I’m about to die from hypothermia and even John gives up. Isabel and Jennie had told me wading in winter isn’t sensible without those Roundabout fleecy trousers under the Clearwaters and now I believe them.
4.15pm Ludlow is getting dark, lights are on and the castle looks grand against the evening sky. I’m sick about that grayling coming off but John says blanks are all part of the game and that they keep you coming back for more. I will. I’m loving it. Bring it on. The journey starts at lovely Ludlow...