Grayling on the River Taff

The recent high water we’ve been experiencing here in South Wales has meant fly fishing on the rivers has been a little hit and miss. But the recent high pressure system has allowed the river to drop a considerable amount of height, revealing the pools, creases and hole which the grayling seem to like.

Larger grayling here have been few and far between the last few months, with many yearling grayling feasting on anything that crosses their path. One of my most succesful flies the last few weeks has been a small, simple thread nymph with a small thorax of pine squirrel to give it that buggy, leggy look.

Using anything over a 4 weight for these fish doesn’t give them much of a chance, other than joining the free flying competition when struck into. I’ve been using a Airflo Streamtec Nantec  10ft 3/4 weight fly rod which has a pretty soft tip, perfect for casting long, soft french leaders and playing these small grayling. A soft rod such as the above is the perfect way to get maximum enjoyment out of fish around 7-8 inches in length. A good grayling or trout really pulls when hooked!

Fishing for a few hours can be very rewarding when out after grayling. When a shoal is incepted, I normally try a few different methods and some new fly patterns, you’ll be surprised how many fish will reject some offerings and scoff up others. Maybe it’s just something to do with that particular days feeding habits, but I like to think I’ve found something they like.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Grayling Fishing Tackle

Some of the most fun fishermen have in the Winter is chasing the ‘ladies’. Now, this can be taken one of two ways – but I think we’ll stick to the fishing sense.

It is fair to say that winter is fast approaching, October has been the impact of Autumn with leaves falling from the trees and the steady but very noticeable decline in air temperature. With the development of seasons it’s lead to us changing out fishing quarry. Moving away from the Brown and Rainbow trout which inhabit the rivers and lakes, onto the shoals of Grayling of the runs, riffles and glides.

Grayling are predominately a bottom feeding fish, with the down turned mouth making it easier for them to feed from the small and juicy morsels of the river bed. Although, I’ve had some of my best fishing with Grayling on dry flies!

Most angling gear used for river fishing would no doubtingly suffice for Grayling. Tippet strengths will vary with methods, something like 5-6x nylon for nymphing, and 8x for dries.

One of the most important pieces of fishing tackle for Grayling in my opinion is the fishing rod. A hard, fast actioned rod will be a great casting tool for the heavy nymphs, but unfortunately will result in countless numbers of lost fish.

Grayling, big ones especially, like to burrow down onto the bottom, stick their sail like fin up and kite through the flow ‘nodding their heads’ trying to free themselves of the hook. Usually with a stiff rod, the hook will pull out. A softer rod has more play, more forgiveness if you happen to pull to hard, and eventually will tease the fish around into the net (not to say they don’t come off!). A fly rods in the region of 3/4/5 weights will have enough ‘give’ to play the fish easily and allow you to hold the rod out at arms length to get maximum distance with ease whilst European Nymphing.

Recommended Tackle & Flies

One of my most favourite fishing rods for the river in general is the Airflo Streamtec XT Fly rods be it a long 10ft rod for all styles of nymphing, or a shorted 8 or9 ft version for the Dries or Klink and Dink.

My favourite Grayling flies over the past 3-4 years have been all of the same style. Mostly Jig type patterns, with tungsten beads on the head which the fly fishes upside down causing less snags and a better hook up rate.
‘Normal’ nymphs sometimes out-fish these though. Jigs seem to sink too quick when fishing the Klink and Dink, a nymph suspended by a dry fly. Some of my favourite trout flies are tied on straight hooks, probably because they fish with a more natural manner compared to the jig.
As you can see between these two nymphs, there isn’t a lot that changes, just the colour of the bead and the collar. Both Very effective, both have their day it all depends on what sort of mood the fish are in. Give them both a try!

Written by Kieron Jenkins