River Tone – ‘Searching for a lady’ – 10th February 2012

I’ve been an angler for 32 years and realised the other day that I’d never caught a ‘Lady of the stream’, a grayling. I spoke to Scotty who said he used to catch loads on the Silk Mills stretch of the River Tone so I booked today off with the aim of catching one. Snow had been forecast and I woke early to find we’d had a light dusting in Chard, a quick text to Scott revealed it was just raining in Taunton. On my way over it was raining quite hard and after weeks of the rivers being low and clear I was hoping it wasn’t going to go the other way with the river bank high and unfishable.

After a quick brew at Scotty’s it was off to Morrisons for a hearty breakfast. When we finally got to the river I was disappointed to see it well up and a horrible orange colour. Scotty wasn’t too hopeful that we’d catch anything but we decided to give it an hour. We decided on a mobile approach and just set up one rod with a stick float (something I haven’t done for years), and would try in any likely spots.

The river was a horrible orange colour





Scotty didn’t think much of our chances!






The first swim we tried had some slacker water on the inside but after a couple of run throughs, I had managed to catch a stick before the float got stuck up a tree (not a great start!). The next swim looked quite nice although a little boily but I did have what looked like a bite on worm which I missed! We moved further on down and found a swim with a nice slack behind a bush. The rain had finally stopped and it seemed a degree or so warmer. Scotty missed a bite where one maggot was gone and the other was ragged out which at least meant something was feeding. Next chuck he had a decent bite and swung in a nice dace, not our target species but at least we’d avoided the blank.

Scotty was first to catch with a nice dace





With Scott off the mark, it was my turn, after a few minutes the float slid away and a better fish was on, we thought it might be a trout but it actually turned out to be our target species, a lovely little ‘Lady’ of perhaps 10-12oz. Job done, mission accomplished!

Another new species under my belt!





My first grayling





We stayed in this swim a little longer and I had a small trout and a dace and Scott had another dace before bites dried up and we moved on down stream. Our next stop was a nice run leading up to some branches in the water and it screamed fish. It took a while to get the first bite but then I had a nice chublet of 12oz. I really thought we’d get some more but it didn’t happen and we were thinking of moving on again when Scott struck into a decent fish which turned out to be a clonking roach which had to be getting on for a pound.

My chub





Scott’s roach





No more action saw us heading back to the van with a brief stop off at the swim where I missed that bite earlier. I had another small trout and with the light fading that was enough for the day.

A really enjoyable day and a fantastic result after seeing the state of the river where neither of us had much faith we were going to catch anything, let alone a little lady. I think I’ll certainly be back again when the conditions are more favourable. Now I’ve got the bug maybe I’ll have a go for mullet next!

The next trip for me will be on the Isle on Sunday for the annual open, lets hope it’s better than last week!


Posted by Jamie Rich

  1. love catching grayling, used to catch loads as a kid


  2. yes I enjoyed it and will go back when the weathers better to try and catch some more


  3. I only fished for grayling once up on the Derwent in Derbyshire, the river was flooded but had loads on a maggot feeder, great sport.


  4. yes, I think I'd like another go at catching them, maybe I can up my pb!


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