After the devastatingly wet winter we fly fishers are yearning for the spring and now there are very real signs that it is fast approaching. It is already mild, but then it has been thus throughout the winter; but the day length is noticeably increasing and when the sun does shine it is glorious. We have had little chance to fish the swollen Eden throughout the winter months, although in spite of the floods, the trout are obviously doing well: a typical short session after grayling almost always produces a few (out of season) trout, though we are very concerned now about the grayling which have essentially disappeared. I personally have caught only six Eden grayling since last November, and only two of these were large fish. Several fishing friends have fared similarly, and some much worse, catching no grayling at all. Almost everyone is blaming the goosanders (see recent posts), although I believe it is not as simple as this. Anyway, we are all hopeful that when the waters finally subside and the spring spawning of this species is underway, we will see them on the shallow gravels as usual. Grayling can, after all, be miraculous in this way.
I have been fishing tenkara with a double nymph rig lately and have to report that it has been noticeably more effective – in the special conditions which prevail – than fishing a leader. The length of the rod helps (I have been using a 13′ Motive 390) because it allows one to stand off the back washes and eddies, or held-up sections of the right depth among the flood waters, and keep in almost straight line contact with the nymphs. The ideal rig has been for a 4mm tungsten beaded nymph (PTN) to be on point, almost in a sacrificial role, with a silver 3.5mm jig pattern just 30cm up from this on a short dropper. Almost every fish has taken the jig. The leader is a custom-built hybrid (overall rod length) of 3.2m of 3.5mm fluorocarbon to 0.7m of 2.5mm Sunline fluorocarbon – available from Tenkara Times – with a one metre tippet of Fulling Mill Copolymer in 5X or 6X.
This worked so well today out on the Eden. It was simply glorious to be out on the heavy water. Skylarks rising, olives on the surface, snowdrops along the bank. Hunted for grayling and could not find a single one; though five lovely trout, four on the jig and a single to the PTN on point. It was magical.