• Agent 99

50 Shades of GrayLing

Week 1.


Palindrome day – 02.02.2020. – apparently, this is a very lucky day, we shall see.

We started later than planned - the Doctor struggled to escape from his duvet – and headed to GP. We were met with a full, and flowing Mother Wharfe. Technology had failed us again, our App had revealed that the river would be calm, and falling. This was not the case, but we decided to give it a go.

I quickly picked a peg with some semblance of calm water, the Doc picked one of his favourites. Let the lucky day commence.

White maggots were my bait, and I caught a small grayling on my first trot through. Nothing else was forthcoming, so I tinkered with my shot, and the change seemed to have worked as a brace of grayling soon joined their kin in the net. It might have been down to the shotting change, it might have been coincidence, I was just happy to catch them.

Then it all got very slow. Then it got even slower.

The Doctor had already moved. He had caught a few minnows, and then, exasperated, he voted with his feet. I did the same.

I had caught my gling using a stick float. The same tactic wasn`t working in my new peg. I tried a feeder. The first one wasn`t heavy enough, and was dragged to Tadcaster in a flash. I went heavier and hoped. It held the bottom, just.

To summon a bite, I poured a coffee. The fish were polite today, waiting until I had finished my cuppa before the tip bent round. A chunky grayling. Seven more decent grayling came my way in the next hour and a half, all to a feeder rig. No whoppers, but not one under half a pound.

The light was starting to fade. The Doc appeared, he had packed up. A few minnows and two little gling were enough to persuade him enough, was enough, and, when he got a major tangle, he called it a day.

Palindrome day failed to deliver, but, with the weather we`ve been having we were lucky we got to fish at all.

Week 2.


I had a plan.

Stick float for a while, then move on to a lobworm to catch a perch.

I arrive late in the morning. I have some maggots, and some worms for bait. I flick in a few maggots and make my first cast. My float only travels six yards before it slowly dips under. I lift the rod assuming I have snagged up, but the snag moves. A good scrap sees a 14 oz gling in the net. It thought it was much bigger.

A regular supply of maggots maintained their interest, and a selection of year classes of grayling turned up. I caught fish from 2 oz – 1 lb in a very enjoyable session, but then came time for part two.

I moved pegs to try for a perch. I tried both dendrobaenas and lobworms, but not a touch was had on either. The second part of my cunning plan bore no fruit, maybe I should have continued chasing gling ?


Storm Ciara arrived and she “ presented a very real danger to life”. The river had risen by four feet, and the wind was a reasonably constant 60 mph. I stayed home and did the ironing.

Week 3.


A day off, and a day on the bank with Trueman to look forward to. The big decision is which bank, and where. All rivers are somewhat full thanks to the efforts of Ciara, and her friend Dennis, and the banks are underwater.

“somewhere new” Trueman shouts, so we head to the roach infested nirvana that is Westerly Lakes, in Wheldrake. He is impressed by the venue, and the warm welcome from Geoff, the owner.

We have the lake to ourselves.

Once we start fishing, the roach start to turn up. It takes 30 minutes before we get a bite, and I lose the fish near the net. I manage to land the next one, and Trueman is off the mark with a roach of his own, both of which are fin perfect. Six ounces is the usual stamp of fish, with a couple of around a pound making a welcome appearance.

Trueman is first to encounter a bream. I followed the wind, and the expletives, to find him unhooking a `slammer` ( not quite a slab,but bigger than a skimmer ?) of around three pounds. Big grin from him.

I had a spell of catching them myself, but not to the size of Truemans, until I lifted into a lump. It was a nice bream, but smaller than Truemans. My next chuck produced my biggest fish, and this one was bigger than his fish. The `big fish` pound coin would be mine.

The roach had a short siesta in the afternoon. We contemplated moving, but the howling wind was everywhere but where we were. . There was a calm patch of lake, but Geoff had warned us the bank was saturated, and very slippery, and it was mid-afternoon ,so, like most anglers , we couldn`t be arsed to move. We stayed put.

We continued to catch roach and smaller skimmers, but the big `uns had gone. Then Trueman hooked a carp – I felt the £1 coin slipping from my sweaty palm – the carp beat him up a bit, and then shed the hook, pinging his rig up a nearby tree. Oh dear.

Closing time was at 5 pm, and we packed up then. We thanked our host for the days fishing, and headed back to Wetherby, passing the lake that once was Tadcaster on our journey.

Trueman didn`t pay his wager today either.


Wash out.

Week 4, and the rest of the month were a total washout for me. No lines were cast, no fish were caught. I did see two zebra, two wildebeest, and a pair of anteaters in Wetherbys market place, they were looking for a bloke called Noah…..

Well, its been a terribly wet winter. The rivers have been unfishable for long periods, but I was lucky enough to get some fishing done, and, lucky that my house isn`t currently submerged, unlike some other poor folk.

Maybe the last two weeks of the river season will be kinder ?

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