Fellowship of the Gling

February 2021

Week 1.


With the river running high and brown the only fishable spot I could find was the Ings. I had a tub of lobworms in my shed, so I took those, and a pint of maggots to keep me company.

It was a very enjoyable day; windless and balmy, but the fish ( or lack of ) were not interested in the worms. I switched to maggots and caught a few dace, but it wasn`t a stellar day by any means.


The proposed bank work is cancelled.


Mother Wharfe is raging.

I didn`t fish.

I watched football.

Week 2.


The Wharfe has dropped dramatically.

I have the day off, I am stubborn enough to go fishing but, by gum it`s cold.

I fish for a couple of hours and catch several grayling of no great size, and I am back home by 4 o`clock, just as the heavens open.


Finally, we get to crack on with some well overdue bank work.


Match angling is still prohibited: so todays scheduled event falls foul of that particular Covid ruling which is a shame because the river is nearly clear and at a decent level. However, the water is very cold and the air temperature is below zero. An apocalyptic rainstorm is predicted to turn Yorkshire into a giant ice-rink, and this chaos is expected to start at precisely two o`clock – the bloke on the telly said so. I`m definitely going to the river, but I`ll get there a bit earlier than usual, and leave before I become cryogenically challenged.

I pick a peg, and plonk. I stay put for an hour and catch a couple of decent gling, then nothing.

I vote with my feet, and move.

A couple more grayling take a liking to my maggots before I move again.

Another two.


Another peg, another brace.


This will be the last peg of the day: it is 1:45 p.m. and the ice-age is due to start in fifteen minutes. Tiny specks of rain descend, they barely dimple the surface of the river before they disappear as suddenly as they arrive. I fish on.

My stickfloat submerges on its second safari through the swim. I advise the fish not to struggle too much: this is crocodile country. Sure enough, the weight at the end of the line increases dramatically. After a lengthy tug-of-war I manage to steer the pike within netting range but I`m not convinced that it will fit into my silverfish net – the pike looks to be in the 15 – 18 lb range – I`m starting to worry, I have no truck with fish possessing teeth. I`m not looking forward to this.

Hallelujah ! The croc sheds the size 20 hook and the grayling is still on. I net it swiftly; it is punctured but not badly damaged. I return it in a nearby peg then I pack up and go home. The pike sulks.

The freezing rain doesn`t arrive until half-past four, I could have squeezed in another hour or so. The bloke on the telly got it wrong.


Week 3.


I bump into Trueman as I am searching for a peg. We`re on WADAC water, and we hope the grayling are going to play ball. If I had to be picky I`d take another six inches of water out of the river, but even Shed 7 and The Baron can`t sup that much liquid, so we`ll settle for what we have. The river has cleared up, which should be a bonus following the atrocious weather we have experienced recently.

As we decide which pegs we fancy Agent Orange rolls up. He parks his car and then sprints down to his preferred peg; it spurs us on, we descend on our pegs.

I faff around; Trueman is ready to fish long before I am.

I strike into a fish on my third trot of the day. The tell-tale `thump thump` of a grayling ( well, it`s definitely not going to be a roach ! ) and I scoop up my first fish. I catch only two more in the next hour and a half though, and I`m getting itchy feet. I call in on Trueman – not doing well, plagued by minnows his net remains dry, and then Agent Orange – doing ok, his net is wet – he has had three gling.

I pack up my gear and stash it in Truemans peg, I then take the bare essentials and go for a wander.

I fare quite well, and by the time I return to Trueman he has done well too, he`s also had his first encounter with a pike.

I`ve hardly made a dent in the pint of maggots I brought with me - those that did `volunteer` for active service have done me proud: 15 gling couldn`t resist my golden grubs - the majority of which came from my walkabout, some were tiddlers some were clonkers. Trueman, who has remained in one peg has had his best haul of grayling ever, and he continues to enjoy learning to use the stickfloat – “ much more fun than a feeder, but a bit trickier”.

Agent Orange has fished `the tip` all day long and he says he has caught seven grayling.

So, no matter what method was used to angle for the umber, they all paid off today.


Bank maintenance.

Shed 7 takes a comedy tumble from the top of the ladders whilst lopping a branch – he was startled by a jiggly bird. He lands on the bank and the impact registers a 7 on the Richter scale. Despite being somewhat shaken he`s ok, the only physical damage is a large splinter in his hand, the greater damage was probably done to his pride. Sadly, I didn`t witness his brief battle against gravity whilst working on behalf of us all, but he said he was fine the next day, just a little stiff in the morning….


I should have stayed in bed.

The river was up and coloured and in a hurry to be somewhere else.

The highlight of the afternoon was an owl gliding closely over my head.

Week 4.


I have to use up my holiday days, I spend this one ( like many of the others this year ) at the river.

I`m `meeting` Trueman. We fish, we catch very little. The river rises two feet whilst we`re there. We depart before dusk. I wish I`d had a rake of fish to chat about, but I do not. Enough said.


A spot of bankside gardening.

No accidents today.


Three hours spent by the river and nothing to show for it. With no indication that it was going to improve I left before it got worse. The rain showers started as I walked down my garden path.

Well, February wasn`t much different than January, maybe a little warmer.

The fishing was either good, or awful.

I hope everyone remembered to renew their Club membership ?

Let`s hope we finish the river season with a brilliant fortnights worth of fishing. I have a few days off in early March so I`m hoping for a fishing filled bonanza. I still seek a five pound chub – I haven`t a scooby where to find one, but I`m hoping for a serendipitous meeting with one ( or preferably two !) failing that, I`ll happily settle for more grayling.

I`ll keep you posted.

Agent 99.

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