Saturday, 5 March 2022

Operation Brazzers Breach - Red Dawn

Around 6 weeks had gone by since I'd managed to catch a Warwickshire Grayling so I was back for another session to see if there were any bigger fish up for a feed. With what is going on in the world the title couldn't be more apt but this is a fishing mission after all, the worlds troubles are forgotten about, well for a few hours anyway. 

With dawn arriving sooner than ever it gives me an opportunity to set the alarm, get my backside out of bed and arrive bankside before the great unwashed had even thought about pouring their milk on their cornflakes. To be fair it was needs must as I would have a rare day galavanting with the Wife without the kids when I got back. 

Now inaccurately transmitted gossip. 'Chinese Whispers' refers to a sequence of repetitions of a story, each one differing slightly from the original, so that the final telling bears only a scant resemblance to the original. But I had the information shared on good authority and that was enough for me to go on this particular mission of mine.  

Fishing stories can often be such wild goose chases, hopeless quests, or one's that are pointless and bound to end in failure, but this had mileage and unlike the double figure canal Zander quest it didn't take me 5 years to bring it to a conclusion. It ended a little too soon if I'm honest, but to be fair I did take the positives out of the capture of the rare Warwickshire Grayling. 

The grayling, like its cousins the trout and salmon, belongs to the Salmonoidei, a sub-order of fishes that have existed since the beginning of the Eocene period 70 million years ago. 

Of the seven characteristics that distinguish Salmonoid fishes from other groups of fishes, two are familiar to anglers the adipose fin and pyloric caeca worm-like appendages attached to the gut. 

The characteristic that distinguishes the grayling from all other Salmonoids is the possession of a large, dappled, sail-like dorsal fin.

The grayling has a wide distribution in the rivers of Britain and Northern Europe principally because of its introduction to waters where previously it never existed. Prior to widespread introduction it was confined to a few east flowing rivers. 

In the upper reaches of most clean and unpolluted rivers, where water turbulence and high rate of fall are typical features, the trout reigns supreme. 

Conversely, in the middle reaches of slower rivers and where glides, shallows and deeps alternate, the grayling seem to have a decided advantage over the trout. Provided there is an abundant weed growth, the middle reaches are also favoured by chub and dace, although these fishes extend even farther downstream than
the grayling.

Now not surprisingly, where the habitats of several species overlap, some species will suffer due to competition for food and spawning areas. A probable explanation for the separate niches enjoyed by the trout and the grayling lies in the different spawning techniques. 

Trout eggs are buried in gravel by the parent fish and are thus protected from the force of the current, whereas grayling eggs are merely ‘dropped’ on the gravel bottom and in consequence would be more likely to be swept away by the currents of headwater streams.

Anyway back to Warwickshire specifically, apparently these Grayling were intentionally introduced as almost an experiment I suppose to see if they would establish themselves in this neck of the woods, in a county where they hadn't been before

Considering this was quite a few years ago they still appear to be around. In-fact a blog reader Ian Gregory  sent me a picture of a Grayling (above) caught on a club water he fished not a millions away from where I managed to catch one myself. 

That fish could well have escaped the nest so to speak as the X marks the spot area where they kept on turning up year on year fish surveys. Anyway having caught that small grayling on the last session with the first bite and having lost a decent fish and bumped a few off, I was back with some rig tweaks. The hook was changes to a size 16 wide gape super specialist and also I'd fish a slightly heavier 'Righyni' float. 

One of the swims the trot length was quite considerable and the float would be much easier to see down the tail end of the run through. Maggots as bait naturally, a mix of red and white which provided some bites last time, so I was hoping I'd not only hook another one but this time it was fingers crossed for something bigger. 

Nic from Avon Angling UK joined me for this early morning session and he left happy because to cut a long story short, not only did he catch his first Grayling, but in Warwickshire and not Southampton on the Lower Itchen where he tried last time. 

The river was more coloured than last time and over the two hours trotting it was hard going. I eventually had a bite at the tail end of the swim and at first I thought it was a chub as it was giving a decent fight, but no it was a decent Grayling.

It was plodding around for a bit and then almost gave up oddly but I had my heart in my mouth when it was being teased on the surface towards the net. It was far bigger than the fish I caught here last time and I was amazed yet again, this one going 1lb and 7 ounces on the scales. A cracker, it really was and only 1 ounce less than my mediocre PB. 

Are they bigger fish around ? only one way to find out !!! the conditions could do with being better as the clarity of the water could do with being clearer but watch this space. This season or next season, or in 12 mths time, I'm not sure yet. 

Thanks again to Martyn from Stratford Fish and Outdoors who at the minute is busy as heck as he is heavily involved getting some aid and donations over to Ukraine via his tackle shop where he has friends and customers. Martyn you see has been over the last 10 years or so distributing tackle from the UK to the Ukrainians. 


  1. Replies
    1. Getting bigger for sure, but then I've only caught 2. Now I've caught a bigger one though I'm sure the fish I lost on the previous session was indeed a Grayling. I'm sure there are much better fish to be had.

  2. Unbelievable☺️☺️It’s bizarre as much as it is brilliant . And says a lot about the water quality of the river .

    1. Does indeed, the river suits the Grayling too, fairly shallow and decent pace. Not many rivers like that in our neck of the woods !!

  3. Is there an Avon angling Grayling video in the pipe line ?

    1. Should be, hard going for bites however Nic caught a small Grayling in the end to tick another species off his list.

  4. That’s fantastic, a forgotten population of grayling - hopefully there’s a monster or two hiding in the shoal. Looking forward to seeing more.

    1. I'm hoping so Brian, but as I've said in the blog, it will be an infrequent visit for good reason.

  5. Replies
    1. Still an eyeopener for me, I have heard the rumours before but thought they'd be long gone by now.

  6. Excellent result Mick, do you think it could produce 2lb + fish? I guess no reason why it wouldn't and are they under any pressure?

    1. No pressure at all I wouldn't have thought, signs of Otters mind you, but I lost one that felt like a decent chub at first but could well have been a decent Grayling !!


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