Inspired by Patrick's superb blog 'The one that got away' I left the foggy suburbs of Manchester behind this morning and headed for the bright sunshine of Sheffield, stopping only for a large brekkie at the Cosy cafe in Hollingworth before heading over the Woodhead pass. Frosted banks and zero temperatures greeted my arrival at Oughtibridge. My aim today was to catch my first Grayling, a fish you could only dream of gracing the suburbs of such northern cities only a decade or so ago.
I began in the centre of town on the stick float above the main bridge on the swims above. Getting nearly 4ft depth and some pace at the top of this stretch I was hopeful. Trying every swim and for nearly two hours without a bite I began to think I was on for my second blank on the trot following a biteless walk on the Meddy last week . Not being clever enough to make a blank sound exciting yet I chose not to write about it. As I walked further downstream I began to wonder if it wasn't to be, but then I bumped into a local angler who was really helpful. He took me half a mile or so downstream to some great looking swims and assured me if it was going to happen today it would be here. With a second wind I decided to adopt a different approach. I set up a sliding swimfeeder rig and put the feeder into the flow half way across the river. Within seconds I was getting small knocks on the tip. On the second cast, as I was chatting to another local angler the tip pulled right round. I struck and was into my first grayling. These fish know how to fight and are a joy to watch as they come to the net. The chap on the bank obliged with the camera and I do believe I had warmed to this river, however cold I was.
I stuck at it all afternoon choosing to stay in the same swim and managed six grayling in all, a couple of them going a bit larger. Then as I was thinking of turning it in , the tip pulled right round again. This time the bite was most definate and yielded a lovely brown trout to round off a great day.
So the quest completed it was off home for a few well deserved Tetleys to celebrate in true Yorkshire fashion. Back to this side of the Pennines and another mission to Clayton Vale is on the cards at weekend seeking the big chub. Whilst I was fishing the Meddy last week I came across a guy fishing a huge piece of legered breadflake. When I remarked on the size of his hookbait he said "Have you seen the gobs on the chub in here? I use pieces of meat the size of matchboxes in the Summer!"
Armed with local knowledge like that I shouldn't go far wrong at weekend.