Grayling fishing | Pickering Beck

Freezing rain. Icy wind. Leaky waders. And a fish!


At this time of the year you have to take the opportunities when they arise. A few days without rain meant that the river levels had dropped sufficiently to allow a quick expedition, so I headed up to Pickering Beck to see if I could winkle out a grayling or three.

The weather wasn’t up to much, about 6C and a nasty, biting westerly with some rain forecast. But whatever. Also my usual waders are with Diver Dave for repair. I only had a pair of ancient Greys lying around, which I knew were leaky but couldn’t remember how badly so I took the risk.

I tackled up with the 9ft 4wt with a longish leader and braided sight indicator. I stuck a 3mm copper tungsten-beaded PTN on the end. Quite possibly too meaty for much of the shallower water, but I’d bothered to tie the thing so I was going to fish it.

The Beck didn’t look too bad, all things considered. I started here:


Given the state of my waders, I had hoped to be able to fish largely from the bank but two or three casts in I realised it was going to be too tricky so I got in. The heavy fly was not easy to cast, particularly if you are trying to avoid overhangs etc, but I managed to get it in with decent enough frequency.

Nothing doing for the first twenty minutes or so, during which time the heavens had decided to open with a downpour of fat rain, each drop about the size of a marble. I was thankful for the wading jacket. My left leg was feeling a bit damp by this stage. The wind gusted annoyingly, making casting even trickier.

I hauled myself out and made my way to a stretch where I have taken grayling before, albeit small and during the trout season:


The water is shallow, maybe 18″ or so, and there are still some residual weed beds, so I was getting snagged on the bottom quite a bit. Many twitches of the sight indicator produced leaves. But after a few minutes the braided indicator gave a little jerk, I struck and had a fish on. It was indeed a small grayling, which decided to detach itself just as I was about to bring it to hand. Well, I’m counting it.

Three or four casts later, another almost imperceptible straightening of the indicator and another fish was on. It was her twin sister:


Nothing else from that run, so moved on but to no avail. There is some nice looking water like this:


which I am confident contains fish, and a more skillful practioner than me would no doubt be able to pluck a few out. By now the wind was getting irksome, the rain had eased but was still making things less than pleasant so I called it a day after about an hour and a half.

When I removed the waders I was happy to see that my feet were more or less dry but my right thigh was pretty wet, as was my left calf. I’m buying a reconditioned pair of Vision Ikons from DDave, and will use the others that he is repairing as a back-up, so the Greys, after several years’ faithful service, are heading for the wheelie bin.

So, a miserable day weather-wise, but two little grayling to provide the silver lining.

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  1. Sounds like you’re getting the hang of this nymphing lark. I always find that a Pink Shrimp type nymph seems to get a few Grayling (on the Tees anyway :))



    1. Thanks Dave. Getting the hang of it might be stretching things a bit, but you’re right, I am certainly getting more confident using a weighted nymph. Yes, I’ve read that pink seems to be the ‘in’ colour for grayling – I’ve tied a few hare’s ears with fluo pink tags and hopefully will give them a go when there’s another let-up in the weather. Tight lines! Simon

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