Pickering Beck

Ok, it’s not big but it is a grayling


A rare opportunity to get out of the house and up to a fly river. Bliss. Having had a couple of blank sessions on the Seven in the past few weeks I decided to give the Pickering Beck a whirl. I’m getting a bit disillusioned with this French nymphing mallarkey – well, my version of it anyhow – but decided to persevere nonetheless. Less hopelessly optimistic, more hopefully pessimistic. The beck is pretty tight in places and I’ve not tried the 10ft 3wt on it before, so I packed the standard seven-footer just in case.

The portents were good: barely a breath of wind and the water eminently fishable – a hint of colour and a decent depth. I rigged up the rod with the system I’ve been flogging away with: reel loaded with monofilament only of  12lb breaking strain, a couple of inches of fluorescent braided indicator and seven or eight feet of 4lb tippet. I put a size 14 beaded hare’s ear with a pink tag tied on a jig hook.

I got in the water at around 11am and worked my way slowly upwards. Casting, such as it is with this set-up, was not too difficult – at least at this time of the year there’s not too much greenery on the banks and the lack of a breeze was a bonus.

Some of the water looked very fishy, like this little weir pool:

But it didn’t produce anything. By now I’d been fishing for something over an hour and was beginning to feel it was going to be same old same old, but then I realised I had something on the end.

Before I brought it to hand I realised it wasn’t going to be the elusive grayling; rather a little out-of-season brownie. I plugged away and came to this little slack run:

I’ve encountered the odd grayling here before, usually along the left-hand bank. So I plopped the hare’s ear in and watched the indicator, lifting at any unusual movement. About 99 per cent of ‘unusual movement’ is a snag. Come to think of it that makes it not particularly unusual. Anyhow, you get what I mean. The other 1 per cent might be a fish. And lo and behold!

Way hey! Well it’s not a monster, but it is nonetheless a grayling and I was chuffed. In fact I hit a bit of a purple patch for about 15 minutes and landed another that got off before it came to hand, another small brown, and a third little grayling:

And that was it for the day. I’d fished for the better part of three hours and totalled three tiny grayling and two little trout. For me that is a result. I was getting into a bit of a rhythm with the rod and am learning that you have to lift at every twitch, no matter what. Ok, I’ll keep on with this Gallic nonsense for a while longer…

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  1. Keep at the mallarkey Simon – you know it makes sense. If fish came easy every time we’d get bored! Do you ever add a dropper to your rig? I usually take as many on that as the point fly.

  2. Well done on those fish

    I agree about the dropper. On the rare occasions when I catch anything it’s normally the dropper that they take. I find that a Pink Shrimp is very good for the Grayling. The key is getting it down there quickly and holding the rod as high as possible.



  3. Good info lads, thanks. I have tended not to use a dropper mainly to try to keep things simple as I am not wholly confident with the method (in case you didn’t notice). Ok, next time a dropper goes on.

  4. I know what you mean about simple but I rarely get tangles as you’re only flicking it underarm six feet or so. The way I see it is it doubles your chances and I need all the help I can get.



  5. haha ditto. In fact went out again today onto Pickering Beck and used a dropper. One small grayling which came off before I got it to hand. Yes, having the dropper didn’t cause tangles etc, so the dropper stays!

  6. Good stuff. I had some rare success on the free stretch of the Tees over Christmas. Of the six I landed 4 took the dropper. I think it’s because it must fish just off the bottom.



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