19th of April before my first day of the trout season. I would normally be disappointed but an early holiday to Thailand and Cambodia means I can't really be.
I joined a club on the Swale this year for a new stretch of river. I've fished it on day tickets a few times and its excellent value for money. Arriving at around 10.45 I was very happy to see rising fish and a hatch of LDO's, and I immediately tied on a jingler I had prepared the day before for this exact reason. Cast to a rising fish with the jingler, however it just wasn't sitting right, I couldn't get the correct presentation and ended switching to a smaller imitation that sits lower in the water while resting the fish. Its my own design but nothing groundbreaking at all.
Its a simple stripped herl body with a light dun hackle clipped below the horizontal (coachman hackle in the picture above). Once the fish had risen again, I cast to it and it rose first time. I have heard many a time at this time of year people comment on striking too early, and I have been guilty of it, so I tried to stay calm. However, I was too patience (if possible) and I missed the fish. Third cast it rose again and I struck faster, a small 9-10 inch grayling, so I let myself off for missing it first time.
I saw another fish rising about 20m downstream so I waded out of the river, walked downstream of it and managed to land another, slightly bigger grayling. A couple of fellow anglers a lot further downstream were having similar luck, so I decided to start from the bottom limit of the stretch and work back up.
Switched tactics to czech nymphing and manage to land a much nicer grayling on a ryac, and lose another. The pools upstream didn't lend themselves to czech nymphing, and the hatch had died off, so I switched to a size 12 LT klink with a size 16 mary copperhead beneath. This landed quite a few fish throughout the pools on the way back up the river, the best being a grayling around 15-16 inches and I'd guess around 1 - 1.5 lbs ish. The only disappointment of the day was the lack of trout, and chatting to the other anglers only one person had landed a solitary trout. Ah well, fingers crossed for next time.