This last few weeks have brought some ideal conditions for Grayling fly fishing.  Many days have been mild and even up here in Yorkshire Grayling have been rising to an assortment of insects well into December.  I have long been a fan of the ‘Klink & Dink’ /Duo / New Zealand style of fishing a small lightly weighted nymph under a dry fly.  It is an excellent way of catching Trout and Grayling in many rivers.  On the chalkstreams it is frowned upon during the Trout season but not during the Grayling season.  In this blog our excellent chalkstreams guide Colin Alexander talks about a recent day on the River Test and his love of this way of fly fishing.

‘I recently enjoyed a day on the Test social fishing with friends and seeking out a few Grayling. These are days to cast seldom but think a lot. To make adjustments to usual tactics and try some different flies. Basically, to just enjoy being on the same waters where you have guided over the year but seeing it with a fresh view is lovely.

I love fishing the New Zealand style set up where the dropper is tied onto the bend of the buoyant dry fly…preferably a Klinkhamer, and as long as you experiment with the dropper length, you will soon be delivering the nymph close to the river bed where it is drifting onto and past fish in a natural way. Takes are signalled instantly because the dropper is tied direct to the bend and the Klinkhamer disappears instantly upon a take. The Klinkhamer can of course be tied on a dropper itself but there is then a slight delay in registering the bite. So much has been written about this style and it surely catches more Grayling because of the bite detection. Whichever way you look at it, Grayling are fast biters and quick to eject anything that isn’t being squashed to a pulp in their mouths on entry.

Perhaps colour for the Klinkhamer is worth mentioning. On winter days when the sun is absent then a white post will be excellent to see, but sometimes there are lots of white bubbles and specks of white on the surface that actually make sighting the Klinkhamer very difficult. I tie my own Klinkhamers and having experimented a lot I would recommend a bright yellow post will give you excellent visibility in most situations. Another alternative is to use a bright orange yarn and often late in the day, a dark colour stands out better than anything. It is obviously best to have a few of each colour on hand and then not be caught out. If you look at it logically, coarse anglers slip different coloured sleeves over their pole floats for the same reason. It is worth seeking out a few colour change options rather than just relying on the standard white. For what it is worth, I found some Macrame braid in bright yellow in an indoor market in Bath. Frayed out with a wire brush the polypropylene ties in a treat and floats equally as well. 50 pence for enough to tie a thousand flies.

River Test Grayling

The fish in the photograph took a size 16 pink shrimp presented NZ style late in the day on the River Test. Around the 2lb mark a Grayling like this makes a winter visit worthwhile. Thank goodness fishing like this is available on some waters in January and February so we can all start the year in the fresh air and fly fishing rather than waiting for ever until the trout season arrives.’

(Dave back now) As well as the Klinkhamer, if the nymph I’m using is small enough to allow it, I also like to use a size 16 Parachute Adams with a nice big white or pink post for maximum visibility.  Me and my guiding clients have caught lots of good sized Grayling on a Klinkhamer but I’d say that the Adams has a slight edge on many occasions.  A Parachute Adams has better visibility than a non Parachute Adams.  As a No3 option try a size 16 Parachute Tups Indispensable.

There’s still three months of excellent Grayling sport to be had so keep fishing!