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After what has been a long dry summer the rain fell heavily all day. We had chosen to venture down to the River Itchen once again in pursuit of Grayling known as the ‘Lady Of The Stream’, however she was elusive on this wet November day. Young Tales has spoken about it all week, there was in fact no let up in his focus to go Grayling fishing this weekend. The rain could be heard on the skylight in the hallway just before first light and confirmed the forecast by the Met Office, that it would rain all day. Undeterred and dressed for the occasion Young a Tales and I bid farewell to Mrs Tales taking to the road in the sliver arrow which was packed to the gunnels with tackle, bags, waders, coats and a light lunch. We arrived at the stretch of water at just before 10am, tackled up and walked along the riverside path, watching the water carefully for any signs of a rise of fish laying in the crystal clear water of this iconic Hampshire chalkstream. The river was flowing quickly, the surface broken by the rain drops, these being different to the ripple of a rising fish. There were a few fish moving on the far bank where the gardens of some substantial riverside houses swept down to the river, their manicured lawns still a vivid green in the murky morning light. We took a vintage float rod, Avon and stick floats paired to a Young’s Avon Center pin plus a small 7ft fly rod and old Hardy Marquis reel and a box of Grayling flies comprising of PTN nymphs, red tags, spiders, woven nymph and shrimp patterns. It wasn’t long before Young Tales was into a fish, it took quite close to the bank but wasn’t the quarry we were after, it was a small Salmon Parr, beautifully marked and in prime condition. I actually hate it when we hook one of these as I dread harming them during the unhooking process as these juvenile fish tend to take the bait or nymph deep down, even with barbless hooks it’s difficult to unhook them. After several casts Young Tales had work his way through the species list, two Salmon Parr, one Sea-Trout and one juvenile Brown Trout, alas no Grayling. The hours passed by. Young Tales’s idol was racing towards another World Championship, yet focused on the job in hand he was determined to net a a Grayling. Much like Hamilton’s team mate somethings elude you, Rosberg was to miss the opportunity of the World Title and for Tales the catch record was not to note a Grayling. There is still plenty of time this winter to net one of these splendid pewter coloured fish. Hopefully on a clear dry frosty December day over the next few weekends or over the Christmas break we’ll be able to note a Grayling on the fishing record for this season.

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